Is your head in the sand?

When I was a kid, the adults told what was an ostrich. I was made to believe that an ostrich will bury its head in the sand when it is scared. The supposedly dumb bird believes that if it can’t see its enemy then the enemy can’t see it too. In fact, there’s even an idiom that says “bury your head in the sand”, so it must be factual, right?

Well, not so true.

The ostrich has a small head and her nest is on the ground, so it has to lower itself to the ground. The illusion optic makes some people believe it bury its head in the sand. No – in fact, the experts have made it clear that the bird is not as stupid as we think. But, why there are still many people who think otherwise?

There are many stories that we accept as truths because “everyone else” says so. We assume that they must be right.

When I was in my primary school, my basketball coach told me that I was heavy, I had a lousy stamina, and I would never do well in sports. I carried the “truth” in me for the next twenty-odd years. I felt inferior when it came to sports, especially running. I seldom ran with my friends because I didn’t want them to see me run.

One day, by mere coincidence, I had to take over my friend’s spot in a 10 km run (don’t ask me why!). It was painful but I did it. I remembered telling myself at the finishing line,” Hmm…I am not that bad after all.” One thing led to another and I did a few half-marathons since then.

The first step is the hardest because you have to rewrite the story in your mind.

Mike Dooley said, “Thought becomes things”. The universe is fair and neutral because we are responsible for creating our own meaning.

Our minds love “stick-it-note”. It is how we see the world. The mind creates meaning by putting a tiny mental “stick-it-note” on each and every moments and memory from our lifetimes. Everyone writes their notes differently. That’s why some people see a glass half full while some half empty.

How you remember something is more important than what you remember.

“Brandon, he is an asshole. BUT, I can never let him go…” Tina said. We were having a coaching conversation about her boyfriend.

We discussed in depth to uncover the meaning of her relationship. In Tina’s subconscious mind, she labels the relationship as “if this ends, no one will love me anymore”. That’s why she always find excuses to forgive him.

“Tell me more about the ideal man you’d like to spend the rest of the life with,” I asked Tina. It took her a while to come up with a vivid description and it sounded complete opposite of her ex-boyfriend. She wanted someone loyal, driven, and funny. Her boyfriend is none of those.

“What if… this is not an end but a beginning?” I asked.

“Tell me more?” she asked.

“We need to experience the bad to appreciate the good. Imagine, you are on a journey to meet the ideal man. Along the way, you have to take a pit stop to learn a few lessons. Your ex is here to teach you what makes you miserable,” I said.

A lesson will repeat itself until learned.

“Now, there are two ways to write this story. One,  no one will love you anymore. Two, be grateful for the lesson learned and it is time to move on in the journey,” I said.

You are the story you tell yourself. Remember the ostrich? Not all stories are real.  

Oh, and guess which story Tina decided to put on her mental “stick-it note”?

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