You know what I am talking about. MOST of us have said, “When it comes to XYZ, I have NO self control!” Or, “I can NOT resist XYZ!” (XYZ = your drug of choice)
XYZ is that THING that you won’t resist because it is simply too tempting, too delicious, too delightful to be missed! And with the holidays arriving, most of those temptations spawn myriad opportunities to succumb to our desires in the guise of celebrating the season, or reducing seasonal stress.
What is it for you? For many MANY people it is sugar. For some it’s alcohol, or pizza, gambling, or shopping.
But let’s be clear. What we are truly saying is that ‘something external has power over me.’ We are handing our power willingly to XYZ. WHY do we hand our power away willingly?
Because it’s an excuse to do what we want to do anyway!
Period. In any other situation we fight to keep our power and stay in control. We don’t like being told we ‘have-to’ do something, and we resist being forced into anything. Unless we want to do something and need an excuse to shift blame away from ourselves.
Giving away power is an energy drain by itself (power=energy). Compound that with the fact that giving in to XYZ often makes us feel guilty (another energy drain) for not sticking to our intentions, and that XYZ is often something that depletes energy all by itself (like sugar, dairy or booze), and you can see why believing that you have no control DEPLETES our energy exponentially.
So, if we want to stay energized, it’s KEY to understand that we ARE in control, always. The choice is always ours. (Unless we are truly powerless in which case it’s important to consider treatment for addiction or compulsion.) We are either choosing to align with our intentions and keep our energy intact, or we are choosing to abandon our intentions for XYZ, which leaves us exhausted and depleted.
The choice is always ours.
Strike a power pose and confidently align with your healthy intentions!
The word ‘resist’ is tricky, too.
We cannot resist anything because to resist it we must be focused on it. We want to distract or realign our focus rather than resist. When distracted from XYZ, we don’t have to ‘resist’ anything, because we have chosen to focus elsewhere.
Instead of saying, “I can’t resist free candy,” how possible is it to reframe that thought so it focuses your energy on something you do want?
“I choose to eat healthy snacks like apples and dates because they align with my powerful intention to regain my vibrant health!” That feels pretty powerful to me.
Maybe you prefer something simpler, “I eat only the foods on this list,” and then create a list of foods you LOVE that align with your health goals.
Self Nourishment through the Holiday Season
Whatever you celebrate, this time of year brings stress to millions, and millions of us turn to food for comfort in times of stress. My friend, Michelle Dwyer is hosting this fabulous event to help you nourish yourself this season instead of the old cycle of indulging and then beating ourselves up for it.
What is it that you have been telling yourself you cannot resist? What will change in your life when you choose a different thought? What new thought resonates for you? How will you choose to show up for yourself when you feel stressed this season? If you change a behavior you have been refusing to change, what other changes will you feel inspired to make? Who else will your new choices impact or inspire?
“Every time you come from a place of, “I need to get X” today, flip that impulse around and make it about giving.”
“For example, if you realize you’re out of toothpaste, instead of focusing on getting some, focus on giving the drugstore your business; on giving the employees a smile and a hearty “thank ye mucho!”; giving thanks that you have the money, bodily ability, and transportation to make the dental adventure happen; on giving your teeth the love and attention they deserve, etc.”
“Do this all day with everything and take note of how that flip shifts your energy, your focus, and your results.”
I super, uber-love that quote from Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass Every Day! Go back and read it again. Go on, I’ll wait here.
I read it often and love the way it feels when I let it seep into my bones!
When I was a kid and people told me it was better to give than receive, I thought they were NUTS! As far as I was concerned nothing beat tearing the wrapping paper off a gift!
And don’t get me wrong, to this day receiving a thoughtful gift that conveys the message that the giver knows you – REALLY knows what makes you smile and goes to the trouble to get that for you – is a great joy that uplifts my heart tremendously, splendiferously, fully and completely!
But that joy is tiny when compared to giving a gift that lets the recipient know that you see them, you know what makes them smile and went to the effort to make that smile happen. My kids are grown now, but when they were little, I remember the sheer bliss as I watched them open gifts on Christmas. I still try to get them each one thing that lights up they’re face because seeing them light up feeds my soul.
So when I read the Jen Sincero quote above, it really struck a nerve. What if I can bring that feeling of giving to every aspect of my life? How cool would that feel?! And my next thought was “I want my whole life to feel like giving!”
So now I try to embody this idea.
