I am depressed. I am angry. I am anxious. I am sad. I am happy. Regardless of which phrase you identify with, these are simply beliefs – stories you’ve made up about yourself. You’ve decided that’s “who you are.”
Your subconscious mind is constantly on the lookout for things that will reinforce your belief and discount or discard anything to the contrary. Your mind does this because it doesn’t know how to hold two opposing beliefs.
If you’re experiencing beliefs that you would rather not have, it’s time to change the stories you’re telling yourself. I realize that this is far easier said than done. But it is simple, if you allow it to be.
What’s the Payoff?
What makes it difficult to change your stories is that you’re getting a benefit, a payoff, for having these beliefs. You may wonder, “How on earth could there be a benefit to being depressed, frustrated, angry or sad all the time?”
What happens to you and others around you when you express your belief of choice? Do you get the frequent attention of a doctor or therapist? Do your friends or family spend extra time with you in an attempt to make you feel better? Then perhaps your subconscious is looking for a way to get some social interaction for you, although I would argue that this isn’t a productive way to do it since others probably feel guilty if they don’t do this for you.
What if you decided to seek out social interaction in different ways like joining a group, volunteering or going on an incredible trip with people you don’t currently know? At this point the voice in your head is screaming, “NO WAY! That’s entirely too scary! Those people won’t like me. I’ll feel like a fool. I won’t know what to say or do….” Blah Blah Blah. That’s simply your screeching little monkey mind doing whatever it can to scare you into staying right where you are – right where you don’t want to be.
Don’t listen to it. You’re much smarter and better than that silly ape.
It’s time to get some perspective on the situation.
Meet Your Emotions
Rather than being your emotions and incorrectly assuming that you are them and they are you, know that all of your emotions and feelings are passing, temporary things.
If you look up at the sky, there’s the vast, endless deep blue sky with clouds being blown by the wind. The blue in the background never changes. This is your True Self. The clouds come and go and whip themselves into all shapes and sizes. These are your feelings and emotions. While there are usually clouds in the sky, they come and go and are fleeting.
You are not your emotions just like the blue sky and the clouds are not one and the same.
With that knowledge, sit quietly by yourself and take ten deep, cleansing breaths with your eyes closed. Feel the fresh air entering your body and moving through every part of you. As you exhale, feel the air move all the negative thoughts, feelings and emotions out of you through your nose, the top of your head and the base of your spine.
Focus on the part of your body where you feel your negative emotion the strongest. Without judging it, fully examine the physical sensations that this emotions creates for you. Look at it with genuine curiosity as if this is the first time you’ve noticed it. Notice every little nuance of it.
Now imagine that this emotion is another being. If it helps, give it a name, face and persona.
Introduce yourself to this being. Have a conversation. Ask it why it’s there. Ask it why it chose you to inhabit. Every time the being answers one of your questions, ask another question that digs a little deeper.
Ultimately, this being is trying to protect you and keep you safe because it loves you. Unfortunately, it has chosen some very unproductive means to reach a happy end – an end that you’ll never reach if you continue to live your life by the rules of this being.
After getting to know this being, tell it that you appreciate all the help it has offered and you know that its intentions are good. Tell this being that you no longer need its services. You’ve decided that you’re strong enough to handle life without it.
You’ve got ideas for different ways of keeping yourself safe that you’re going to try because you realize that this being is severely limiting you and your ability to be happy.
The being will protest and use scare tactics to keep you from firing it but you know better.
Kindly thank it, give it a pink slip and escort it through the door. Close the door.
Take three deep, cleansing breaths.
Now it’s just you – your True Self.
Choose Your Emotions
Think about how you want to feel each day. Starting from the top of your head and working slowly down to the tips of your fingers and toes, feel how you want to feel.
Take some extra time around your heart and your gut. Now that you’ve cleansed yourself of the unwanted emotions, you have a void to fill. Fill it with the feelings and emotions that you want to have each day.
Be with those feelings. Welcome them in. Make friends with them. Just as with unwanted emotions, the wanted ones aren’t you either, but they’re much better friends to spend your time and soul with.
Carry these new emotions with you throughout your day.
Spend time each day going through this exercise. Depending on how deeply your thought and feeling habits have been etched, it may take time to create lasting change. Be persistent and patient. Know that everything happens perfectly, in its own time. There are no deadlines.
To reinforce your progress toward where you want to be, share your thoughts and experiences with others you trust. No one can fix you or your problems. Only you can do that. Others are simply there for support on your journey.
Being a person that others can trust and share with will also support you.
Why Do You Want It?
Know that if you truly want lasting change, you must identify why you want to change. What’s your big WHY?
Think about what your life will be like in two, ten and twenty years if you don’t change. What opportunities will you miss? What will your relationships be like – with others and yourself? What will your health be like? What will your average day be like?
Think about what your life will be like in two, ten and twenty years if you do change. How amazing will you feel each day? Who will you meet and what will your relationships feel like? How will you feel about yourself? What will your health be like? What will your average day be like?
It’s Easier Than You Think
Everything in your life is a choice, including how you feel each day.
If you wake up in a bad mood, make yourself smile a big, whole-face smile for at least 30 seconds. Do this even if you don’t feel like it (especially if you don’t feel like it). It’s physiologically impossible to feel bad when your body does things that feel good or are expressions of positive feelings.
Choose how you want to feel then choose to feel that way. Anything blocking you from doing this is not a part of you and does not have your best interest in mind. Allow your True Self to express its love for you.
Paige Burkes writes at Simple Mindfulness where she inspires her readers to see the world in a new light, experiencing life mindfully and inviting in more happiness and joy. Download her FREE Mindful Living Guide and learn how you can invite more joy, peace and happiness into your life. Check out her new Mindful Body Program, a comprehensive program that uses mindfulness principles to transform how you think about diet, exercise and health. It shows you how fun it is to be healthy.