Like many at this time of year, I am in the process of developing some new habits and discarding some older, less than serving, habits. One of the major things I am working on is cleaning up my speech. Specifically, I am focused on getting clear about the things that I say to myself and others in order to place myself in a better position to receive all the wonderful gifts the universe has to offer by simply placing myself in harmony with what is.
(The converse of course, is to continue to remain a fish swimming upstream.)
The interesting thing I have noticed about this goal in particular – i.e. being very clear with what I say and how I say it – is that there are times where this goal is easier than others. In such moments, I am able to harness the power of my mantras and be kinder, more compassionate, and forgiving of myself and others. In other moments, I find that I fall flat. In such moments, it seems that my positive affirmations are not strong enough to get me through the rough spots. When this happens, I find that I fall back into old patterns where I either push everyone away or I am sucked into this black-hole where nothing can reach me.
The somewhat ironic and unfortunate effect of this pattern is that it denies me the one thing I need above all else. That is, when I pulled into my ineffective patterns, I am often feeling scared, ashamed, hurt, or angry. In those moments, what I need is genuine intimacy and connection. I need someone to get down in the muck with me and say, in the words of Brene Brown, “I see you. This is hard and I am here if you need me or want to talk about it.” And yet, to enable someone to do that, to show up for me, requires I am courageous enough to be vulnerable and honest with my speech to fully convey what is going on with me. This is especially true when I feel I have harmed another or another has harmed me.
To help in such moments, I have adopted a phrase Brene Brown mentions in her book – “Dare to Lead.” The phrase in question is the title of this post – i.e. “the story that I am telling myself is…..” Using this phrase as a prompt seems to get me out of my head and into my heart. It helps me identify the narratives that are creating a sense of isolation and separation and in its place create the connection that I am seeking.
With that being said, the questions I have for you, the ones I am working to answer for myself this week, are: what are you hoping to change about how you are in the world? What thoughts, behaviors, or beliefs would you like to eliminate so that you can move forward in your life? Are you willing to first identify, and then abandon, the stories that you are telling yourself that are creating separation? Are you willing to get out of your head and reconnect with your heart?
To some of you, these questions may apply to your physical body. To others they may be more applicable to your job, your hobbies, or even your relationships. Wherever you seek change, can you enable yourself to risk asking these questions and perhaps giving up old narratives in order to show up as you’d ideally like to show up in this moment and every subsequent moment?
As you work with yourself, please remind yourself that although this sounds simple, it is in no means simple. This is a process, that I, like you, might take a few attempts before I am able to effectively rewrite/re-pattern some of my older narratives.