It’s happened, the future is here: We’re officially one week into 2015. Don’t worry, I won’t dare mention the dreaded R word.
Instead I want to focus on the lesser hyped belief systems that give rise to our behavior.
Whether you realize it or not, your views about yourself and the world are shaping every minute of your life.
Why not choose beliefs that propel you forward and create joy instead of ones that keep you sad and stuck?
Taking an honest look at your beliefs may not be as sexy as a resolution list but it will create more joy and lasting change.
In case you need helping carving out a few new ones, steal a few of my favorite:
1. I have everything I need—I am always being provided for.
If you’ve ever struggled financially, or any way really, you know how important this one can be. It’s so easy to give in to the fear and begin to define yourself by what you don’t have:
I don’t have enough money.
There’s not enough time.
No one understands.
The worse we begin to feel, the more negative language we create to support our feelings and soon enough, we’re manifesting the very dreaded reality we were trying to avoid!
If so, make this the year you kick that icky sense that something’s missing to the curb. Pack up the aching insecurity and fear of impending doom and remind yourself of all the ways you’re being provided for right now.
Bathe yourself in gratitude for all the precious blessings you’ve received and it’s hard to stay in fear for too long. But if you really want to cement your own security, help someone in greater need than yourself.
2. I am worthy of giving and receiving real love.
This is a belief many of us might take for granted. Of course I’m worthy of love, we might say, I have love in my life in the form of my spouse, kids, siblings, (fill in the blank). Why then do we struggle the most with those we love the most?
It’s not simply because we know one another’s buttons so well. It’s because the people who touch our hearts are also capable of tearing them apart. It’s threatening to love them completely (and vice versa) because we might lose them. Brene Brown talks of this peculiar sort of ache in her best-selling book, Daring Greatly, and again with Oprah:
If you’re lacking love in your life or constantly experiencing heartache in your intimate relationships, look at your level of vulnerability.
Are you allowing yourself to be seen? Are you giving a voice to your innermost fears and desires? Or are you shielding yourself, attempting to keep yourself safe by keeping others at a distance?
No matter your past, know you are worthy of love and the joy that stems from it.
3. I welcome change because I know it exists for my evolution.
When I first heard the idea that all change is good change, it changed my life. In his groundbreaking book Conversations with God, Neal Donald Walsch writes:
All change is change for the better. There is no such thing as change for the worse. Change is the process of life itself and that process could be called by the name ‘evolution.’ And evolution moves in only one direction: forward, and toward improvement. Therefore, when change visits your life, you can be sure things are turning for the better. It may not look that way in the very moment change arrives, but if you will wait awhile and have faith in the process, you will see that this is true.
I’ve recently begun to feel the weight of these words. I’ve gone through a difficult year or so—times of loss and utter desperation—and all the while felt that steady assurance that everything was going to be okay. Ultimately.
If you still have doubt, consider some of the following:
The firing that forces you to give your business a shot.
The failed relationship that leads to a successful marriage with someone else.
The death that inspires a revolution. Or change in law. Or change in heart.
Change is going to happen, like it or not. Might as well learn to love it.
4. It’s okay to be me. (And for you to be you).
The big takeaway here is that it’s okay to embrace your life—and yourself—as is, no adjustment needed. Instead of telling ourselves we’re 5 pounds or 2 pay grades or 10 clients away from where we need to be—what if we’re good enough right now?
Learning to love and accept myself on a fundamental level, flaws withstanding, has been the biggest accomplishment of my life. It’s an ongoing process, but at some point I decided: I’m not the horrible person I’ve built myself up to be. Maybe it’s an alcoholic thing, but I think it’s bigger than that. I think it’s about shame and a profound unworthiness stemming from childhood. This is where the alcoholism (and all other isms) originate.
The good news? Recovery is possible and we must all learn to grieve the losses of our youth. It’s only then that we can step into our authentic selves and find lasting joy.
I know it sounds difficult. But it’s mostly a matter of time.
Meditation is magical.
The best thing about developing a loving relationship with yourself? You will naturally have more peace in all your other relationships.
Acceptance may just be the answer to all your problems, after all.
5. I live in service of something greater than myself.
This one is deliberately broad because it’s so different for everyone.
The rabbi that devotes his life to his faith.
The teacher who stays late and arrives early.
The stay-at-home mom that runs for city council. Or simply runs her household.
We gain individual power by contributing to the collective good. Serve interests outside your own and your life will be greatly enhanced in the process.
Paradoxical but true, like all the big stuff: Find a way to give back and the greatest joy will be yours.