What Your Monkey Wants To Hear From You
The words your Monkey would like to hear most from you are:
‘My dear Monkey, I believe we are missing a trick. I believe you want to help me and I believe you can. Let’s work out how we can do this together.’
What’s It Like For The Monkey?
Think about it for a moment from your Monkey’s viewpoint:
Imagine if you can, how you would feel if you were trying to help a friend and they treated you as a distraction or a chattering fool?
How it would feel if you kept getting it wrong, despite your desire or need to help them?
How would it feel if it seemed your friend didn’t care what you thought and never took the time to explain what they were really doing or what they needed from you?
How do you think you would behave?
What if you thought you knew something that would make your best friend’s life a hundred times better and they refused to listen or were unable to understand you?
How much worse would you feel if you felt responsible, ‘appointed’ to look after or even save your friend from themselves and you were failing in your whole life’s purpose?
How would you behave?
- Would you nag?
- Would you remind them of the key issues as you see them?
- Would you warn of future issues?
- Would you give options and alternatives?
- Would you raise your concerns?
- Would they get any peace?
To make matters worse there is history:
- Imagine that you felt this friend was deliberately (wilfully?) ignoring you?
- That they thought you were an idiot?
- Imagine you felt like a concerned parent who had to keep trying to help this wayward child?
How effective would you and your friend work together?
What would the nature and tone of any conversation feel like?
If this had been going on for a long time, how resentful of the whole situation would you be if you were that little voice trying to help someone like you?
What if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way
Contrast these behaviours with what you know would happen to that relationship if everything was different:
- Imagine you started being treated as someone who wanted to help.
- Imagine you started being treated as someone who could actually help.
- Imagine being listened to respectfully.
- Imagine being allowed to express your worries, fears and ideas.
- Imagine being given the time to talk.
- Imagine really understanding each other.
- Imagine sharing the same agreed-upon goal.
- Imagine being thanked for your contribution.
- Imagine having the same view of what was really going on.
You know about relationships and partnerships. It’s obvious immediately what the difference in the performance would be working like this in a partnership.
However oppressed you feel by thoughts, feelings or any other Monkey activity you can reengineer your relationship – if you want to.
Take a moment and look back at your relationship with your Monkey.
Usually, it seems Monkeys throw us a mixture of random and unrelated thoughts but is this really true?
The nature of their dialogue and your history together obscures the underlying reasons for these thoughts. It could be that your Monkey is trying to complete a task that only your unconscious knows about.
There’s an example in the book:
My Monkey is a ‘he’ –
I am sitting in the sun trying to read a great book called ‘Ego Is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday. I am enjoying exploring the possible links between Holiday’s ideas about the Ego and how our Monkeys work. I am content sitting here in the garden with my book.
In the middle of all this my Monkey appears. He is very excited about building a new house on a plot of land that we do not yet own and have not even found. The plan is exciting, it is an eco-house on a sloping plot. The garage is halfway down the plot on the right and there is an office or music room built under it with a view over the water. He presents the ground and first floor layouts with a resounding tee dah!!
I resist the urge to get involved. I do not think the subterranean garage room will work. This is still hard for me to do but instead of talking about the house or that subterranean room, I pause and ask him a question about his purpose, ‘What’s this all about?’
He shows me a series of conversations and google searches I have been involved in over the last three months or so. He then shows me three good reasons why we need to start this project now and returns to his design— tee dah!!!
I can now see why this has happened but he doesn’t know that things have moved on while he has been working away in the background.
Once he gets involved in a task, he does not look up much. He gets his head down working to deliver for our cause and is unlikely to notice any changes in the outside world or in my thinking.
These unsponsored projects waste his time, and mine, Even when the projects are sponsored and agreed upon, the results typically arrive at a time when I am up to my ears in something else. Left to its natural course my experience supports the traditional view and as a result, I treat his efforts only as interruption and distraction. I don’t look for the value hidden just below the surface and so I don’t see it.
Like us, our Monkeys also don’t understand why things are the way they are.
For most of us growing up with our Monkey, it is hard to imagine the Monkey as anything other than an annoying distraction who disturbs our focus with mostly negative thoughts. They interrupt and distract us from our plans, goals and ambitions in the wrong way and at just the wrong time.
It feels like they sabotage our meditation and our thinking. Then, when we treat them as though this was true, they feel unloved, misunderstood, and doubly determined to put us right!
As a Monkey it feels like an uphill struggle to provide help. They don’t really understand what’s going on, and, as time passes, it feels like they must work harder to keep you safe and on the right track.
- Imagine how things could change for our Monkeys if we accepted and worked on the basis that they have always been there to help.
- Imagine that we actively worked with them on this basis.
- Imagine how it would be if we took the time to inform them with how we saw things and what we were trying to do.
For you as the Monkey, imagine how much relief would you feel if your ‘friend’ took some time out to say:
‘I believe we are missing a trick. I believe you want to help me and I believe you can. Let’s work out how we can do this.’
Things can change
Over the last few years, I have worked together with my Monkey on having a better relationship together. It has made a huge difference and both of us now believe its a great way forward:
- My Monkey now knows that I think he’s helpful and can help me as long as I make it clear what I am trying to do.
- My Monkey now knows that I think it’s my fault if we haven’t spent enough time for him to be clear on this.
- I know my Monkey provides real help. Not just with ideas and suggestions but with better answers because we have different perspectives that give us more insight.
- I suspect this is how it could have been from the start if only we had both known how things could be, but we are both pleased we got there in the end!
As we have worked together, his interruptions are far fewer, more helpful, and better timed. My scores on the Relationship Survey reflect this and still continue to improve.
Interruptions still happen every now and then. Together, we understand and appreciate these interruptions. Instead of reacting with anger and frustration, we use them as opportunities to work on our relationship. We both know these interruptions indicate unresolved issues or lack of communication that we need to discuss.
I can sense his delight as our partnership continues to strengthen.
What does your Monkey think about the way you two work together?
Score your current relationship here.
If you are a meditator, things can change quickly
If you meditate or practice mindfulness, you may feel you suffer more from your Monkey’s chatter than most.
You may wonder why your Monkey seems more active and more intrusive just as you sit down to meditate?
The answer becomes clear if you consider the question “When else you have been quiet enough for them to get a chance to speak to you?”
When you see it from their perspective, it is not really surprising that a frustrated Monkey grabs the opportunity of you sitting in silence to tell you what is on their mind.
Your greatest asset?
Your Monkey wants you to know that they could be your greatest asset. Take a moment to honour this possibility and note down what Monkey talk happens over the next few days.
When you consider the possibility of your Monkey as capable helper, trusted friend or invested coach, you will begin to see that most of the issues between you can be explained in terms of poor communication, poor relationship and/or separate agendas.
Reading this together with an open mind sows the possibility of a whole new way of interacting with each other.
This is something that your Monkey will welcome with open arms.
If you start looking, you will start to see changes happening immediately and you will both interpret events differently:
- Any changes you witness confirms the possibility that your Monkey is so much more than a chattering fool.
- Any changes your Monkey witnesses confirms the possibility that you are willing to listen and re-evaluate the relationship.
As you read this, so does your Monkey and, together, you could now accept the possibility of a successful future combining the strengths both of you bring to deliver the life you really want.
Just reading the book makes a difference ………..
To assess your current relationship with your Monkey, take the survey.
Get the book – The Misaligned Monkey – What holds you back On Amazon
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