There are so many reasons not to do things that we really want to do.
Have you ever caught yourself talking yourself out of a great idea?
“What if I saved an extra $15/month to take a class and learn a new hobby?”
“I wonder if I could clean my living room after work and invite some people over for a game tonight?”
“I wish I could tell my boss that I quit so I could finally pursue what I always wanted to do.”
“Maybe I could finish the book I started and figure out how to submit it to a publisher.”
From small, everyday “micro-challenges”–putting your bowl of cereal in the dishwasher, hanging a dress back up after deciding to wear something else, turning off your lights–to bigger, life-changing, bucket list challenges, the mechanism that keeps us from reaching our potential is the same–it’s letting fear and self-doubt drown out the voice of the brave, courageous person inside of us.
When we give ourselves the chance to attain our desires, we open up a world of possibilities. By just trusting ourselves to make our own rules, our own mistakes, and own our successes and disappointments, we separate our existence from the plane of banality. We reject mediocrity. We shine with the light of living as who we truly are.
Challenge yourself to give your undivided attention to something that you have been passively putting off…
a pile of laundry? a difficult memory? a friend?
Practice talking to yourself with positive words about accomplishing what you set out to do. Talk to yourself out loud as you do it–as you hang your clothes up and space them out neatly on your rack, tell yourself how grateful you are that your favorite outfits are so easy to find now. Then expand that positive self-talk into your public life–when people ask you what you hope to do, just be honest! “I’m working on writing a book.” “I’m starting a blog about local small businesses.” “I’m going to start volunteering at the museum downtown.” No more “I hope I will”s…no more “I should”s….no more “I might”s. Your positive, courageous talk willÂ help your goals and intentions manifest more readily because you are actively moving toward them instead of hoping they will magically occur. By talking positively about your goals and your potential, you are pursuing your dreams. You will get what you want if you be honest about the effort it will take. Then you can take it all on, just one micro-challenge at time.
If you get used to loving yourself and having confidence in your potential, you will also build strength for when the next challenge comes–because there is always another one coming, and there will always be another chance to react in a positive way.
Right now I’m coming out of a long depressive cycle. Usually they last around a day–a long, wasted day–and these periods come around every few months, but this depression lasted almost eight weeks. I try so hard not to let it affect my life–my friendships, my social calendar, my family, my business–but I know people can always tell when I feel bad. I know many of you can tell from reading my tweets or posts. Sometimes I still allow myself to feel embarrassed about struggling to control my emotions. That’s my TaureanÂ nature showing–I stubbornly insist on control and feel frustrated with myself when I have to face the intensity of my authentic feelings because I perceive them as weak.
What can make the difference between one day of depression and eight weeks of misery is the quality of self-talk I use. Mantras are something I have used since high school to ease the crash of hitting bottom:
“I am safe.” â¤ “I get to decide how I react to the world. The world is not me.” â¤ “My destiny is allowed to unfold.” â¤ “All of my time is mine to use.” â¤ “I don’t have to know the answers.” â¤ “I am the person I always wanted to be.” â¤ “I will emerge from all pain.”Â â¤ “My passion inspires ass-kicking!”
It is a gift to be able to experience the gamut of human emotions so deeply and profoundly, excess sorrow and excess joy. I think it helps me write, and it has helped me have compassion for the experiences of others. Another gift that hides in self-doubt is the awareness that comes from reflection on the feelings you are having. Accepting painful feelings is what finally opens a magic door to setting an intentional mood, using your mantras, and saying “this is how I am choosing to react.” I accepted the sadness, worry, anxiety, and insecurity of the past eight weeks and used those feelings to try something new. I changed my routine, made a few new friends to expose me to exciting and different experiences, and reflected each day on the impact my actions made on my outlook.
Challenges are a gift to give us the opportunity to check our trajectories in life, adjust accordingly, and move forward on aÂ clearer path more consistent with our intentions and desires. When we re-evaluate the quality of energy we are putting into the world, it’s a chance for our headlights to flip up, the streetlights to turn on overhead, and we can finally illuminate the path in front of us.
“The thing is to become a master and in your old age to acquire the courage to do what children did when they knew nothing.” -Henry miller
(What would you do if you didn’t know you couldn’t do it?)
Are you writing your own radvent responses in your journal or blog? Feel free to share the linkâ€“they are awesome sources of inspiration for everyone!