Podcast Episode 21 – The Power of Maybe

Jul 1, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode Number 21 the Power of Maybe.  

DIANA: Hey. Hey. What’s happening, everybody? How are you? I hope you are feeling fantastic. And listen, I don’t know what’s going on in your life. Could be some hard things going on, but there’s always room for some gratitude and you can always find something to be joyful about. It’s possible you can feel fantastic too. Right now, I’ve been feeling grateful for summer still. I know I keep talking about it. I just love summer. I wrote my notes for this podcast under the umbrella on my backyard patio. The flowers are blooming and I share my flowers a lot on Instagram all summer. You can find me on Instagram if you want to see my flowers, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned them on my podcast. I have a few small gardens in my yard. I take care of them. I admire them. Deadhead the flowers. Make sure they’re watered and well. Keep the critters away. Did you know here’s what I learned this summer. Did you know that bunnies like to munch on petunias? I didn’t know that. 


All these years I’ve avoided bunnies eating my petunias. But this year there’s a little baby bunny. I think it thinks the petunias are like cheetos or something. Just loves to keep munching and munching on them. And I’ve been letting it because it’s so cute. That little bunny needs to eat, and I haven’t had the heart to stop him. Anyway, that’s a little bit about what’s been going on for me on these summer days. But today we’re going to talk about the power of a word. One word. Today’s word is maybe. But before we get started on that, I’m going to share another itunes review. I like to do that. Thank you to each and every one of you who’s left me a review. I ask you to leave reviews because it’s not because I need your positive reinforcement, though. That’s really cool. I do love that. But it helps the podcast grow and reach more people. Every review makes it more searchable, more findable. Is that a word? Findable by other people? So if you haven’t left a review and you’re listening on itunes, consider pausing the show right now. If you aren’t driving, that is, and leave a review. It will help other people find the podcast and we can keep this Renew Your Mind movement growing. 


We need to help people get their minds right, okay? So go leave a review, and I’m going to read one right now that was left for me recently from L and J. L and J says feeling empowered. This podcast is awesome. Diana has such a fun conversational tone that it feels like you’re listening to a friend. Each episode is short and easy to digest, and the advice is both challenging and inspiring. This podcast will help you realize that you can take control of your thoughts and your life. Highly recommend. Well, if that’s not a glowing endorsement, I love it. Thank you, Ellen J, for leaving that, uh, review. I love that I’m coming across just conversational. I wish I could hear you. If you talk, go ahead and talk back to me. I wish I could hear you. But let’s just pretend we’re having a conversation. We grow so much when we’re just in conversation with our friends and we’re challenging the truths of lives and learning from each other. So let’s do that. And today we’ll do that with talking about the power of maybe. One, uh, of my favorite people named Natalie. She’s another life coach. She’s brilliant at adding the word maybe to sentences and thoughts that might not be true. And so she brought this to my attention. If, uh, a thought’s not serving me or the thoughts painful. She was coaching me one time, and I had this thought that I was going to disappoint my husband. And she replied, maybe. And for just a second I thought, well, I don’t want a disappointment. 


But then immediately, I was noticing that the word maybe added to my thought made me feel relieved, like it wiggled me loose from the fear I was having about disappointing my husband. And so since then, I’ve been so in love with the power of maybe. So to set the stage, let’s take a look at how this works. First, I want you to consider this. We think in language. For all of you listening, you think with words. Most of you listening have thoughts with English words. Maybe they’re Spanish words or whatever language. But the thoughts that we have are mostly thoughts that are filled with language and words. And so when we talk about the power of the word maybe, we want to notice that it has power because it’s a word. So let’s just look at how one word can disrupt a sentence. I love pie, by the way. For me? That’s French silk pie from Baker Square. But I love pie. When I first said that, your brain went to work and it filled in the gaps before I told you what kind of pie I like. And you thought it meant, I like eating pie. I love eating pie. Right? I love pie. Let’s just add one word to that sentence and see how much we can change the meaning. Um, let’s add the word throwing. Now, instead of I love pie, we have I love throwing pie. 


One word. One word completely disrupted the meaning of that sentence. Okay, that’s what I’m talking about with the power of a word. And since we think with words, you can see how being intentional with the words we choose to think is huge. So we’re leading up to looking at the power of maybe. But let’s look at another thing that I’ve noticed about what we do with thoughts. I noticed that when people have a painful thought and they don’t want to be in pain anymore, they either try to deny the thought or maybe they try to go to a complete opposite thought. Let’s use an example. I’ll use this example for the majority of the podcast. My, um, son hates me. Okay, that’s a thought. My son hates me. It’s a painful thought. It brings about the feeling of devastation. That’s what most moms feel. If they think my son hates me, they’re going to feel devastated. It’s a painful thought. A thought that has a ton of meaning attached to it too. We don’t just stop it. My son hates me. We add a bunch of meaning like that means I’m a bad mom. I didn’t do the right things. I could have loved him more. I could have loved him better. I should have let him go to that party. He’ll never love me. I screwed this up. I’m a bad person. There’s always other thoughts that we attach to it. 


