Three simple but not easy questions can help you with this.
- Are you prepared to take the good and the bad?
- Are you willing to change the stories you have about yourself?
- Are you ready to risk failure and looking like a fool in order to find out who you are now?
Let me explain…
TAKING THE GOOD WITH THE BAD
One of the biggest things that holds us back is when we have mixed feelings towards others. It comes down to the fact that we don’t want to be mad at the people we care about or love. The same is true of people who we wished we had a different relationship with (so we love them anyway, but with a lot of anger and angst mixed with it). We also struggle to accept the dark emotions when we learned they are somehow bad, not allowed or dangerous.
The truth is that strong emotions of any kind, positive or “negative”, are like a strong wind directing us to adjust our sails. It is just information, FEEDBACK, telling us what we need to lean into in order to move forward. For more information about mixed feelings and processing emotions, go to the All About Feelings video, the More About Feelings video and the Dealing with Feelings video for 5 min, animated summaries. As Brene Brown talks about in her work, we cannot selectively numb the dark emotions… in order to feel love, joy and belonging, we have to be willing to also feel hurt, anger and shame.
CHANGING THE STORY
Have you ever heard about someone before you met them, and when you met them that changed how you interacted with them? I remember doing this with one of my best friends’ boyfriends years ago. He had hurt her in conversation before I met him, so I had been her shoulder to cry on. As a result, I already thought he was a jerk by the time we met and was fairly dismissive of him from the start. When I got to know him though, he was lovely. I had completely misjudged him.
Our stories about ourselves similarly change our experience of the moment.
Imagine if your story has been that you will be rejected and relationships are dangerous, something to be managed because you need to people please and compromise your own needs. You will, understandably, interact very differently with even the most wonderful and emotionally available people than if your story was that you will be accepted and liked, and relationships are mutually beneficial.
Our old stories are what got us where we are. If we are not happy or satisfied where we are, we are going to need to let go of our stories about who we are in order to move forward. Our stories become a self fulfilling prophecy. For example, if I think I am deserving of healthy relationships, I am drawn to people who can do that, and I leave ones who don’t. Similarly, if I learned I am not deserving of healthy relationships, I am drawn to those and stay for a long time even when I am being mistreated.
We need to burn the pages of the stories other people have written about our lives if we are going to make room for our own.
BE WILLING TO RISK FAILURE
Are you prepared to feel uncomfortable, be mocked or talked about if it is in the service of discovering who you really are? Are you willing to invest in yourself and really try, even if you might fail and suck at something? Because that is what is necessary to figure out who we are! We can not reinvent ourselves if we are not willing to try new things.
The people who are willing to SHOW UP in the service of their values, their health, their happiness, are the ones who consistently report the highest degrees of life satisfaction even when things don’t turn out. We need to shift our relationship with risk and failure to allow it to be opportunity, so we can become the EXPERTS on our own lives!
So are you ready to be well? 1- 2-3….Start!