I have a friend who recently lamented to me that women keep leaving him.
He was truly puzzled by this behaviour, and to anyone just meeting him, I could see why they’d also be surprised. He’s a smart, sexy, outdoorsy guy who is sweet and kind and thoughtful. He went on to say that he’d had a few longer-term relationships but each and every one of these women had either walked away or departed with harsh words that left him reeling and bewildered.
He was asking me in all honesty what it was that he was doing or not doing to bring all this pain and misery into his life. He knew there must be something but he couldn’t see it for himself. It was something that bugged him enough that he started asking questions about it and being friends with a life coach does have its benefits at times…
What was going on for my friend? I mean he’s got the external package that makes women run towards him. Unfortunately they were running away almost as quickly and it was tearing his heart apart every time. He had started to fear he’d never find true love.
So what exactly was happening here?
Why would women walk away from all that attractiveness?
Well………. He’s wearing plaid and he doesn’t know it.
The guy wears a plaid shirt? What’s wrong with that?
It’s a suit,
A whole gosh-darned plaid suit.
And it’s invisible.
Sometimes we can’t see ourselves or how we are showing up in the world without another’s help.
We all have plaid suits of one kind or another. They are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. They are our patterns of behaviour, habits. And….. Surprise, a lot of the time we don’t know we’ve shrugged them on again. In fact, we often have totally forgotten that we have a choice everyday whether to wear plaid or grab our fave pair of jeans.
A plaid suit can look like the reason someone never asked for what they want in life.
It can keep people stuck in jobs they hate, because they feel like they “should” be working there.
It can be the reason people drink, or fall deeper into addiction.
Our plaid suits keep us stuck in the past- in our own stories of who or what we think we are.
“A PLAID SUIT IS THE PATTERN THAT WE HAVEN’T LOOKED AT IN OUR LIVES, THE ONE THAT COLOURS EVERYTHING WE DO AND SAY, THE ONE THAT FILTERS EVERYTHING EVERYONE ELSE DOES AS WELL.”
So what the hell do we do about our plaid suits, because you know they are clashing all over the place with everyone else’s plaid suit.
It’s pretty simple.
We have to be willing to admit that we’ve got this story that we keep repeating to ourselves about ourselves, about other people, about the world. We always have a choice to change our story, and trust me, we all have some sort of story….
What story do you want for yourself?
Not sure what your own story is?
Try this 5 minute practice and I bet your story comes right out.
- Grab something to write on and a timer.
- Set your timer for 2 minutes.
- Pick a topic– life, work, relationship, other specific topic of your choice.
- Start the timer and for 2 whole minutes list as many things as you can about your topic.
- Try to list everything you can think of as it comes to mind.
- Write for the whole 2 minutes without thinking too much
- Turn your paper over and stand up for a minute, or 2 or 10.
Now come back, read through your list and notice what items could fall under the heading of persistent/pervasive thinking. Persistent/pervasive thinking is the “always” or “all” category. For example if I listed out things that I’ve heard my friend in his plaid suit complain about, it’d be that women “always” leave him, that people are “always” selfish, (and the killer), “I’m (always) shy”.
So which items on your list have that persistent or pervasive quality?
Give those babies a check-mark
Now check your story-
For each checked item, can you think of one example where that isn’t true?
Maybe you wrote that “people are selfish”…. What about Ghandi? There’s the example of non-truth.
Go down your list, as you find examples that break the pattern you’ll start to see a new pattern emerge. So there’s a new story that you can start to tell yourself. Ask yourself… what would change if you were willing to give up that old story, and start living into the new one?
You can always choose to write yourself a new story and write yourself out of old habits.
You now have the opportunity to write a new story.
Go ahead, give it a shot.
What is the new story that you can see happening when you let go of those old patterns? What is the new truth that can unfold for your life when you shrug outta that plaid suit?
The truth is that we create the stories of our lives and then forget that we told tall tales.
We put on the old patterns out of habit because we never look in the closet and see that right there, to the left of that old plaid suit…….. is an awesome pair of jeans.
And that old plaid suit…?
That old story?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
— Wayne Gretzky