Thoughts that give it meaning. And often we end up in a painful spin. We can get into spins like this and the thoughts will seem so true that it gets hard to get out of it. We spin all those thoughts together and we just keep ruminating over them and it’s a big tangled mess. I’ve talked about feeling stuck before. This is the exact kind of thing that will for sure make you feel stuck. Well, how do we cope with a painful spin? Like I said, many of us try to deny it. My son hates me. That thought’s terrible. Now I’ll try to convince myself it’s not true. I’ll just refuse to believe it. I’ll deny it. I’ll reject it. And sometimes that gives some relief for a little bit. It might work for a little while, but eventually the brain’s going to step back in and remind you, m but he said it. He did say it the other day. He actually said those words. And then whatever willpower you mustered up to deny or reject the thought isn’t strong enough to keep it away anymore. We get tired when we try to resist the thoughts. And then we fall back into, well, he said it, so it must be true. Or instead of outright rejecting the thought, we might try to believe the opposite. My son doesn’t hate me. I don’t want to believe that. 


So I’m going to think he loves me. He thinks I’m amazing. He might have said the words, but he actually loves me. But this is also another will power fueled attempt to just get out of the tangled spinning of painful thoughts or to try to disregard it or push it away. I was reading an article this last week about why positive affirmations don’t work, which is one of the things I tell people all the time. I mean, generally they don’t work. Sometimes they might, but here’s why they don’t work. This was an article on psychcentral.com and said positive affirmations don’t work. If what you are trying to affirm is incongruent with the deeply held negative belief, then all that results is an inner struggle. Okay? So what that article is saying is that when you try to deny a belief or believe the opposite, if it’s a deeply held belief or it’s something you’ve convinced yourself of or you’ve assumed is true, and now you’re just trying to believe the opposite, all you’re doing is creating a back and forth battle of thoughts in your mind. It might look like this. He hates me. No, he doesn’t. I know he really loves me, but he said he hates me. It must be true. Well, maybe he’s just saying it. I don’t want to believe it. I’m not going to believe it. 


But I guess I haven’t been that good of a mom. I’ve screwed a lot of things up. No, wait. I’ve done a lot of good things. I am a good mom. And we go back and forth in our brain. That’s all that happens if we try to just believe something opposite. Now we’re just arguing with ourself. And this inner struggle happens when our brain is trying to fill in the gaps of what we see and hear and feel it’s filling in the gaps with meaning. Okay, so sun says I hate you. Well, then I’ve just made that mean a whole bunch of things, and now I believe this whole bunch of things. And it gets very hard to believe anything different. The beliefs that we let our brain generate get stuck in our brains. They take root like they set up camp, they’re home. It’s just part of our story. And in our, uh, fictitious example here of a son that says he hates you, what happens is your ears hear the words and then they send the signal to your brain, and your brain instantly goes to work to create a bunch of ideas about what it all meant. And when it’s something painful like this, we usually end up with a tangled mess of painful thoughts, and they just kind of glob up together and solidify together. 


We’ve got a big tangled mess and it gets stuck. So if you try to deny the belief or you try to cover it up with positive thoughts, most of the time it doesn’t work. We need to find a way to wiggle the stuck thoughts loose. And if there’s one main thought, that’s the one we want to work on. So here’s where the power of maybe comes in. We can add the word maybe. Maybe my son hates me. That ought to feel better than my son hates me. I have sons. Actually, one of my sons has said these words to me before, and I had to do a lot of work on my thoughts to make sure I didn’t get stuck in a mess. So let’s take a look at emotions now. Let’s think about what emotions we feel with the thought my son hates me. And if you don’t have a son, you can interchange this because I want you to give this a try and see what happens in your brain. You can interchange the word son with another person in your life so you can test it out with me. You can stick mom, brother, husband, girlfriend, boss, sister. Pick one. Just imagine someone you’ve had a tougher relationship with. Stick that in. And now try thinking the thought. What do you feel when you think, this person hates me? When I think my son hates me, I feel devastated. What is it for you? Rejected, resentful, sad, angry? Whatever it is, it’s kind of painful, isn’t it? 


