Have you ever found yourself animatedly telling a friend about your situation, going through a range of emotions, and rehashing the same points for hours? Talking in circles is something that happens to us all, but it is never a productive use of our time. Why is this?
When we look to another to solve our problems, help us make our decisions or tell us what to do, we are in a state of helplessness, which is usually accompanied by a state of upset (sadness, guilt, frustration, despair, depression, anger, etc). If we weren’t in this state, we wouldn’t be asking them for advice and swimming in the problem. We’d be taking action.
Whenever I share this information with people who are in the midst of one of these circular talking sessions, they puff up like an startled cat and begin defensively rattling off reasons why I’m wrong. When we are in these states, we are often the last ones to know it. We think we are being powerful and authentic with our sharing, and that the other person “just doesn’t understand” us.
The reality is that we are wasting time – our own, and the other person’s – when we do this. Not only that, but it is incredibly damaging to our psyches to continue perpetuating our story over and over again. Each time we utter the words, they become truer and truer for us, and sometimes, we even manage to convince our listener of our story, making it impossible for them to offer us any clear reflection about what we are saying and who we are being in the process.
So what’s a better solution? It depends on what has you feel empowered. Shifting your state to one where you feel competent, able, independent and relaxed will give you a shot at being able to make a clear, confident decision about whatever you’re struggling with. However, if you stay in your current state, you will not be able to make a powerful decision.
What types of things do you know you can do to get your mind off your story, to get your body out of whatever its favorite “complaining” posture is, and to shift your energy in general? For some people it could be exercise, for others, a long bath or massage. Some may require something really startling, like sky diving or rock climbing or doing backflips. Make a list of the activities where you feel most empowered and refer to it the next time you’re in the mood to call a friend and repeat your story to them. Regardless of whether you are able to make a decision, you will at least wind up feeling better about yourself, which was probably your ultimate goal anyways. Try it!