MINDSET SHIFT #1: Stop Figuring Out Why
I used to be obsessed with working out why things happened. I couldn’t leave anything not figured out, explained, analysed and neatly assigned to a mental compartment. I would obsess about finding the answer to why someone did, didn’t do, said, or didn’t say, something. What was their motive, agenda, frame of mind? With the precision of a scientist, I would trace back events, leaving no stone unturned, until I had gathered all the ‘facts’ I needed to come up with the perfect answer.
Psychoanalysis was a favourite preoccupation. I revelled in the exploration of human motivations and what drives human beings to act out certain behaviours. I even became extremely good at it, which endowed me with an almost genius-level gift for working out the deeper motivations of my clients.
Whilst it was and still is an asset in my work, I have stopped the habit of figuring out why in my own life. Today, I see it as a waste of time and energy asking all these questions that used to plague my mind. As my consciousness expanded over the years, I realised how limited my perspective had been, how limited I was able to see then.
I can now see that even if I had figured something out, it is only one level of truth. It is impossible to pin down one absolute piece of truth. My understanding of life today enables me to see that everything is fluid and changing all the time, including even things that are considered to be ‘facts’.
There is no one version of reality. In any area of your life, the cast of characters in it can change tomorrow, and those that remain can suddenly act “out of character”. What you know to be ‘facts’ today can easily prove to be transient elements tomorrow.
Even if you think you’ve figured out why someone did something last week, that person could be a totally different person today. That piece of truth you’ve uncovered about the person is only a piece of truth in that version of reality. Often, it is only our attachment to being right in what we’ve uncovered that makes us hold on to the old version of truth. But when we do this, we’re simply perpetuating the old, and likely unwanted, version of reality. In other words, we’d only be preventing what we complain about from changing into something more positive.
Today, I can see that the preoccupation to figure out why is the root of much of human suffering. At the end of all that analysing and working out the motives behind another person’s behaviours, what you’re driven to figure out is, What does this mean about me? You then draw your conclusions based on your findings that you are not good enough or flawed in some way. You’re thus trapped in an endless cycle of self-beating, followed by more thoughts about other people’s behaviours as substantiation for your beliefs about yourself, which further feeds the self-beating.
When you drop the activity of figuring out why, a lot of your angst will fade away. Most people, however, are unable to drop it because they mistakenly believe that this kind of activity makes them safer. Whilst it may give you an immediate (albeit fleeting) sense of being more secure, you end up being stuck in pain and suffering.
Note: This does not mean that you should tolerate being treated badly by another. You could acknowledge how abusive a person is being to you, and you would most certainly be wise to draw your boundaries with that person. Just because there are different versions of reality doesn’t mean you are encouraged to stay open to an abusive character changing into a non-abusive character. For me, abuse is abuse; one of the signs of having a healthy relationship with ourselves is the ability to take firm actions in protecting ourselves from abusive individuals.
MINDSET SHIFT #2: Look At Disasters as An Opportunity to Reclaim Your Power
Usually, when things seem to be falling apart, we torture ourselves with thoughts about how these events must prove to us that our belief about ourselves is right. We tend to beat ourselves up with thoughts like:
“This is why all this is happening to me, I knew I wasn’t smart enough to succeed in business, my father was right all along, I was just fooling myself that I had what it takes…”
So we tend to form negative conclusions about ourselves based on what is happening around us.
But it is the other way around. Things have unfolded this way because that’s how you’re thinking and feeling about yourself. Your circumstances only reflect what you were already thinking and feeling.
More than that, it is showing you where your Power is. So that you can reclaim it. When you do, your circumstances will naturally change. As above, so below. Here’s how to respond in a new way that will let you take your power back and change your circumstances for the better:
When things seem to fall apart, really know that they are merely pointing you to a part of you that is out of alignment with your true self. You see, your true self would never, ever think of him-or-herself as not good enough or flawed in any way. In order to fully align with your true self, there is no space for these disempowering beliefs. Therefore, that disaster is a gift disguised as failure or a negative outcome – to alert you to where you are misaligned, so that you can make the necessary tweaks and come back into alignment.
Whatever state this supposed disaster is triggering for you, know that this state already existed in you. The self-correcting, higher aspect of you is flagging up this inner state which you were previously unaware of so that you can correct your course and align with more of who you truly are.
When you respond to disasters in this new way, not only will it make you feel better about them, it will put an end to these disasters.
MINDSET SHIFT #3: Banish Embarrassment and Other Emotions that Hold You Back
Feelings like embarrassment can be destructive if left unckecked. It is easy for us to get caught up in these feelings without knowing how to untangle ourselves from them. This is because we tend to be hugely rejecting of these feelings, and the more we try to not deal with something the more power we give it.
If you zoom in to the feeling of embarrassment, you will see that it comes from you thinking a certain thought repeatedly. The first step to reclaiming your power from embarrassment is by slowing down your thoughts. There will be a part of you that wants your thoughts to go quickly since you don’t want to see what they are saying. But by trying to cover-up the truth of what you’re thinking, you would only keep yourself stuck in the cycle of embarrassment and its destructive effects.
Allow yourself to take a few deep breaths and slow your thoughts down. Remember, your thoughts are not you, and you are not your thoughts. It is only by trying to speed up your thoughts to blur them up that you lack the presence to take your power back from your thoughts. But once you slow down and without automatically buying into what they’re saying, you begin to tip the balance of power back to you.
Once your thoughts have slowed down, identify and isolate the thought that is causing your embarrassment to spiral out of control. It would be a thought that you’d rather not be thinking, an idea about you that you’d rather not be true, but you can’t help thinking it! As you’re resisting the truth of this thought, you are investing more energy into it – which makes you resist it even more – and the battle you’re fighting grows into an intense war within yourself.
This war is happening whether you want to face the truth or not. The sooner you acknowledge what it is you’re thinking that causes this great discomfort, the faster you can free yourself and return to a state of peace.
Acknowledge this thought clearly to yourself. Write it down if it’s still vague. Tell yourself it is just an idea; just because this thought is there doesn’t necessarily mean it is true! Separate your conviction from the thought, the glue that readily sticks to your thoughts. You don’t have to counter the thought in any way, just keep pulling yourself away from the stickiness around it. The stickiness is usually created when your mind keeps coming up with more and more supposed evidences that the idea is true. The more you stay relaxed, the more you’ll be able to create space between you and the thought.
That space you create is magic. Place more of you in this space; fill it up with your essence. Feel how you are now able to step up to the situation in your mind proudly and in your power, whereas previously you wanted to retreat from it. Feel clean, whole and solid. Where is that feeling of embarrassment now?