Hello from Italy! For the past two weeks I’ve been traveling around Italy and really enjoying the different culture. My husband and I spent the first week on the Island of Ischia, which is South of Naples and then we went to Venice, then Florence and Rome. It’s been really interesting going from an island where a lot of the people only speak Italian, and if it’s English, it’s very little, to places where most of the people speak English in Venice, Florence and Rome. Since I didn’t take the time to learn Italian, there was definitely a language barrier on the island.
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So going back to Italy, As the week progressed, I found myself seeing things from a deeper perspective in respect to what I’m seeing vs concepts that I teach in coaching. One of the first things I want to know when I am coaching a client is what are they making it mean? What are they making the situation that they’ve come to me about mean.
So what are they making it mean about them, or the person they have a problem with, and why does it matter? The reason why I want to know this is because I’m trying to determine the lenses they are looking through, which is basically their perception of life based on what their brain took in and found important to their acceptance and survival in the human race. It’s their perception, what they are believing, is what will determine how they feel and, if they aren’t practiced at monitoring it, they think what happens next is out of their control.
They think the way they feel is out of their control and they usually take on the victim mode without knowing it, because they think the way they feel is out of their control.
Let me give you an example. When you’re in your car and the person around you honks at you, what does that mean? Are they saying, hurry up, or out of my way, or when you’re sitting at a street light and it turns green and the person in front of you doesn’t go, do you honk your car to say, go already.
In Ischia, Italy, our drivers honked their horns multiple times. But not once was it to say hurry up or get out of my way. They’d honk at people to say hi. They’d tap their horn when another service driver was passing them. It’s kind of how a motorcyclist will stick their hand out towards another motorcyclist to say hi, like if you own a motorcycle, you’re automatically in the club.
There were so many people going in multiple directions and being transported in different ways and it’s all happening on tiny, tiny streets. You have pedestrians, people on regular bikes, e-bikes, scooters, small cars, taxis, all the way up to the local buses. I was so amazed by the driving and by the behavior. When our driver wanted the person in front of them to go faster, they’d tail them really close.
See, I’d make that mean, get off my tail! I don’t want you to hit me. I’m already going 10 mph over the speed limit. Don’t be so rude. To the people on Ischia, tailing someone tells them that they are about to be passed so be prepared to scoot over a little. That’s it.
On Ischia, cars, people, bicyclists would pull out right in front of our driver and he’d just put on his breaks and let them in. If he was ever frustrated, he did a good job at not showing it. In fact, I thought one of our British passengers was going to have a heart attack or at least pass out by the amount of times she (breaths in quick and panicked) I was actually sitting with my back to the driver so all I could see what her panicked face and reactions. I was trying not to laugh because I knew she was in distress and that wouldn’t be polite, but I’d been on so many car rides with our drivers now and had so many “safe” close calls that I knew they were confident about their navigating abilities on the roads and saw how comfortable they were doing it so I chose to be confident in them.
I had no control over the driving situation, but I did have control over my thoughts and emotions. My carmate, however, was clearly distressed and very concerned for her safety. I chose to trust the experience of my driver to get me where I needed to go safely and not worry in advance about something that might not even happen. And If I thought my life really was in danger, I would’ve chosen to not get in the car, but I wasn’t going to miss out on all the treasures the island had to offer me because something might happen, even though I had plenty of evidence to suggest it probably wouldn’t.
Another experience I had was when we were walking through a tunnel in Forio and there was graffiti on the wall. It’s probably no surprise that it was in Italian so I had no idea what it meant and if it was meant to be something offensive or maybe it was something to commemorate a loved one. To me, it was just a string of letters grouped together that formed words. How often do people say something and it was taken the wrong way. How often have you said something and you think, well that didn’t go how I thought it would.
It’s not a bad thing to have thoughts and opinions, please don’t misunderstand me. in fact, it’s quite encouraged. Like when you’re working on a goal, you need to be very clear about your reasons for it and they have to be good enough to keep you going in the direction you want to be going. If your reasons aren’t compelling enough, then it’s so easy to throw in the towel at the moment it gets really hard. So you need to have compelling thoughts and opinions. It’s what drives us to show up as our higher selves.
But when we aren’t liking the results we’re getting out of life, maybe we can take a look at what we’re making something mean and if we really want it to cause us distress or to be annoyed or frustrated. Is how we are looking at the situation really helping us get the experience we want out of life or even out of the situation?
So when your kids or your spouse does something that creates negativity inside you, why? What are you making their behavior mean?
Are you going to make it mean that there’s something wrong with them or with you? Are you going to start rehearsing in your head a story that continues to get clearer and clearer about who’s really the villain and who’s the hero each time you retell it to yourself? Or who’s the villain and who’s the victim? And then the next time you have some sort of interaction with them, you’re automatically on guard and end up reacting in a way that’s outside your normal loving self because of the roles you’ve cast them in? when, at the time, you totally feel vindicated in your behavior, but when it’s said and done, you wonder why it blew up so badly.
Is it possible that the story you’ve told yourself and the roles you’ve cast everyone in has you thinking they are honking the proverbial horn to say get out of my way, when all they meant was, hello! Is the writing on the wall, their way to communicating who they are and maybe the pain they are experiencing and you’re making it mean they are being rude and shouldn’t behave that way? I don’t know. That’s something you need to decide for yourself.
What I do know is the life you create can be so drastically different depending on what you’re making it mean and if you’re willing to practice paying attention to if it’s serving you or not. If it is serving you, great, keep moving forward fueled from that. But if you’re not liking the results you’re getting, I’m here to help.
I really hope you all have the opportunity to experience other cultures in your life. It’s been a priceless gift to me. Seeing and experiencing the people, their way of life, the art, the architecture, the language, the food. I’ve been gifted a deeper appreciation for talent and the incredible things we can create with it. I’ve been impressed by how resilient the human spirit is and our ability to adapt to whatever challenges we face. I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for my country and the advances and freedoms that we get to enjoy living here. Most of all, I’ve reinforced my belief that no matter where we live, we all are the same. We all have our challenges and we all have greatness within us. We are all children of God and we are all doing the best we can with the tools we have.
Have a fabulous week and, please, always remember, you are loved.
If you’re looking for a life coach, I’d love to be yours. If you want to lose weight, better your relationships, or need help with crafting your confidence, I’ve got you! go to myinnerlove.com and sign up for a free mini-session today.