What is the difference in us? What allows some of us to become our greatest selves and the rest of us to shrink beneath our greatness, never seeing what we could be if we were able to get out of our own way and stop believing the negative talk we have told ourselves and we have heard from others for our entire lives.
During chanting meditation this afternoon at The Body Electric we heard a story about a wolf who got lost when he was young and was raised by a heard of sheep. The wolf was afraid of all of the things the sheep raising him were afraid of. He was scared of absolutely everything. One day the wolf stopped at the creek for a drink of water and saw his reflection. He was terrified. The young wolf paused, took a closer look, and realized that he wasn’t a sheep after all, he’s been a wolf this whole time. He went on to live his best life as the wolf he was born to be.
If only it were that easy to just decide one day and never experience a setback. We absorb the narratives of those we grow up with. The negative self-talk starts so very young, before we are able to understand the world around us. We cry as babies wanting to be held to feel protected and hold on to the abandonment feelings if we are not soothed immediately. As an adolescent we hear a stern tone of voice in reference to a behavior that was inappropriate and take that voice to mean that we are bad at our core. A parent is too busy after a long day at work to give us the attention we have been waiting for all day and we understand that are not wanted. We start to believe that we are not lovable. That we are not good. That we are not worthy of being loved.
Take a journey through your childhood and consider all of the moments that you can recall where something was happening with the adults around you that you absorbed as your fault or as being about you. It was not your fault, sweet child. Most of the memories probably were not about you at all, but rather something that was going on with your parents or care-givers. All of those moments of sadness or fears of not be lovable are carried with us in to our adult relationships, at work, with friends and definitely with our significant others. We place all of our hurts and needs on to other people to make us feel better. Self-soothing cannot be outsourced.
I am worthy. I am somebody. I matter. I am lovable. I am good.
Isn’t that all that you have ever wanted to hear from your parents? To know deep inside of your beliefs? To feel within your heart and your soul? The root of depression, addictions and many other health issues, both physically and mentally seem to stem from these same childhood traumas. I had this thought the other day, realizing that many people I know who have challenges as an adult go back to these same core, limiting beliefs.
You are worthy.
You are somebody.
You are lovable.
You are good.
Let that settle within you for a moment. It is the absolute, 100% truth.
We are the first species to have developed consciousness. We have the ability to choose our thoughts. Instead of allowing the negative, destructive thoughts to take root within, sweep those thoughts to the curb and choose the other thoughts that come up, that you are someone worthy of living your best life ever. Yes, you!
When the choice is presented, bring awareness to what thoughts are rattling around in your mind. You are not forced to listen and obey every single thought you have. You have the ability to say, “Oh, hey, yea, I remember you and that negativity. I know you want to drag me down in the pits of depression today and I am not having it. You nasty, old, negative thoughts, are not welcome here today.” Sort of like Arya Stark telling death, “Not today.” You get to choose. “Choose good thoughts” is a magnet I have on my fridge. It’s a nice reminder that I do have a choice.
A fun practice is to use a smile to change your mindset. Destructive thoughts will present themselves and may catch you off guard. Practice being mindful of their very first appearance, pause, smile and allow that smile to penetrate your entire being, hold that for as long as you can. Negative thoughts have a hard time sticking around when your mind and body are smiling. Your brain has no way of identifying a real smile from a fake smile. Stopping destructive thought patterns is a great time to “fake it until you make it”. Scientifically, smiling releases neuropeptides which allow neurons to communicate. Dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are also released when you smile, whether it’s a real smile or a forced smile. Smiles also reduce cortisol levels (stress hormone), helps improve memory and boosts your immune system. No wonder smiling feels so great.
Being on the path to live your best life as your best self is not an easy path. There are roadblocks, there are obstacles, there are weasels who try to stop you and hold you down. Have you heard of the crabs in a barrel? When one crab gets to the top with an imminent escape, the other crabs pull him back down to the bottom. Clear your life of those crabs. Instead, build your foundation with supportive, loving people who want to see you living your best life.
It’s easier to sit in front of a television or phone screen and watch the world pass you by then it is to go to bed at 9pm so you can get up at 4:30am for a workout and meditation before work. It’s easier to sit at a bar drinking and shouting nonsense over each other or yelling at a sporting event on TV than it is to find someone you can have a meaningful, intelligent conversation with and develop a deep connection.
Living your best life can be tough, but the adventure is worth every step of the way. The joy and happiness and self-worth that comes from making a difference in the world pays off in dividends.
What is stopping your from living your best life? What steps can you take today to begin your journey of enjoying the adventure that living your best self will bring? I would love to work with you to uncover what your obstacles are and what limited beliefs are holding you back from being your best, authentic self.
Five steps to begin enjoying the adventure:
3. Monitor intake to your mind and your body
5. Hire a life coach