Constantly focusing on the next best thing creates unhappiness. We start to criticize ourselves and possessions. We compare ourselves to others. It creates discontent in our current life. If these thoughts start to get out of control, we start to lose sight of what can make us happy each and every day. Finding joy in what we do have creates contentment. It cultivates an attitude of gratitude. I read the following quote by Epictetus and thought it was a good analogy for how to look at life and reduce wanting.
I try to remind myself of this quote when I find I am being critical of my situation. That finding contentment eludes us when we are always looking for something else instead of focusing on what we currently have and being thankful. Your situation could always be “better” if you are always focusing on what you don’t have in life. I am not saying that if there is something that you want to not set goals and strive for it, but to be thankful for where you are in your journey. Take time to appreciate how far you’ve come. Enjoy the journey.
Have you ever experienced a vulnerability hangover? Where you open up to someone and after the fact completely regret what you did and feel like you want to hide? When I read about this is Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown, I was pretty excited that she had put words to my feelings. I have certainly felt this way since I enjoy having more one-on-one serious conversations opposed to everyday small talk. I am not afraid to share things about myself in the moment, but later in the day I end up worrying about what that person may think of me and if I made the right choice. These occasions have brought about many questions concerning vulnerability and honestly, if it is worth it.
Daring Greatly touches on important points:
it takes courage to be vulnerable
people have to earn the right for you to be vulnerable with them
vulnerability is not a weakness
the only way to truly dissipate shame is to place the light of vulnerability upon it since shame thrives in the darkness
Learning more about vulnerability has opened my eyes to the importance of vulnerability with loved ones and in other situations. It is nice to know that if I start to doubt myself about opening up, that I can call upon courage for help. That each time I call upon courage, it grows. I cherish the moments where I do let myself open up and I am received with kindness and non-judgement. The relationships where I can share my stories continue to grow deeper each time.
Overall, I picked up Daring Greatly on the fly and I am so glad I did! If you are interested in learning more about vulnerability, wholehearted living, and shame research or you are trying to work up the courage to share your story with a loved one, I highly recommend this book. If you have read it before, let me know your thoughts in the comments! I leave you with a parting quote to encourage you to continue to go into the arena and dare greatly.
This past weekend I broke out of my comfort zone and conquered a fear. I want to share my thoughts to encourage you if you are struggling with committing to a new experience.
I had recently signed up to take an inversions class alone and in the moment was very excited. I could not wait to learn more about forearm balances and handstands! However, as the date of the clinic crept closer, the more I experienced fear seeping into my thoughts. I knew I was happy to go further my practice and learn but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I would be judged in some way. I was fearful that other people in the class would judge me for not being good enough at the poses and that I would be a failure. The realization that my main fear was judgement was freeing.
These feelings root in perfectionism and the feeling of not being “enough”.
Identifying the area of fear allowed for vulnerability to shine through and encouragement to be accepted. I was able to come back to my initial reason for signing up for the clinic, which was to further my practice. I feel stronger for having this experience and breaking through fear.
What type of thoughts are holding you back from signing up for a class or experiencing something new?
The Collection will be a series of short posts that detail something that I enjoyed during the week. I find that it is important and beneficial to observe what is around you and the content you are feeding yourself. So welcome to The Collection series!
Throughout this past year, I have really started to enjoy listening to podcasts while I am driving or working in the lab. I like that they help the time pass and make a seemingly monotonous task much more enjoyable. The Tim Ferriss Show has become my ‘go-to’ when I want something to chew on all week.
One of his recent podcasts was The Master of Second Chances with Catherine Hoke, the founder of Defy Ventures. Defy radically changes the lives of men and women that are or have been incarcerated by helping create career paths and business ventures. Now. You may be skeptical about this (as was I) but my opinion was completely turned around after listening to all of the wonderful things Defy is doing to help these people.
Throughout the entire podcast, Cat talks about forgiving yourself for your mistakes and breaking down self-limiting beliefs. I was so touched by this because I think everyone holds onto something that is limiting them in some way. Whether it is something that happened five years ago or yesterday, it is important to forgive yourself and work to not become defined by your past. You are in control of your actions and emotions to determine how you greet each new day.
Since I spent the entire week listening to this here and there, I spent a lot of time thinking about the negative self-talk that plays in my head. How am I negatively impacting my growth? What am I actively convincing myself that is not true? For example, if I am having a very bad day at the gym, I automatically start convincing myself that:
I am unteachable.
The effort I am putting in is worthless.
I am not making any progress.
Reading those thoughts in a centered state of mind makes me very upset. I know none of those thoughts define me, but when the negative self-talk starts to creep in, it is sometimes hard to push it out. I have worked to notice when I am telling myself a negative story so I can get out of that mindset as quickly as possible. I recognize that everyone has bad days and I am not always going to be the best I can be. That learning comes from the struggle and some days are going to be harder than others. On these days, I work to remind myself that I am enough. No matter how the day turns out, I am enough and did meaningful work today, no matter how small.
So what are your self-limiting beliefs? How are you not forgiving yourself? Take some time to think about these and meditate on them. Start forgiving and building yourself back up again.
Take a moment to pause and collect myself. These emotions are normal, but need to be managed. Today is a new day. Greet each person with kindness and love, remembering that they are human too. Equally full of emotion and struggles.