And I say “try,” Master Yoda, because sometimes I DO, and sometimes I just forget and fall back into the habit of going after and getting what I need. This is the familiar vibration most of us have known since growing to adulthood got us user-focused on the need to GET enough money to pay our bills. It’s a process.
Developing the vibration of a ‘getting’ mindset took decades. Allow yourself at least a month to practice the giving mindset described by Jen Sincero, and see what feels different for you. What BETTER time to practice than from Thanksgiving Day until the new calendar begins?
I want to get new clients, so I focus on giving people my attention and listening skills. I focus on what they are wanting or needing and which parts of that are within my power to give, or which parts I can at least give them resources for that can help them move in the direction they desire.
I give hints and tips about how I am navigating life’s waters in the hopes that people take comfort that they are not alone in their story, or that they find ways to overcome whatever may be weighing them down or holding them back.
When I want to get something, I give something first.
I need to get information? I give curiosity and kindness to those who may have it. I need to get groceries? I give a cheerful greeting to all that I meet and lend a hand to a vertically challenged person that wants to buy something on the top shelf. I need to get car repairs? I give my mechanic and his staff my friendly attitude, my money, and referrals!
What do you most need to get right now? How can you think about that from a perspective of giving? What will change for you when you shift from a mindset of getting to giving?
Most humans (and I would venture to guess ALL parents) feel overwhelmed at least some of the time, and especially during the holidays. But what is overwhelm? The dictionary defines it as “bury or drown beneath a huge mass.” When most of us talk about feeling overwhelmed, we are not literally being buried or drowned beneath a huge mass, but the thoughts we think about our to-do list make it feel like we are. So it’s our thoughts that make us feel overwhelmed.
The cool thing is that once we realize how we think about and prioritize our never-ending to-do lists, we can release MOST, if not all, of what people define as overwhelm.
Infinity and Beyond
Remember – We are eternal beings, so we can never get it “done.” You can stop stressing that you never get to the end of your to-do list. You never will. No one does. Don’t let them tell you they do.
It helps to remember your WHY.
Analyze each item on your list and ask, “Why do I choose to do this?”
You are at choice and you CHOSE to put those things on your to-do list. If an item feels like it’s being imposed on your list, ask yourself WHY you are allowing it to be imposed. Maybe you love someone that needs you to do it, or maybe it just has to get done. Why does it have to get done? So the bills get paid. So the kids get an education. So the relationship feels secure. There is a WHY for every item on the list.
If you can remember why you want to do it, it won’t drain your energy like it does when you think you have no choice. No one wants to feel they’re being forced to do anything, and that feeling of powerlessness drains our energy. Any time we feel we “have to” (should) do something, or “need to” do something, it drains our energy.
Change your thoughts.
If you resent or dread doing an item on your list, you have at least three choices. You can decide it does not really need doing and just ditch it. You can delegate it to someone else. Or you can change the way you think about it so it won’t drain your energy.
For example, if an item on your list is to dust and vacuum the house. Why are you doing that? Do you feel like you “should” because you have guests coming to dinner? Does it need doing because the house is dirty? Does someone else want it done? Do you choose to do it because having a tidy home lifts your energy?
When we feel we “should” do something it’s usually because we fear others will judge us if we don’t do it. We could choose this if we wanted to, but we do it because we will feel shame (around what others think) if we do not do it. THAT drains the energy right out of your toes! Doesn’t it?
Needing to do it is not as draining as having to do it, but it still drains us. There is a reason for it to get done (the house is dirty) but I still feel at the effect of circumstances, instead of in control of my choices.
Does that resonate for you? Don’t take my word for it, check in with your gut.
Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do because it needed to be done? Of course! We all have. We all know someone that works a job they don’t love because they need the paycheck. Talk about energy draining. If we are doing anything because we feel we have to, or need to, just adding it to our list drains our energy before we ever take action.
Don’t you feel most inclined to do it cheerfully when you are choosing to do it? It seems like a quick easy chore that lifts our energy for our effort! I like a tidy environment. I feel most clear, focused and creative in a tidy, organized space. It takes 10-15 minutes to do the dusting and run the vacuum, and then I FEEL BETTER!
Yes! And I have energy to spare on whatever I love to do!
Speaking of what you love to do…
Most importantly, how many items on your list answer the “why” question with “for the fun of it” or “because I enjoy it”?
If the answer to that is zero, don’t feel bad! You’re not alone on this point by any stretch of the imagination. Most of us tend to let go of what we want to do in favor of the ‘have-to-do’ and ‘need-to-do’ items.
