We often tell ourselves stories about our lives, our goals and our dreams. We put so much urgency into these stories that often they morph into rigid rules. This habit can hold us back from embracing change and growth.
To make matters worse, these stories are often secret; they're seldom doubted, questioned, or overhauled. They keep us stuck and unhappy because they prevent us from being vulnerable and therefore authentic. Once I realized the stories I told myself and said them out loud, I began to unravel them, and was able to replace restriction and rigidity with freedom and fluidity.
Here are the 15 things that I used to believe that kept me stuck and unhappy.
1. Work comes before pleasure.
The way it actually works is the reverse: I need pleasure (lots of it!) so I can be as productive, innovative, and resourceful as I can be.
2. Salad will make me skinny (and that will make me happy).
There was a time in my life when I told myself that unless I ate salad for at least one meal a day, I would gain lots of weight and be forever unhappy. I was wrong about both.
3. I need to know everything before I can call myself knowledgeable.
The fact is that with the internet at our fingertips, there's endless amount of information. To be knowledgeable about a subject means being in constant communication with it.
4. Asking questions will make me look stupid.
In fact, asking thoughtful questions will make me stand out as someone who cares and is curious.
5. Asking others for help will annoy them and make me look weak.
In reality, most people like helping others, and asking for help only means I'm comfortable with who I am.
6. Unless I work out every day, my body will start to look frumpy.
My body looks and feels its best when I'm in touch with what it needs: activity and rest.
7. If everyone likes me, I'm doing it right.
So FALSE! When everyone likes me, it just means I'm vanilla. It’s so much more authentic, fun, and exciting to be Cherry Garcia or Rum Raisin, so I need some strong opinions and a real personality.
8. If I'm vulnerable, people will use me.
People started respecting me and seeking my company and opinion more when I wasn’t preoccupied with fluffing my feathers into their eyes.
9. I have to get men to like me if I ever want to find that special someone.
In fact, I only have to get one (very special) man to love the authentic me, so I better start by being authentic in the first place.
10. I can determine how others see me.
I can only determine how I see myself.
11. The way to success is hard work.
The way to success is passionate work that isn't stopped by failure, doubt or fear.
12. Saying "yes" shows people how capable I am.
Saying "yes" when I really want to shows people that I value my time and efforts (and so will they).
13. When I have a down/slow/sad day, something is wrong with me.
Having a down day is totally normal and a simple reminder to take it a bit slower. Not every day has to be top gear in order for me to do great things.
14. Going to yoga in the middle of the day is a luxury I don’t deserve yet.
Going to yoga in the middle of the day is a luxury I'm giving to myself for no other reason than that it makes me feel good.
15. Celebrating my own successes out loud is snobby and arrogant.
Celebrating my own successes with those I care for creates the space for them to do the same. Together, we can lift up each other and experience the beauty and fullness that already exists in our lives.
What are some beliefs you've been following for too long that are keeping you stuck and unhappy?