What would life really look like if you stopped the excuses?
All those reasons you tell yourself on why you stay in a job you hate, how your partner makes you miserable, how you are always broke. The list goes on right? On and on! I know, I have a list too. We all do. Reasons why we stay stuck and unhappy and small in this very big scary intimidating, dangerous world. We play it safe, and if we complain a little then we are at least acknowledging the pain, not totally blind to injustice. But is that really enough?
What is your truth?
Do you remember the dreams you had when you were a child? How enchanting the world seemed? Wow! Life was an adventure. And then life happened. Not the same kind of exciting that you were expecting, huh? It’s a bit more scary, and painful, and unknown.
People die, jobs get taken away, relationships end. Too heavy to even think about right now. Sometimes life just plain old sucks! Yes, I agree. There are difficult times. What do you do when dad comes home drunk – again? How do you feel valued when no one ever praised you as a child? How are you supposed to feel cared for when you were kicked out of the house at 16? What happens to your confidence when you are passed up for that promotion? Again, the harsh realities of the world.
But is that it? Is that your story? Is that all you’ve got?! I highly doubt it. There is more. There is another story that gets pushed aside; the story of our greatness, the story of why we matter in this world, the story of who we truly are. You know it, don’t you? You just have to dig for it a bit. We forget the good stuff some times, too much even that we forget who we really are. We hang on to the pain and labels too often, identifying with the wounds: child of an alcoholic, codependent spouse, addict, victim, the neglected, abused, unwanted…….
Why do we cling to the pain so much? It’s a very interesting thing about the brain. It’s programmed to protect us from danger. It’s the old archaic part of the brain that triggers the fight or flight, flee or defend. Notice how tragedy comes on the news and you just can’t take your eyes off the horrible scenes. We have all experienced wide eyed passers by on the side of a free way mesmerized by a catastrophe.
The brain lights up and sends out this warning signal “DANGER! DANGER!” And we store this information for protection. We store the images, and the emotions, and the sensations tied with the experience, thinking (not consciously of course) that this information will protect us. But it does not protect us at all. It keeps us stuck, scared, and immobilized. The body and the brain recognizes this as a legitimate fear.
You are no longer stuck!
You are no longer stuck in the abuse, alcoholism, codependency. But the decisions you make every day is based on the belief that you are. Now there are tons of tools to help you get unstuck, to change your thinking. But I’m not talking about that today. I’m talking about getting out of your own way, getting out of your past, your old pain.
Can you do that?
Can you choose to believe something else about yourself that is true? Are your feelings of neglect, abuse, pain, true? Are they valid? Were they real? YES! Of course. But time to notice what else is true about you. There is another story.
What is your other story?
Were you valedictorian of your senior class? Did you form a study group? Did you hold a door for someone, are you caring? Did you volunteer at the soup kitchen? Did your grandmother tell you how special you are and that you can achieve anything you set your mind to? Did you go skydiving? Did you ski down a mountain? Were you brave, courageous, smart, happy, helpful, resourceful?
What are your greatest achievements and memories?
Don’t these moments also define you? Are they worth remembering? I hope you’re saying yes with great enthusiasm! I want you to remember the themes in your life, the great ones. Often times in the self help/psychotherapy world we focus a lot on the problems – what’s wrong. And we often neglect the ‘what’s right’ about you.
When trying to get his book published, Jack Canfield ran into over 100 no’s for his Chicken Soup for The Soul books. And when asked why did you keep going, his answer: I haven’t gotten a yes yet. He did not focus on the rejections, he focused on the gift he had to share with the world. And he went for it!
What’s right about you?!!
Make a list, and make it count. Can you truly feel the greatness about who you are? I dare you to commit to a feeling of greatness every day. Bringing to your awareness, up close and personal, something you are very proud of. Lets not confuse this with ego and pride, don’t let that be an excuse to neglect yourself. You are a human being put on this planet to make a difference. You playing small will not benefit yourself or anyone else in this world. Being grateful for your gifts, for who you are and sharing those gifts with the world, within your community, that is who you are.
Commit to yourself, commit to that childlike wonder you used to have about this great, wonderful, adventurous world. It’s still there, it’s just up to you to listen.
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