There is not a day that goes by where I don’t have thoughts rushing through my mind…and each one of them elbow each other and wave their arms about to get my attention, my energy. It’s a daily occurrence, even when I’m not actively thinking.
So what’s wrong with that I hear you ask?
…Well here’s the thing, my mind loves to be in control, it loves to instruct me, guide me and protect me – that’s its job. It’s driven mostly by my learnt behaviour, the influence of others and my environment.
But then, then there is the self-talk! It’s like having a close sibling, but a loud annoying one.
I seem to have a love/hate relationship with my inner voice. She can be very rational in her thinking so that when I’m about to cross a busy street, she’ll pipe up and say, “Look before you cross!”….Duh! I know that! What do you take me for?
…But mostly she is mumbling to me constantly, saying “I am…. not worthy, not good enough, what if they don’t approve of me? Am I acceptable? I don’t know enough, I feel like a fake, he doesn’t love me, my kids think I’m stupid”…yes, that’s correct I have these thoughts rushing through my mind on a daily basis.
Why? The answer is simple: I live in my mind and not in the present time.
What I do know is that these thoughts have limited me on many occasions. They have limited my potential as a wife, mother and professional. When I think back on my life I remember the days as a little girl around the age of 5 years old, how fearless I was, how trusting I was, how passionate I was, how excited I was, and mostly how tired I’d feel at the end of each day, not wanting to close my eyes in case I missed out on what was happening around me. I felt like I wanted to be awake 24/7 because life was so full of great experiences.
So what has changed since growing up?
I seemed to have developed the ability to live in the past and worry about the future, until a few weeks ago when I was asked to do some homework for a professional and personal development course I’m completing. The homework consisted of asking for honest feedback from my friends and family, of posing a question that would enable me to see myself through others’ eyes. It forced me to be vulnerable, to put myself out there for possible rejection, or scrutiny.
There I go again -living in my head- viewing the potential outcome as negative only….well I was physically moved to tears by the responses- more than 100 of them- and every single one had a positive response about how they view me and my strengths. Which brought me to realise how much I may overcomplicate or overanalyse things, particularly when it comes to my idea of myself.
Every person has a deep burning purpose in them so when your belief in yourself and in that purpose falters, try and see yourself and your strength through the eyes of someone who knows you – lift yourself up with this “borrowed” belief. Don’t let your own self-talk and self-criticism hold you back. Don’t let it convince you not to shine your light – you are unique – be your light and embrace yourself so you may be the light for others also.
How did I do this? By turning towards trust – trust in myself, trust in my ability, and trust in others. Through the ancient practise of meditation. With the movement of yoga and by surrounding myself with situations, people and places that serve me. Being grounded in nature is also vital, by placing my bare feet on the ground I can connect energetically with Mother Nature (much like skin to skin).
I remember as a child spinning around with my arms outstretched then collapsing on the earth and laughing till the tears ran. I felt so free and it was such simple excitement.
When was the last time you behaved like a child?
So here are my beautifully simple tips to living in the present:
- Laugh more. Learn to laugh at yourself.
- Don’t believe everything yourmind has to say, it can lead you astray! Remember, thoughts can be addictive too, don’t always give them the energy they demand. If it helps, sing your worries – it can lessen the ‘heat of them.
- Be in communication. Talk out loud or voice your thoughts to a friend. Remaining silent or silently talking to yourself will perpetuate self-criticism and fuel negativity.
- Lean into uncomfortable situations, as scary as they may seem. Embrace them; you’ll never know the outcome till you experience it…and what if it’s great?
- Don’t be shy in borrowing the positive perceptions of yourself from others; they can often be helpful when you’ve lost faith in yourself.
- BE GRATEFUL – IT ALLOWS YOU TO BE PRESENT.
…So will you be your valentine?
When you truly love yourself – complete with imperfections – no other Valentine’s gift could be as satisfying or sweet. This Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for you to gift yourself some love, regardless of whether you have a partner or not. Spend the time to shower yourself with positive feedback, to give your brain and body some much needed respite from self-doubt and self-perceived limitations.
Yours in Health,
Written by Caron Von Bardeleben, edited by Carmen Jose for Evolving Health Clinic