Stop holding yourself back and get on with your life!

Do you notice that life seems to keep throwing similar challenges at you, over and over again? For instance, you may date a succession of partners who end up being very needy or selfish or lazy. You may keep getting jobs that turn out not to be fulfilling or fun. You may find that your friends use you too often.

I’d like to talk about two things here; first is that no one ever said that every day had to go your way and, in any case, you always, always have the capability to be okay whatever is going on outside of you. I will come back to this shortly. The second may be best explained with a story

A man was walking along a road, looking for somewhere to move to. He was laden down by his possessions and feeling tired; he hoped to find a nice town soon. He could see a group of buildings in the distance and aimed to try there. An old man was walking toward him, so, when he drew close enough, he asked him

“Can you tell me what yonder village is like?” The wise old man considered for a moment whilst he observed the traveller, before asking

“What was the last village you lived in like?” The younger man scowled at the question and exclaimed

“It was awful! It was very boring and full of unpleasant people who lied and moaned.”

“I see.” said the old man sadly “Then I’m afraid you’ll find this village much the same.”

Reality, as we think of it, doesn’t exist; we form our own way of seeing things with our unique set of thoughts, memories and perceptions. This is why we each have different feelings about and experiences of everything in our lives. Although we accept that people have differing views, we like to believe that our friends and loved ones see things in the way we do, so we project our feelings onto them. In fact, friends or not, we each have our own map of the world and rate everything against a set of rules or thoughts. We made up these rules a very long time ago when we either decided on them ourselves or absorbed those of our parents or other strong influences. