Now, this is not first thought when I find ants, pets indeed! What next? And as a child ant study was not one of my pastimes.
This morning I was having a delightful discussion with Michael a retired pastor and we were talking about our reactions to people and situations as a result of an ‘incident’.
This story I am sharing with his permission is about his Mum, she was open, friendly, would talk to anyone and everyone, and she had a big warm smile for all. She found starting conversations, drawing people out and making them feel comfortable easy. Another who found approaching people and starting conversations difficult asked her ‘how she did it’. ‘’ That’s easy, I know they love me’ she replied.
It begs the question what if they don’t…her answer was ‘they must be having a bad day’. Then the biggie what if they showed over and over they don’t like you… she said ‘then they don’t know me’. She had a total, complete belief in who she was and what she had to offer. Her unerring belief system was that people loved her. What a gem of a woman.
That bought us to the title ‘making ants into pets’ –
ANTS being ‘automatic negative thought structures’
and PETS being ‘performing enhancing thought structures’.
Are you one of those people who find going up and speaking to someone about as appealing as going to the dentist? Would you rather stay home or sit in the corner and wait and wait for someone to come to you? Now you could be saying I am an introvert, that is me. And that might be right.
If this is you could it be that your automatic negative thought structure like ‘I don’t want to be here’ or ‘can I go home now’ are holding you back?
Remember thoughts, your thoughts are not set in stone. You can change them. Yes, you will likely feel vulnerable.
When you first step out of your comfort zone you might even feel like this little ant. Those ‘automatic negative thought structures’ have got control.
Holding onto those negative thoughts and emotions drains your energy. Have you ever thought how much energy it takes to build up a negative case in your mind? That negative energy is projected out and warns people off.
Energy from past experiences like ‘I hate going to parties, no one talks to me’ re-inforces your emotional attachment to your current circumstance.
What would it take to use that same energy and transform it into a smile, a kind word or offering a helping hand? I have found when you have a go people respond. It does not happen immediately, it takes time and practice. If those beliefs have been there for decades they don’t disappear in a heartbeat.
When you can transform that energy you can create a new and different outcome – you Can experience a state of gratitude and joy. You may even be happy and inspired just because of who you are.
Life’s experiences, what you read and what people say can have long-standing effects. And now when you see someone holding back, reacting in a way that is less than supportive, reach out, that person may be feeling lost, inadequate, not know what to say so they blurt out the first thing that comes into their mind. My guess is they are ‘ants’ wanting even trying to be ‘pets’. Love them anyway… you reach out to them.
How do I know? I have been there, in fact, I have been there this week. It was a lesson in self-awareness about my reactions– the wisdom from Michael and my reflections have created an opportunity for me to rise above my current limitations and be greater than my conditioning and circumstances. This is my opportunity to turn my ants into pets.
This post may speak to you, it may be your current experience. If so reach out, call a friend, call, email me on email@example.com or contact me on FB through Confidence Beyond 50
Acknowledging that the ‘ant and pet’ exercise came from ‘It’s Your Life What Are You Going To Do With It’ by Anthony Grant and Jane Greene