Who Is In Your Bath?
Imagine if I said to you, “Come with me, we are going to design your bath”.
Let’s start with the location for your bath. Which country would you like to be in?
Next, would you like to be inside or outside?
If it’s inside, what size room would you like? Would you have windows? What kind of style would it have? What colour is the room? What else is in the room? How does it smell and feel in the room?
If it’s outside, what can you see? Are you on top of a mountain, near a beach, rainforest or waterfall? Are you under the stars, or watching a sunset or sunrise? How far can you see? How does it smell and feel?
What size is your bath? Is it a normal bath size, or extra-long, or with a neck support? What shape is it? How deep is it?
What colour is your bath water? Do you have bubbles, a bath bomb, salts, essential oils, petals? How does it smell?
Do you have any background noises, nature sounds, music? Are you watching tv or a movie? What can you hear?
Do you have a glass of wine, a cup of tea or coffee, a juice, a water or something else? Or perhaps you are reading a good book.
How does it feel lying back and just soaking in the water?
There are 7.4 billion people in the world.
There are 323 million people in the US.
There are 24 million people in Australia.
By the time you have finished designing your perfect bath, no one else on earth will have the same bath as you.
It’s the same as your life.
You came here to learn about, and understand, yourself. Not anyone else. Your life is like your bath – all about you.
Yet we spend very little time in our baths by ourselves, or, really, no time in our bath at all.
All of us have either encountered a fixer in our life, or been a fixer in someone else’s. A fixer is someone who takes it upon themselves to improve aspects of other people’s lives. They mean well but can end up just telling you what to do.
Every time someone else tells us what to do or has an opinion about our lives that they voice to us, they are jumping into our bath. When we start listening to them and stop listening to ourselves, we have allowed them to stay in our bath. Then they start changing stuff in our bath to suit them and it doesn’t feel right anymore.
If you are someone who spends all day forgetting about your needs but loves to help everyone else, then you are spending your days jumping in everyone else’s bath. Every time you try to fix something in someone else’s life, you are jumping into their bath. Your parents, partner, children, friends and work colleagues get all of your energy every day. Meanwhile, your bath now looks more like a pond, something that doesn’t reflect you anymore, because it’s become stagnant and been neglected for so long.
Anyone who is trying to make you agree with them is pulling you into their bath.
If you know someone who is always blaming someone or something else for their not being able to do something, or someone who is trying hard to persuade you to have the same opinion about someone or see something from their perspective, then they are pulling you into their bath.
If you make excuses as to why something did or didn’t happen, if you try to make people see your point of view, or you try to get the support of other people about a situation, then you are pulling people into your bath.
DO YOU REALLY WANT PEOPLE IN YOUR BATH? DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GET IN OTHER PEOPLE’S BATHS?
So how do you stop yourself bathing with everyone else and get back to your own bath?
If I worry about what you think, I have let you into my bath.
If you have an opinion in my life, you are not in my bath yet; after all, your opinion is about you. However, I let you into my bath when I (without even realising it) care more about your opinion than I do about listening to myself or when I change something about myself to people-please you; when I feel guilty. I have then let you into my bath.
When I compromise what feels right for me, when I focus on society’s rules, what everyone else would do, how others would react, then I am not alone in my bath.
When I try to make someone have the same opinion as mine regardless of the topic, then I am pulling someone else into my bath.
All we need to do is be conscious of ourselves and how we react. Especially around people. Think about the people you have in your life. Who is in your bath? Whose baths are you in? And on both counts, why? When we begin to see how this happens with the people in our lives – parents, friends, family, study or work colleagues – we can then begin to understand ourselves.
We can send the fixers who have been in our baths for so long on their way, armed with exit mould and rubber gloves, back to find their own neglected pond baths.
We can remove ourselves from the baths of the people whose lives we have been trying too hard to fix and return to our own bath.
We can start to become conscious of how we react. Once we can do this, we can then get in touch and make decisions and choices based on what feels right for us. It means instead of offering our opinion, telling other people what they should do, maybe we could begin to ask questions that lead them to finding what feels right for them.
It’s really hard to imagine removing ourselves from the baths of those we care about. Especially those closest to us. However, removing ourselves doesn’t mean we don’t care; it means we are letting go of the outcome; it means we are making space for the people we love to find themselves, to discover what feels right for them, to trust themselves and to most importantly listen to themselves. We then stop getting upset or angry at them. We stop manipulating them when they don’t do what we think they should do. It means we get back into our own bath and start throwing the occasional bath bomb at people! Think about bath bombs, those fizzy things that smell delicious and dissolve spectacularly when added to a bath. Well, imagine that is like words of wisdom wrapped up that you throw to someone. Once you have thrown it, it’s gone – you don’t hang on to the outcome. The receiver decides on the outcome. It’s up to them if they catch it or not. If you force your opinion, then you are getting into their bath; but if you throw it, they can decide what they do with it, which may be nothing, and that’s ok. Giving it is what we are meant to do, not pushing. We need to be looking after our own baths.
If you suffer from anxiety, then check how many people are in your bath. Your subconscious fear of what you think they think is a personal invitation to turn your bath into a local pool where everyone gets in and you become powerless to move. You are powerless because all of these people now have an opinion in your life and often the opinions are all different. There is no chance of you hearing your own.
I had a client who had to speak in court. She was terrified because it was about something that occurred 12 months previous and she thought she might get all nervous and look uncreditable. She wanted to be believable. I reminded her that she could just deal in facts of what happened. Trying to make the people in the courtroom believe her was like trying to pull everyone from the courtroom into her bath. In fact, what they thought was irrelevant. She simply needed to recite the facts. Her feedback after going to court was amazing. Instead of feeling nervous, she felt really empowered. She had imagined herself lying back in her bath with a glass of wine, shaving her legs and scrubbing her back, surrounded by strawberry-smelling bubbles. Her confidence in being able to speak in court was incredible. She said she was conscious of staying in her own bath and not pulling anyone in or letting anyone jump in.
I had a younger client feeling overly anxious about school and in particular an upcoming sports day. The circumstances had changed going into secondary school. In primary school he had been a really good runner, and was well known for it. However, although the kids from primary school still thought he was a good runner, in secondary there were a much larger number of participants and so he was extremely anxious about the fact that he may not perform as well as he had in previous years. He just added more and more pressure onto himself. I reminded him that he was pulling all the kids into his bath by his constant worry about what they would think of him. His focus was more on what he thought they would think. He needed to make everyone get out of his bath so he could just get back to being him, enjoying his life and the upcoming sports day.
Being in your own bath is a check you can do all the time, in any situation, to ensure that you and others stay empowered in your own bath. It’s the start of listening to yourself. It’s the start of getting your life back.
The most important and only person you can’t live without is you. Understand yourself. Empower yourself. Love yourself.
Mel Ryan 100% You