THREAT to PET: Using Positives To Combat Lions in your Belief Systems

THREAT to PET: Using Positives To Combat Lions in your Belief Systems - BeMo Journal

Surviving Emotional Triggers: The BeMo Practice Approach

I’m a big fan of Fiona Apple. We are kindred spirits, having experienced too many of the same horrors in life that led us to be constantly aware of our surroundings and the need to cope with emotional BS (belief system) at play. Back in the day, Fiona (I feel we're on a first name basis) released a quick Happy Sunday video on YouTube with an important reminder about survival – something I have certainly studied in Psychology for years now.

Feeling: The Simple Truth

The simple truth she shared was: As humans, we tend to remember the worst things that happen to us. The reason we do that is remembering the worst helps us survive.

So, let’s go back to the cave dweller’s levels of our ancestry. Remembering that lion attack is literally what helped us avoid lion attacks in the future. We remember where the poisonous bush was, the cliff we almost fell off of, the cave that leaks, the food that runs too fast, oh and of course, every place we've ever met a lion.  Ever.  We became incredibly observant and worried in order to survive!  

That sucks.  It sucks because knowing this feels hopeless.

If this is something so deeply engrained in us, how do we ever learn to exist a trauma-causing survival mode and allow our mind-body to rest?

How do you overcome something that is human nature? Where is the hope in that?

Our desire is to drop the mic. Quit now. Give in to worries and need to survive.

When I think about it, I think, my meditation app is all like there is no lion but this to-do list feels like a direct threat to my existence right now. So, I’m going to wallow in worry because if I worry enough, I can figure out how to avoid doing it altogether.  

At least, that was the old me.  The new me keeps the simple truth simple.  The new me knows, "Oh ya, I learned this.  I feel like fight/flight/freeze/faint/fawn right now, but I don't actually need to.  I'm ok."  I can move on without stressing myself to or gaslighting myself about it.  I let go of the "to" of it all and embrace my "for" - the core of what The BeMo Practice teaches us.

In this post, I'm going to go through the psychological break down, worry, and restructuring that has allowed me to overcome this using The BeMo Practice.  Bare with me.  This is, for lack of a better term, a very stream of conscious blog post as I try to display all that goes on inside of our heads as we feel, deal, reveal, and heal through these learned behaviors.

Dealing: Recognizing the BS (Belief System)

So, for the sake of following along, let's get back to how the mind starts to recognize that this is not a threat.

It sounds a bit like, Mmm. Wait. This isn’t working. This worry isn’t going to serve me. Okay, why do work emails and cell phone notifications feel like lions? Why am I so triggered? Why does this make me angry? How do I get over this? I want to be able to chill and not feel so reactive. This list of missed notifications is not a lion. It isn’t here to kill me. I Know I’m not responsible for others’ feelings or needs. That is not my role! I refuse to continue to be enmeshed in responsibility for others’ emotional well-being.

Ok, I am starting to get somewhere and work through it. But doesn’t all this ignored self-talk feel exhausting? Yes!

Revealing: Overcoming BS (Belief Systems)

Overcoming BS that no longer serves you involves recognizing the automatic coping mechanisms (fight/flight/freeze/faint aka survival) at play and the unmet needs that are triggering you to be in a state of "need to" and more specifically int he state of "I need to survive."

If the constant ding of notifications feels like nagging, gnawing lions threatening your survival, put that lion in check! SILENCE!  Not all avoidance is bad coping behavior.  In fact, as you heal you'll be able to derive how something that looks the same "bloop - blocked - boundary set" is not actually the same as how you previously operated "bloop - blocked - I hate you right now!"  One is a conscious choice - aware of, made, and understood.  The other is a reaction.  Trust me, you'll get there.

So, let's go back to understanding the limiting beliefs that no longer serve us.

We can’t rewrite all of human history to not remember the bad times as a need for survival, but we can trick the system. To do this, we Can reprogram automatic behaviors. To reprogram automatic behaviors, we Can recognize our reactions, ask why, understand the fear at play (aka unmet need), and recognize how we can meet those needs and what we know about that directly combats the BS (belief system) at play.  We Can be conscious with our You Notes and speak directly to the storylines from our past to let ourselves know that we are safe, valid, cool as hell, and deserving of love and time!  And we Can empower our Positives list to be more purposeful.  Continue reading to Know how.

Automatic Behaviors and the Choice

Automatic behaviors are seemingly purposeful tasks we often do not remember performing. In other words, the moment that you choose to react. These moments come from our subconscious.  Breathing is part of our subconscious as are all repeated and practiced things. 

Do you even remember making a choice? No. And when others tell you, “Hey, you have a choice in how you feel,” they don’t answer the, "Ok ya, but how?" of it all.  That's what I aimed to do when I created BeMo for myself and then decided to share it with others. When others tell us "You have a choice" prior to our understanding of how to slow it down, be fully aware and willingly present and actually make that choice (let alone see it), it comes across as critical and not helpful.

