Most of us walk around feeling like a shadow of ourselves. Brief moments of total freedom give us a glimpse into our true nature. These momentary blips of supreme confidence combined with childlike enthusiasm show us that buried deep down lies a higher self. Usually it lasts no longer than a few days, and then we ache with our entire being to return to that place.
It would be easier if this state of zeal, devoid of all inhibitions, was just an imaginary finish line intended as a marker to strive for, but since we all have experienced it, we know what we are capable of. This makes it that much more frustrating when we return to our normal experience of the world. It is not as if we are deluding ourselves. The state I am describing is one of enhanced effectiveness, driven by passion and conviction. Our best self. So why can’t we dwell there?
Most of us let others define who we are. Since we aren’t sure, we let anyone with a confident demeanor tell us what we can and can’t do. Parents, teachers, “cool kids”, bosses, religious leaders, celebrities, etc.. all played a big role in shaping your own understanding of YOU. You would be amazed if you could reach into your mind and pull out all the self- limiting beliefs placed there by outside sources who put them there under the guise of protecting you, but in reality were justifying their own fears and failures by holding you back. How could you ever know what you are truly capable of when on your shoulders lies all the cowardice and consternation of every negative person you encountered throughout your life? You have been repeating their stories for years thinking they were your own. So when the lion within pokes his head out and gives you a glimpse of what lies underneath all the bullshit, its no surprise you expend vasts amounts of energy trying to find him again. We can’t stop there, though. We have to free him.
- You will never walk through life with total confidence in yourself while letting another person define you. My next post will deal with this concept in depth, but even a short summation should be clear enough. If you let another person, group, or ideology tell you who you are and what you are capable of then your destiny is always in their hands. It is tempting to outsource our decisions. Putting all responsibility in the hands of another allows us to absolve ourselves from any blame or regret if things go wrong. But this comes at a hefty price. We lose respect for ourselves, never reach our potential, and live a life of fear. You have to summon the courage to start living life on your own terms, regardless of how scary that may seem at first.
- Re-write your story. “I’m not good at math.” I’m not good with people.” We all carry around our own versions of these self limiting beliefs. Despite the fact that in most cases we can’t even trace them back to where they started. Almost all of these stories that we continually tell ourselves are complete lies. The only thing that makes them true is that we believe them and then act them out. Whatever your own brand of self-defeat is, when those old tapes start to play in your head, I challenge you to say NO your doubt, and replace it with a narrative of I CAN.
- Tell fear to FUCK OFF. Throughout our daily life, we all get presented with challenges. Not the get to work on time, or eat the salad instead of pizza kind of challenges, but tests of our courage. These are strict tests. You either pass or you fail. The teacher is an unforgiving hardass, as well. She is your deepest insecurities. Scared of social interaction? That’s your teacher. Afraid to mess up while others are watching so you avoid contributing? Then that’s your teacher. Whatever your personal fears are, that’s the arena that you must fight in. You’ll know when you are being tested. Each day when you know what you should do, and that voice in your head starts to come up with reasons why you shouldn’t, then the test has begun. I encourage you to start passing these tests. Despite your reservations, tell fear to go fuck itself. Today I grow!
- Resist domination. As you begin to grow and come into your own, others will sense a change in you and unconsciously try to bring you down. These people are often referred to as haters. They will try to discourage you. They will tell you all kinds of reasons why you can’t. They will tell others how foolish and arrogant you are. Have compassion for these people. Their bitterness has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with themselves. But what you cannot do is let their hateful mutterings dishearten you. Every attempt to limit you is an attempt to goad you back toward your cage. Shake, shimmy, or straight run over those who would hold you back, but stay on course!