If we want to feel better, we can’t just go to a positive opposite thought or deny that it’s true. It doesn’t work except to create thought battle in the brain. So if we want to just wiggle it a little bit, if we want to move our brain slightly off the thought, we can take it’s kind of like taking a baby step with our thoughts by adding maybe. Maybe my son hates me. Think that thought with the person you chose. Maybe this person hates me. Now, what feeling do you get? Maybe you’re a little curious, concerned, introspective? Maybe relieved. It’s not quite as painful. It’s not as deep as being devastated. And all of those different emotions that are less painful, they kind of make room for being open to dialogue or solutions or conversation. Adding a maybe doesn’t send you down the rabbit hole of painful thoughts like being a failure. It creates more constructive thoughts. Like, um, could be like, it seems that he’s struggling with his emotions. Or it’s interesting that he would say that. Maybe you’ll think, I’d like to check in with him later when he’s not so angry and see what’s going on, or think he’s having a tough time. That’s a different grouping of meaning and thoughts that get created when you add um, a maybe. And if you go down this thought path, you might even find yourself feeling compassion instead of rejection. Look out. What? Instead of feeling rejected, if you add a maybe, you could end up leading yourself to feel compassion or love. 


One word. We added the word maybe, and we changed our emotions. With just one word, we loosened the tangled mess of meaning. One word is all it took to move us slightly off the painful thought without trying to combat it or erase it. Maybe my son hates me, the word may be added to any sentence like that. It can open us up to consider the opposite. I don’t have to let go of the idea that my son hates me. Maybe lets me still think that if I really need to, if it feels important, while at the same time opening me up to consider the opposite. Because if I think maybe my son hates me, guess what? Maybe he doesn’t. So if you’re thinking but wait, Diana. Your son actually said he hates you. He said it out loud. So isn’t it true? My answer is no. You know why? Just because someone says words doesn’t make them true. If my son says he hates me, I actually have no way of knowing if it’s true or not. He’s the only one who really knows if it’s true. In fact, in this case, my son, when he did say it to me, he came back later and he said it wasn’t true. He said he was just angry and not caring about what he said in that moment. Sometimes adding a maybe to a thought is actually making it more accurate than not saying maybe. Think about that one. Many of our thoughts aren’t even true. 


So if it’s a thought that leads you to a painful emotion, try adding a maybe. Is there a painful thought that you’ve been hanging on to? This is a great time to try adding a word. Try putting a maybe in front of it. It might create just enough wiggle room to help you get unstuck from a painful story or a painful belief. You got to give it a try. Let me know how it goes. I get emails and messages on social media all the time from people listening to the podcast. And it’s so fun, you guys. I love hearing how the tools I’m sharing have been helping you. I love hearing how you’re renewing your mind. I love hearing how you are discovering what’s possible in your life. It’s so fun. So just go. Send me a message and tell me how this goes. Tell me how adding a maybe to your sentence works. Okay? And before I go, I wanted to make sure that I let all of you know something you might not know. I have free webinars. 


Every month. I, uh, call them Ask and answered. Because if you show up and ask a question, it gets answered. But that’s not all. I don’t just answer all of your questions, which I do, but each webinar, I spend the first 20 minutes teaching practical tools on specific topics. I’ve had one on relationship tension. I had a webinar on how to use the Mind Shift tool that I created. Uh, we’ve done how to Stop worrying. I’ve done a lot of other ones. I’ve been doing them for a year now. This month, August 2020, the topic is going to be boundaries, how and when to set them. And I wanted to make sure to mention this one because a lot of the questions that I do get from you all have to do with how to set boundaries and what is a boundary? Should I create one? Shouldn’t I? Am I doing it right? And so I know this is an important topic that you all are interested in. Uh, since it’s on boundaries, too, I think I’m going to do a little giveaway with this one. Anyone who attends the webinar live is going to get put into a drawing, and I’ll give away the boundaries book by Cloud in Townsend, which is incredible. I’m probably going to add a Starbucks gift card because I like Starbucks. And you can have a yummy drink while you’re reading the book. Um, let’s see. I’m going to add some other fun stuff too. I’m not sure. I have a few ideas, but I’m going to add more goodies to this giveaway, too. So maybe I’ll just keep it a surprise. So the webinar is on boundaries, and it’s going to be August 25 at 07:00 P.m. Central. 


The link to sign up is on my podcast website at rympodcast.com Rym stands for renew your mind. Rympodcast.com. Just look for the free monthly webinars. I just leave it listed at that. Um, so I don’t have to go back and change it every month. But whenever you click on the registration page for free monthly webinars, it’ll just show you whatever my current Asked and Answered webinar topic and date is so you can sign up. And it’s super easy. So you should go do that. It’s going to be a good one. All right, y’all, that’s it for today. So I will catch you next week. Until then, take care. 


As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.

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