Well, we’re going to dig into that so it can be helpful to you!

Trigger Example:

  • Trigger: Ding. Ding. Ding ding ding ding ding ding DING.
  • Reaction: Angry at people texting you.
  • BS (Belief System): Everyone needs me. I am responsible for answering all of these messages. I am being attacked, annoyed, bugged, and targeted. LION!

Work through the FUNCK of that limiting BS!

Creating an Emotional Toolbox

The great part about practicing BeMo daily is the ability to create an emotional toolbox subtly over time. The more you understand your Needs, Cans, and Know-ing, the more you’re subconsciously packing your bows and arrows for the next time you meet a lion.

Still, lions happen.

You can’t keep lions from happening. You can’t keep from being triggered into survival behaviors because they are necessary for… well, survival! You Can move from THREAT to PET faster and be able to lay down with life's furry and fuzzy cute lions and realize it isn’t so bad. To do that, you Can make your Positives practice work for you.

If you’re familiar with The BeMo Practice, you know that Positives comes after working through the FUNCK.

Daily Positives List

Not every day has to be a “FUNCK that BS” kind of day. Similarly, not every Positives list has to move beyond a celebratory list of just how much laundry you got done today and how awesome that new recipe you tried is.

Moving through more leisurely days, less emotional days, and celebrating not a single cloud in your sky is just as crucial to your survival as being able to show up for the hard conversations with yourself.

On those days where the BS (belief system) is overwhelming and your reactions are on high alert because your need to survive is constantly at stake, now is an excellent time to kick your Positives list up a notch and be very mindful of how you speak to yourself.

Making Your Positives List Work for You

To make your Positives list work for you, I encourage you to recognize your Positives with an extra layer of identifying them as survival.

Example Day-to-Day Positives List:

  • I got up before my alarms.
  • I had a healthy breakfast.
  • I went for a run.
  • I spent time with my dog.
  • I met all my deadlines at work.

Enhanced Positives List with Self-Compassion:

  • I felt so much relief this morning and was able to start the day on a motivated foot because I naturally woke up before my alarm.
  • I am grateful that I showed up for myself by winding down for bed early, turning off the TV, working through my BeMo Journal, and reading a good book because doing that for the hours before bed helped me wind down into a sound, restful sleep which made all the difference in my morning!
  • I felt so nourished and supported by taking the time to make myself a healthy breakfast that sustained me throughout the day. It was delicious! I can’t wait to make more of that good Paleo granola to snack. It is super great. I am happy I take the time to make these things for myself.
  • I get to go for a run to drive energy and pound the pavement, working through any overwhelming thoughts and worries I have about projects I am working on. It is really helpful. I was able to get away from my desk and get some more creative ideas flowing for my next project!
  • Because I was well rested, nourished, and motivated, I spent more time hanging out with my dog. I was able to close my laptop early and take him to the dog park to play. He really is the cutest! I am so lucky we found each other.
  • I am grateful to wrap up the week with much more insight into where my business is headed and what I can do to take us in a positive direction. I am proud of myself for overcoming the feeling of constant failure to recognize instead that these aren’t failures – these are iterations that are taking us places. I am so grateful to have all this information and be able to move forward with choices even when they feel tough to make. I am doing it!

Not a big writer?  Try to simplify it with how your Positives meet your Needs.

  • I got up before my alarms.  This met my Need for time alone and a soothing, slow start to my day.  I got to spend more time journaling.
  • I had a healthy breakfast.  This met my Need for conscious energy and nourishing foods that support my body and emotional state.
  • I went for a run.  This met my Need for working out anxious energy in a mindful and positive way.
  • I spent time with my dog.   This met my Need for a positive soothing activity.
  • I met all my deadlines at work.  This met my Need for completion and pride.

Recognizing the Positives

Recognizing the positives in your day with this kind of detail may not be something you want to take the time for every day, but when you do take the time for it, you’re self-soothing reaches ninja-level skills!

With quick stealth, your self-soothing ninja will start to swoop in and chop down the negative BS (belief system) that previously sent you into fight/flight/freeze/faint/fawn reactions. That self-soothing ninja will lay the groundwork for you to instantly feel safe and capable in the face of unnecessary lions.

Why This Works

The second Positives list above recognizes met needs such as:

  • Relief
  • Showed-up
  • Wound down
  • Allowed rest
  • Nourished
  • Supported
  • Helped

The second list breaks it down with simplicity and recognizes:

  • Time alone
  • Soothing
  • Slowness
  • Consciousness
  • Energy
  • Support
  • Nourishment
  • Completion

These additional Positives list sprinkles in BeMo Extras by recognizing gratitude and enoughness (I get to…).

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