This is part 1.
What do you believe to be true about yourself? What are the things you just take as “a part of your nature” or just “who you are?” Let me clear here, I am talking about those things that hold you back in some way, or keep you from realizing your potential, not those things like, "I am a good project manager" or "I am good at eating well and taking care of my health."
Here are some of the things I used to believe were true about myself (that were holding me back):
1. I’ll always be fat. It runs in my family, I have slow metabolism.
2. I can’t wake up early; I’m not an early riser.
3. I live better in a clutter. I like clutter; it’s how my mind works.
4. I work best under pressure, that’s why I do things at the last minute.
5. I don’t need to study. I get good grades just by going to class and taking notes.
Any of these sound familiar to you?
Let me tell you that over the last three years as I have made a concerted effort at working on my emotional health, I have made great headway at challenging all of the assumptions above. Each one.
1. I lost 40 lbs and am working on the last bit that I want to lose. Turns out I can lose weight. I just have to stop eating as much and spending as much time on my arse. Amazing how that works. Unfortunately, I had to do a lot of emotional work to be able to love myself enough to really work on this (I’ll be addressing this in a future post “So, Why Are You So Fat, Anyway?). Learning that I actually don’t have to be fat my whole life spurred me on to challenge other mistaken ideas about myself. It was a true catalyst, and when I started losing weight for real, I realized that losing weight requires one to change a lot about their lives in order to make that weight loss last.
2. When I started losing weight, I realized that the best way for me to live well and make it to the gym was to wake up early. When I started waking up early, I was also more productive, and I had time to eat three meals a day. I felt the rest of my life really falling in line. I will admit to still having trouble waking up early, but I work at it. I’m doing a new thing to make that happen more regularly (it’s something I read about Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, more on this in a few days).
3. As I started waking up earlier, I realized I had more time and drive to make my life more streamlined. So I started decluttering. Turns out, I actually like to look around and not see stuff in weird places. No stacks of mail on the counter. No random items on the coffee table and dining table and kitchen table. I work on this, too. But let me tell you, my home today vs. 3 years ago is dramatically different. It’s awesome.I have less stuff, more things I actually use, and they all (more or less) have their own place where I can find them.
4. I work great under pressure. But I hate it. I feel stressed, I snap at people. It’s one of my triggers (see my post on Triggers ). As I have begun to lose weight (thus having more energy), wake up earlier (having more time in the day), and have decluttered (making my mind feel more calm because my space is tidy), I have begun to think more about how I can get the things I need to get done, DONE. And so now I break my tasks up in to little chunks, and I get things done in stages. Not only is my work better, I don’t feel perpetually stressed. I’m happier, my husband is happier, it’s better. And better is MUCH better.
5. The "I don’t need to study" one is rich. Really rich. And kinda dumb. Really dumb. It’s true, I do have a good ability to go to class, take notes, and do well on exams. But not as well as I could do…and in the ten minutes after the exam? Everything I thought I knew drains out of my head. It doesn’t mean good things when the next semester comes along and I have the advanced part of that class and I can’t remember what I learned in the intro course. I’ve started to study, look over my notes, plan for classes, and just generally geek myself out. There’s nothing cool about being dumb anymore. I am actually learning. Eureka.
I hate to say it cause I have heard it a million times and it annoys me every time, BUT…If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!!! It does take work though, and it is difficult. I firmly believe that the block that keeps people from becoming their best selves lies in being stuck in the past or future. And also that there’s probably some things that people need to work out in their heads that are keeping from self-actualizing. It’s really nice to figure that stuff out. Start now. Do it for yourself.
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll give you some concrete tips on how to challenge your assumptions about yourself.
Enjoy your weekend, be present, think about what you experiencing right now.