This is the column where, each week, I’ll be answering one website visitor’s question in hopes of supporting all visitors through shared (and likely, relevant) challenges, triumphs, and struggles.
I’ve taken things way too personally all my adult life: in relationships, employment and every day life situations. I have this need to make it mean more than it does. I get angry, sad, yell, and make it a control issue. I have lost jobs, relationships and have been unhappy for the last 30 years because of this. Why does one do this and what can I do to finally let the small stuff go and enjoy life instead of trying to find a reason why the sky is blue? Is it too late in my life after living 30 years this way to change?
First things first: It’s NEVER too late to make a change. Now that we’ve established that, let’s continue. 🙂
Based on your question, it sounds as if you might go through life with your defenses up most of the time. So, what are you defending? Who are you protecting? If you were to imagine taking things at face value and not looking for a more significant meaning to them, what would that look like? More importantly, what would that feel like?
I once had a therapist inquire about my need to have a “Why Soldier” guarding me, meaning if I was faced with a situation that made me feel (fill in emotion here), my default was to call upon that soldier and ask “Why?” That question has stayed with me because it helped me to see that, to avoid feeling uncomfortable emotions, I would immediately intellectualize the situation to try and explain it away. While that sounds relatively harmless, by doing so, I was, in fact, denying my emotions and that part of me that needed to feel them.
I share this with you because I wonder if you, too, tend to race to your head to get away from your heart. Instead of asking “Why is the sky blue?” imagine lying on the grass, looking up, and enjoying its beauty. No agenda; no thinking; just peace in the moment. Or if someone turns down an invitation you extend, what if you allowed yourself to feel the disappointment without creating a bigger story out of it?
Consider doing some writing to answer these questions and uncover any blocking beliefs that are getting in your way. My hunch is that there are at least a few at play here. Go back and re-read your writing to identify your beliefs. Look for broad statements, such as “No one’s ever there for me,” “I’ll just be let down,” “I can’t seem to do anything right,” etc. Take some time to think about how these beliefs have played out in your life; how and when they were created (typically between ages birth-6 years old) and how they’ve been validated (through people and experiences over the years).
Next, rewrite these statements by coming up with a powerful, opposite belief. Statements like “I always have just what I need,” “I have what it takes to fulfill all my dreams,” etc. How can you start walking in these new beliefs? A great way to begin is by simply recognizing when the old beliefs are at play, and reminding yourself that they’re no longer true. Thank that part of your subconscious that created them (because it did so out of some need) and let it know you no longer require that protection.
Also, try this exercise: Each night, write one of your new, powerful, loving beliefs 10 times in a notebook before falling asleep — a great time to do it as you are about to enter into a state where your subconscious is more easily accessible. In addition to that, list three things you are grateful for from that particular day. Let’s start feeding your soul (and your subconscious) healthy, positive fuel, and build up your spirit shield to help you feel less exposed in your day-to-day life.
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