I’m on a mission to change the inner dialogue a lot of us have day in and day out, whether or not we’re aware of it. We live in a world in which most of its inhabitants walk around feeling flawed and incomplete in some way. Often, we’re unaware of how these perceptions limit us and, more importantly, that we have total and full control over changing our internal self-talk to change our reality.
To give you an example, a very smart, educated and successful woman I know has longed to be in a loving relationship for as long as I’ve known her – 17 years and counting. However, she wanted to make sure she lost that extra weight before she’d start actively dating. As far as I know, that’s still the status quo. As another case in point, an intelligent, thoughtful and congenial man I know dwells in the shadow of inferiority because he lacks the formal education he believes he needs in order to get ahead – and he had long since passed the time to do anything about it. He blames his lot in life for limiting him, when, in fact, his attitude and beliefs imprison him. These are examples of big limiting self-perceptions. There are many others, some more subtle and less easily detectable. Most of all, it isn’t so comfortable shining the light on what we don’t want to see. Instead, we adopt different coping mechanisms to manage or mask anything from low-grade numbness to full-fledge pain.
We don’t have to live with the discomfort, numbness or pain, and every one of us has the power and capacity to change the story we tolerate at best. The first step is to honor ourselves, who we are right here and right now. Recognize that flaws and ways in which we feel incomplete are only self-judgments that can be changed. To go back to the examples above, we see people of all shapes and sizes in loving relationships all the time. Some of the most successful people in the world (e.g., Bill Gates) lack formal education. It’s what we believe that manifests our reality, because our beliefs ultimately shape our actions too. So, why not start with altering our self-talk from the ways in which we’re flawed or incomplete to honoring how we show up in this world right now? Don’t think you can do this? Ask your loved ones what they honor about you.
Similarly, you can reframe judgments of what you have done – and what you have failed to do – to get to this point in your life. Honor that you’ve tried to do your best, and cut yourself some slack. Why let the guilt of (not) doing what you feel you should have (not) done consume precious life force energy within you? Instead of chastising yourself for not having adopted a healthier lifestyle sooner before your weight got out of control, you can shift your focus to how much you have enjoyed indulging in what life has to offer for so many years. Know that you can choose to change your lifestyle habits at any point. Instead of lamenting that you have missed the opportunity to go to college when you were young and unencumbered, you can choose to appreciate the life you have been able to create without tons of formal education. Know that it’s never too late to go back to school if you want to do it. Similar reframing applies to whatever shortfall or regret you may be torturing yourself with right now. Honor your (in)actions and the good that has come from them. It can’t be all bad, even if your ego directs your attention solely to the bad.
Growth and improvement are important for our evolution. So, I’m not advocating that we all get complacent. Instead, by honoring who we are and where we are in life, we first get on good terms with the creator we already are and the container in which we create the more desirable future for ourselves. When we get ourselves to this place, whatever change or improvements we aspire to make are motivated by the desire for joy and expansion, not because we feel we need to fix ourselves and our lives. We also free ourselves from the suffocating feelings of guilt and shame and make room for expansive feelings of anticipation and excitement. We can all do this, we really can!
So, here’s the call to action I’d like you to accept: Honor yourself and your life. Share this call with people you care about, especially those who tend to be really hard on themselves. Be a change agent yourself by spreading love and acceptance. Namaste.
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