by Dr Marianne Trent, Good Thinking Psychological Services
"What will people say?" is something commonly said to me in clinic, but also something I think we often think. "What will people will say? What will people think? Oh I can't do that because dot, dot, dot." And actually, this is something that we play around with quite regularly in the field of psychology. So when I was training in cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, we regularly had to structure and schedule behavioural experiments. And behavioural experiments are where you think, "Oh, if I do such and such, then I think X, Y, Z might happen," and a behavioural experiment is where you test that theory.
So one example in the textbook we were learning from was, well what if I went out with lipstick round my lips and on my teeth and smeared on my cheeks, what will people say? What will people do? And someone in our cohort, a male actually, tested it and the response is perhaps a little different than you might expect. The reaction seemed to be that lots of people didn't notice, and that when they did, nobody said anything. Certainly nobody said anything detrimental. And I think he said, one person had said, "Oh, did you know you've got something on your face? Here's a tissue, if you wanted to get it off."
So actually of all the comments, none were negative. I like talking to people, if you’ve ever seen my live videos or met me in person you might have noticed, but if I see someone with something stuck to their shoe, then I'm not thinking, "Oh, they look ridiculous." I'm thinking, "Actually in that position, I'd want to know." And so I say, "Oh, did you know, you've just got something caught on your coat," or, "You've got your skirt caught in your coat," because I would want to know. And largely when I do things like that, people are really grateful, because they wouldn't have wanted to not know about that. So it's not always that people are thinking negative things about you. Largely, what we recognize is that we've all got such busy lives, people often don't notice. And so can we free ourselves up to do things?
Like for example, I've been going salsa dancing, what will people say? That I'm really useless, and I don't know what I'm doing. But actually the people there are lovely. So supportive, and actually of those people that I've told that I've been going salsa dancing, people have been like, "Oh, that's amazing. That's really good. I'd love to do something like that, but I never feel brave enough."
And it's like well, why don't we just take a deep breath? Take a moment and give ourselves permission to do things we want to do, regardless of what others might say. It's our fantastically brilliant brains which set us up to be able to have these thoughts and feelings. It can be so indicated in people who suffer with trauma, depression and anxiety. Learning to tame and explain these tricky brains of ours can be transformative. If you find this helpful, and if you are a health professional and you like this way of thinking, do you think about checking out the, our tricky brain kit. It’s a physical kit I will post to you, and also a course to teach you about the theory about our tricky brains. £90, it’s an absolute bargain, just for the training alone. If you struggle with some of the symptoms I've described then you might find it helpful to check out my Feel Better Academy where I take you through the tricky brain and other helpful exercises to help you live a life which feels more enjoyable.
Wherever you are at and whoever you are, let's just be kind to these tricky brains of ours and know that we are doing our best to get through each day, whilst being in a really tricky social time of being human.
For more information on the 'Our Tricky Brain' kit, exclusive to Good Thinking Psychological Services, Click Here.
For more information on The Feel Better Academy click here.