Why? Because many of us were taught that doing what we WANT before what we SHOULD makes us selfish. It does not make us selfish! It makes us happy. It makes us resilient. It makes us creative and thoughtful, and it energizes our lives.
Add something to the to-do list right now simply for the pleasure it brings. Do something you love daily and just WATCH the difference it makes in your energy level! At least add something once a week that you do just for the joy of it.
It can be anything you love. Read a book. Soak in a long hot bath. Go to the movies and book dinner at a fine restaurant. Avoid movies and restaurants so you can afford to travel. Pick up that yoga practice you put down. Write that book you’ve always wanted to write. Go dancing once a week. Create a three-minute dance party in your living room every day.
Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, add it to your calendar now. Make time for it. Make time for you, and there will be more time and energy for the to-do list!
Look at your “to-do” list and ask yourself, “Why do I choose to do this?” Which items on your list can be ditched? Which items on your list can be delegated? Name one activity that you enjoy tremendously that you have not done in a long time? What is one activity that LIFTS your energy every time you do it? How can you fit those activities into your schedule? Why is it important for you to choose something just for the joy it brings?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I hope this post helps you shift your thoughts enough to relieve some of that stress. If not, consider hiring a coach to help you shift your energy from exhausted to energized!
I offer a FREE session to anyone considering hiring a coach, so we can discuss the ways that coaching can help, and see if partnering together would be of benefit for your situation. If I am not the right fit for your coaching needs, I have a list of AMAZING certified coaches at this link.
Awareness is a powerful weapon against the inner critic.
I hope that since my previous post you have had an opportunity to observe the critic, to become aware of when it’s speaking to you and what sorts of situations trigger it.
Did you observe how gremlin thoughts start to lose power the minute you shine your awareness on them? Awareness by itself is actually all you need to overcome some of the smallest gremlins. They scatter like cockroaches when the light of awareness touches them. However, for some gremlins that have been around a very long time with messages we have taken on as beliefs, we need awareness first along with some other tools to help free us from the stranglehold they place on our energy.
Get to know your personal gremlin.
Visualizing or creating a physical representation of the inner critic is a great tool to use to understand that the gremlin is separate from us, and that the messages of the gremlin are NOT our inner voice, but actually come from outside of ourselves.
I first visualized my gremlins as cockroaches because I enjoy thinking about them scattering when I shine my light of awareness on them. When I took a class aimed at overcoming the programming of the inner critic, we were assigned the task of creating a physical representation of the gremlin. My first idea was to photoshop the face of a person yelling at me onto a cockroach.
The idea made me smile, but I really wanted something I could punch if I wanted to, so I bought a puppet from Paisley’s Puppets in Oakland, and gave her a hat to wear.
This is my own personal gremlin, Kalista Kockroach Krabapple III.
I keep Kalista where I can see her daily to remind me that I am not the voices in my head.
Create your own gremlin if the idea resonates for you! I know for some clients, the idea of thinking about the inner critic as a “gremlin” does NOT resonate. If that’s the case for you, that’s cool. Try calling it inner critic or ego, or Ralph, or cluttered mind, or anything that helps you think of it as “not you” because those messages are NOT you, and we want to begin to set it apart from the self.
Once I realized that these messages were not my own, it dawned on me that the reason I felt so shitty when thinking inner critic thoughts is because they are NOT true. When things resonate, they feel good physically and lift our energy! Truth resonates.
Resonate means ‘to produce resonance.’ Resonance is defined as ‘the quality of being deep, full, and reverberating,’ or ‘the ability to evoke or suggest images, memories, and emotions.’ Truth does this. Capital T.
A thought that is not true, on the other hand, does the opposite of resonate. It makes us physically recoil. That little knot in the pit of your gut, or under your solar plexus is your physical being recoiling from something that your core essence KNOWS is not true. This physical recoil takes place for the same reason our hand would recoil from a flame: to avoid pain. That physical signal is a communication from the Highest Self to avoid that thought that feels so icky.
Let that soak in. The physical sensation you get when you think a thought that feels crappy is a signal to BACK THE FUCK AWAY from that thought. “That thought will cause you pain.” “Don’t go there.” That’s your gut instinct screaming to get your attention.
How does this resonate for you? Don’t take my word for this stuff, check in with your gut. When you read the information above, did it resonate? Make you recoil?
Tell your gremlin to fuck off!
Once I learned that the inner critic was NOT me, and I learned to identify that physical sensation that told me the gremlin was lying to me again, I wanted those cockroaches OUT of my head! When I would hear the nasty little bastards starting in, I visualized myself flicking them away like the tiny vermin they are.
Once when I turned to a friend with an issue I thought was a struggle, she gave me some really solid advice. Her email contained wisdom, reassurance, validation, and these beautiful seven words:
Flicking them away and telling them to fuck off allowed me to reclaim my own power. For me, as well as many other people, this is a vitally important step. When I was in coaching school, we talked a LOT about the inner critic because gremlin messages are one of the biggest issues people bring to coaching.
That’s where I learned that telling the inner critic to fuck off is a great first step, but is not usually enough to exterminate the cockroaches. For that, we need to understand the message and it’s original purpose, because their purpose was never to get us to live small and stay scared. That was the outcome of their message once it outlived it’s usefulness.
Understand it’s true purpose.
The true purpose of the cluttered thoughts, gremlin messages, inner critic voice is sometimes to protect us from perceived harm.
For instance: If your father backhanded you so hard you flew across the room when you voiced an opinion that didn’t agree with his, you may have developed a message that said, “Never speak your truth – it causes pain,” or, “Never disagree with those in authority,” or, “Your ideas are NOT valid,” or, “No one wants to hear your thoughts,” or any number of other ideas that may have kept you safe in that particular situation, but are now standing in the way of you experiencing your life to the fullest.
Some messages are meant to control us. For instance: Maybe an ex-spouse told you repeatedly that you are unloveable, and followed that up with actions that seemed to prove the point. That message actually says far more about the ex than about you, but if self-esteem is low enough, or if you have been practicing thoughts about being unworthy, you may buy this message wholesale. Then when the marriage ends, the gremlins tell us that no one will ever love us. And it’s possible, that the gremlins are trying to protect us again! They are trying to keep us out of situations that might hurt.
If any of this resonates for you, you are NOT alone!
Are you getting a slight knot in your solar plexus, or a slight feeling of nausea? Remember, that feeling of physical recoil means those thoughts are NOT true!
The important thing here is to understand that these messages came from outside of self. They were intended to keep you safe, or were the agenda of outside forces. WHERE they came from is NOT important! You may immediately recognize where some of your inner critic messages come from, but please don’t waste time trying to figure out where or when or why your messages came to you.
Simply recognize that where you are now, those messages no longer serve a purpose, so it’s safe to start leaving them behind and embrace Truth of your awesomeness. The faster you do, the better you feel!
Train the inner critic for a NEW job!
So, you have this really powerful voice inside your head that you’ve been listening to for a while now, and it seems like the voice is trying to help you on some level, even though it’s messages are constantly draining your energy. How do we stop the ebb of energy into negative thought patterns and redirect it into building new, more positive thought pathways?
You’re probably getting good at being aware of your personal inner critic messages by now. Maybe you’ve even visualized your gremlin and know it’s name. So now it’s time to begin retraining the gremlin. It wants to help, so let’s give it something helpful to do!
Retrain that inner critic to repeat messages that build your energy and give you motivation.
When I first went to coaching school, my gremlin ROARED that everyone in class was more educated than me, better coaches than me, and that I had nothing to offer. “Keep quiet so they won’t know how much you DON’T know!”
Like I said, we did a LOT of coaching on gremlins at iPEC, and I discovered that almost everyone in class had gremlins as loud and as mean as mine were! All of us had some version of the same message: “You are not enough.” It was a revelation to understand that I was not alone. We are all exactly the same in our own unique ways!
So I began to picture Kalista in a little cheerleading uniform. I mentally had her turn her dunce cap into a bull horn, and every time one of the old thoughts popped in to say, “you are not smart enough,” I pictured Kalista shouting it down with rallying cries of, “Cyndi is a ROCKSTAR coach and an awesome person with valuable insights to offer the other coaches in this class!” Complete with pompoms.
How would you like to reimagine your inner critic? What messages would you enjoy hearing? What messages are inspiring for you ? What messages will motivate you to move closer to your goal? What will change in your life once you change the voices in your head? What inner critic message seems LOUDEST in your head? How would you like to re-write that one?
What questions do you still have about taming that inner critic? Ask your questions in the comments below this post!
Read Rick Carson’s Book!
If you want to learn more about taming gremlins, follow this link to order Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson. It’s the preeminent work on gremlin taming and a very useful book full of inspired illustrations. He also has a Facebook page you can access here.
For over 400 positive affirmations and uplifting reminders on my landscape photography, follow this link.
Human beings want all kinds of different stuff, and that’s cool! Desire draws life-giving Source energy into our lives. The desires my clients most often name are healthier bodies, heftier paychecks, happier relationships, & more habitual travel.
But why do we want any of these things?
Because of the way they make us feel.
The only reason we ever want anything is because of the way we expect to feel when we have it. So, let’s focus on that.
Imagine yourself in your ideal life. Imagine all of your dreams have come true. You have the soul-mate, the amazing career, the water-view home, whatever it is you desire most. Imagine you are living that now. FEEL it. Feel the emotions – whatever emotions you imagine you will feel in the moment you attain your highest goal.
Wow! Take a few minutes to marinate in those feelings. Let them wash over you like an ocean wave crashing against the shore, and permeate every cell of your body!
THAT is what we really want! That feeling of contentment, joy, fulfillment, confidence, whatever emotion it is that you believe the peak experience you desire will allow you to feel.
QUICK! Name those emotions and write them down.
If you feel inspired, take a few minutes to journal about how you feel.
This is your true goal – not the house, or the job, or the lover, or the money. The way these things make you feel is what you are longing for. And HERE’s the KICKER: the more time you spend steeped in the emotions you long for, the faster your dreams manifest!
This is also really helpful if you are feeling confused about a choice you are making. Ask yourself, “Will this choice allow me to feel…” whatever emotions you listed above. This is a quick way to gauge whether or not the choices you make are moving you toward your goals!
For me, it’s a sense of vitality, confidence, connection, and calm that I truly desire.
Moving forward in this blog, I will regularly add a self-exploration section aimed at growing your consciousness. Let me know how it inspires you, or which questions you find most helpful!
What is it you truly want? What part of that answer surprises you? What part resonates as truth? What decisions does this information help you clarify? How will you use this new information moving forward?
Suffering happens when we wish things were different than they are. Period.
Pain happens in life. Every person in the Universe faces challenges and difficult situations. Every one of us.
We think we are suffering because the other person did something that hurt us, or because we don’t earn enough money to take the vacation we want, or we lost our job, or we weigh more than we want to weigh, or we’ve suffered an injury or accident, or because someone we love passed.
But the suffering – the continued worsening of the pain – is something we create by wishing things were different than they are. I’m not saying those things aren’t hard or painful. They are difficult and challenging and they will absolutely slow us down some. However suffering is not caused by ‘what is.’ We cause suffering by RESISTING ‘what is.’ We’re human. Pain is a normal part of existence.
But when we spend hours, days or weeks puzzling over why this has happened to us, or how we might have prevented it, or how we can still make things turn out ‘right’ or how we just wish so MUCH that things turned out differently – that is RESISTING what is. Resisting what is causes suffering.
Suffering is optional because we’re creating it ourselves!
What is it you’re resisting? What would happen if you simply allow it to be what it is? What would it mean to accept the situation as it is? What would change for you?
Once upon a time, I lived on a diet composed mostly of wheat and dairy. I LOVE the stuff! Give me a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, a quesadilla for lunch, and pizza for dinner and I am delighted! Then I found out that I am allergic to wheat and dairy after becoming extremely ill from eating too much of the stuff.
I was miserable thinking of all the cheese I would never eat again! I was mad at the world for the unfairness of my challenge, and disappointed in my body for not being able to handle my fave foods like a “normal” person. I couldn’t picture a world where I could possibly ever hike again, because everyone knows the perfect fuel for hiking is bread and cheese! Right? Luckily for me, I couldn’t resist the changes because I was too sick, but I SUFFERED. Believe me, I made sure of that.
Now, it’s completely normal to feel disappointed in a situation like that. But it’s not normal (or healthy) to resist what is. My body cannot handle something I want it to do. That’s the fact. I can choose to resist it and resent it and be miserable about it, and no one would blame me!
But what happens if I simply accept the fact? EVERYTHING shifts.
I’m no longer draining my energy. I’m not feeling victimized. Shifting my perspective is the key. I accept the situation as it is, and then I am free to play with new options that make me feel powerful instead of deprived!
YES, I love cheese, but what I truly, deeply want is vibrant good health which is vitally more important than the temporary and fleeting pleasure of a bowl of ice cream! ESPECIALLY when it’s so much fun to discover fuels my body LOVES like mangoes and blueberries!
As soon as we accept what is, we begin growing again. Resistance stunts our growth and keeps us stuck in pain, inaction, or both. Before I accepted the situation, I kept coming up against the food allergies like an adversary that would pop up out of nowhere and knock me in the dirt.
Once I accepted the situation, I was able to build it into my life map.
Then I was able to find fun creative ways to go with the flow. Seeing the obstacle for what it is, allows me to move around it with ease. I could then continue moving toward my dreams with a clearer picture of where I was standing and how to get where I want to be!
I am not “settling” for a life without wheat and dairy, I am THRIVING on a life path that has given me the blessings and challenges that have sculpted me into the awesome self I am today!
The biggest gift of this journey is the radical self-acceptance I now offer myself daily. I finally accept myself, just as I am, in all my flaw-someness.
Suffering is optional.
What are you currently suffering? How willing are you to accept it for what it is? How much energy will that free up in your soul? How will it change how you see yourself? If you see it clearly in your life map, what fun, creative options does this open up for you?
If you have, you are NOT alone. Most of us have said this about one thing or another at some point in our lives. If you’ve ever had an addiction, you know this feeling well.
Let’s unpack that phrase.
“I have no control of myself.” If not you, who? Or what? Sugar? Alcohol? Gambling? Sex? It’s different for each of us.
Literally we are saying, “something outside myself is controlling my behavior.” Usually we mean something that we “cannot resist.” I’ll use sugar in my examples because it’s been my personal drug of choice for years and I know many MANY people can relate. If sugar is not the thing you “can’t resist,” substitute, your own drug of choice while reading.
What are we really saying? Sugar controls me, or sugar thinks for me.
How true is that?
Can sugar think thoughts inside your head?
No. So really it’s only your THOUGHTS that are telling you to succumb to temptation.
So when we say, “I Have No Self-Control,” we are really saying, “I cannot control my thoughts,” or “I cannot control my mind.” Again, you would not be alone. We are rarely, if ever, taught to choose which thoughts we think.
Advertisers and politicians like it when we have little control over our own thoughts, because that makes it EASY to put thoughts in our head. Our culture does not highly value independent thinking, so it’s completely normal to not be adept at guiding our thought energy.
Thoughts are energy.
Where do you spend yours? Doubting your ability to resist something? Or shifting your focus to choices that align with your own healthy intentions?
There is no right or wrong here. I am simply bringing awareness to the process.
What’s really True?
Self-control comes from being aware. Become aware of what you are really thinking and then you get to CHOOSE.
Self-empowerment comes from choosing which thoughts to think. Once we are aware of what we are thinking, we get to decide if we want to keep thinking that thought, or change it to something that builds our energy instead of depletes it.
So, “I can’t resist sugar!” becomes something gentler like, “Oh how interesting. I am thinking about sugar again. That does NOT align with my healthy intentions or my goals, so I choose to shift my thinking.” And then we get to choose an infinite number of thoughts that align with our healthy intentions. Here are some possible substitutes:
I am powerfully aligned with my healthy intentions! I choose to eat foods from my list of delicious nutritious choices! I can change my focus to some form of creativity that I enjoy! I can distract myself until the urge passes. I choose my own thoughts and control my own behaviors. I am a powerful being and I will not defeat myself thinking thoughts I do not wan to think!
PLEASE list more options in the comments! What thought do YOU choose to think instead of, “I can’t resist XYZ,” or “I Have No Self-Control!”
It’s a familiar story to most of us. We set a goal. We make a plan to reach the goal. Something happens that gets in our way of reaching the goal. We realize we did not achieve what we set out to do. We beat the crap out of ourselves for our utter, degrading failure.
Sometimes we get carried away and beat ourselves up over not just the current “failure,” but every failure we have failed up until this very disappointing failure of a moment.
You have not failed. Not once. Not at anything! You have gathered evidence. You have learned lessons. You have not failed.
You have discovered a path that does not lead where you thought you wanted to go. What do you see? What can you learn? Is there a new road sign now that you could not see before? Your journey will always bring you right where you need to be to learn the lessons your Soul came to learn.
All we do when we beat up on ourselves for anything is drain our own, precious energy.
I used to do a REALLY good job of beating myself up over not sticking to my eating plan. Over the years I have adopted many different eating plans, for different reasons (MOSTLY because I was unhappy with the way I looked), that I have stuck to with varying degrees of success. One misstep was an excuse to fall off a plan I didn’t want to stick with anyway, and beat myself up for the wretched, miserable failure that I obviously was.
But why stop there? I was super good at reminding myself of all the other times I had failed miserably, compounding that “I suck” vibe, and really making it my own!
But I was missing the point, and the opportunity.
Instead of identifying MYSELF as failed, I had the opportunity to stop and observe. What’s really going on? Why did I fail to achieve success?
The old broken record would have me believe I was a failure. But when I finally had to reject that thought because it felt so NASTY inside me when I thought it (it literally made me feel physically ill), then I began to see that I ‘failed’ at something only when I didn’t really want to achieve it anyway.
I thought I wanted to lose weight so that people would find me attractive. Our culture promotes physical beauty as something to be valued above most other attributes, so that’s what I wanted; to be accepted by cultural standards. But since physical attractiveness is not something that I value personally, it was NEVER going to be enough to motivate me to stop eating foods that I love!
I had not failed. I had attempted a goal I didn’t care about, so I didn’t care if I actually reached it or not.
It’s a vicious cycle. Attempt a goal to please others. Fail to reach goal because it’s not YOUR goal and won’t motivate you. Beat yourself up, depleting your energy. Try again. Fail to reach a goal that’s not yours. Beat yourself up, depleting your energy. Try again. Fail to reach a goal that’s not yours. Beat yourself up, depleting your energy.
Do this long enough and some people don’t have the energy to get up and try again. To break the cycle – first of all, stop beating yourself up!
Think of your self as an airplane.
As Brian Tracy tells us in his book entitled Flight Plan – The Real Secret of Success, “Life is like an airplane journey. From the time you take off, you will be off course 99% of the time. All airplanes are off course 99% of the time. The purpose and role of the pilot and the avionics is to continually bring the plane back on course so that it arrives on schedule at its destination.”
So, why beat yourself up if being off course is 99% of life?
Set your goals and keep moving toward them. When you get off course (and you WILL!) just gently course correct and keep moving forward. This is the most efficient way, the way that saves our energy, and gets us where we want to be faster.
Stopping to beat yourself up is exhausting. It wastes energy and time and makes us feel crappy. So STOP it.
Admire yourself for simply recognizing your drift!
Then you get to choose: 1) stay with the drift back toward old behaviors, or 2) course correct back to where you are consciously wanting to go.
When I get of course now, I look for what it was that tripped me up. I look for the emotion that I was feeling – and usually not wanting to feel – that sent me after ice cream or pizza. I don’t clobber myself for tripping. If it was an emotion that tripped me, I tag it as a trigger. Then I MIGHT see it coming next time, and not trip. Or it may trip me again. Then I recognize it, tag it, and choose to correct my course again. It’s a process.
Maybe I recognize that the goal isn’t really something I want, but something I thought I wanted because others wanted it for me, or I thought I was supposed to want it. In that case I can shift goals, or simply shift the reasons for my goal.
Using my earlier example: I thought I wanted to lose weight so that people would find me attractive, or so I would be attractive by cultural standards. Actually, I wanted to reduce my weight for a lot of great reasons relating to my health, well-being, and energy levels. When I was able to shift my focus to those things, the excess weight fell away so fast it made everyone’s heads spin, and scary health issues simply vanished.
No judgement for getting off track.
I am human, so it happens. Daily.
Instead of wasting time in judgement and blame, I get curious and look for what tripped me up. Then I know what course corrections I can choose if I want to.
Instead of getting out a big club and draining my own energy into exhausted depression, I trust the process, and I get better and better at moving toward my goals. Daily.
“I’ve never tried positive affirmations, and am not sure how that really works. Is it telling yourself positive things while looking at yourself in a mirror? Or is that just a movie cliche?” GREAT question! Thanks so much for asking.
Positive affirmations are powerful tools to help build new neural pathways. In other words, they can help us rewire our brains. Practicing affirmations helps challenge and overcome self-sabotaging, and negative thoughts.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to getting what we really want is the thoughts we are thinking. Energy attracts like energy, so thoughts attract more thoughts like themselves.
When we chronically have fear-filled thoughts, more fearful thoughts come easily. When we chronically choose thoughts that feel good when we think them, more thoughts like that come easily to us.
We’ve spent a LOT of times thinking our usual thoughts and creating well-worn pathways to more of those thoughts. If we become aware that our thoughts are not serving us and want to change them, it takes practice.
Practice thoughts that feel good!
Choose affirmations that feel good when you say them.
If you say, “Money comes easily to me,” when you are over your head in debt, it’s highly likely that you’ll get a knot in the pit of your stomach that tells you that the thought you are thinking is WRONG. And that’s when something like, “Money is hard to come by,” pops into your head. And that energy attracts more thoughts like that one. So, “money comes easily to me,” might not be the right affirmation.
How does this one resonate?
This feels more true for most people. There is no contradiction here. Now when a habitual thought pops up like, “I don’t have enough,” remind yourself of the NEW thought you are choosing. Tell yourself that the old thought may have been true in the past, but you are now open to receive floods of financial abundance with ease. Repeating the phrase often helps build a new path to better feeling thoughts.
This affirmation in prayer form felt AMAZING to me when I read it and each time I read it now, something opens in me, and I truly feel more ready to receive all the abundance the Universe wants to deliver!
If an affirmation really resonates, practice it! Write it on sticky notes to remind yourself. Repeat it like a mantra in the shower, or while sitting in traffic.
Some affirmations feed your soul for awhile and then get replaced with others that feel even better or resonate more.
And sometimes an affirmation that does not feel good in one circumstance feels amazing later on. For this reason, I hang on to affirmations with which I would like to resonate, and try them again when my energy is different!
This affirmation does not resonate with many of us. My first reaction to it was, “I wish!” If I had tried using this affirmation then, I would have attracted thoughts that confirmed I was NOT any of these things. But I really WANTED to feel that way about myself, so I hung on to the words for later. Now the words resonate for me on days I am feeling fully confident, not always, but so much more now than before! I choose to fully practice this thought when I am feeling confident and it is resonating. Why?
Because what we think determines how we feel, and the way we feel is the energy that we send out into the Universe. And what we send out in the Universe is what the Universe sends back to us.
Looking yourself in the eyes can help.
If someone won’t look you in the eyes when they talk to you, how much do you trust what they say? Looking yourself in the eyes and telling yourself Truth can help you accept it as true for you, while acting as a powerful reminder. Many people do not see themselves as worthy of self-care even though they might invest huge amounts of energy caring for others. Looking in the mirror to repeat this reminder can be very helpful.
Affirmations that begin with “I am,” are powerful and can be more powerful if you look into your eyes in the mirror while you say them. But if you are not yet comfortable looking at yourself in the eyes, then do it anyway! Look deep into your own eyes and remind yourself of the Truth:
I am worthy of self care. I am worthy of the same abundant love I offer others. I am choosing the thoughts I think. I am an extension of Source energy. I am valued just for being me. Life is a process and I am right where I am supposed to be. I am learning. I am becoming.
Make a list of your strengths and put “I am” in front of them!
I am kind. I am caring. I am loyal. I am honest. I am a good friend.
You get the idea.
Create ones that serve your needs.
One of my clients had repeating thought patterns that constantly told her she had screwed things up again, or that she was about to screw things up BIG time! Her affirmation took a while to create, practice, and to resonate fully, but now she says it’s one of the most powerful tools in her toolbox!
It does NOT mean that everything in her life always goes the way she wants, or has planned. It simply means that when things get off track, it doesn’t feel like the end of the world anymore. There is tremendous value in the peace of mind this can bring.
Do NOT practice when you feel bad!
Do not practice affirming if you are hungry, angry, lonely, tired or your energy is otherwise depressed. If you practice saying, “I am a powerful being fueled by Source energy,” when you feel crappy, you attract more of what feels crappy because you don’t (at that moment) feel powerful or fueled by Source.
So, what to do? When you feel crappy is when you really NEED to change those thoughts if your goal is to feel better. What can you affirm in those more challenging moments to shift your energy in the direction of beginning to feel better?
Esther Hicks and Abraham urge us to “go general.” So instead of thinking about the specific problem/solution, focus on general thoughts that feel better than the current stress-inducing ones you are entertaining.
I just want to give credit where credit is due. Most of my affirmations and my wisdom around positive thoughts and how they affect us have come to me through the work of Esther Hicks, Jill Lebeau, and Tosha Silver. I am eternally filled with overflowing appreciation for these women.
The power is in your thoughts.
You will find affirmations everywhere. Google “positive affirmations’ and you’ll get a million. Here are all of my favorites printed on beautiful photos to help them raise my vibration and stick in my mind easier.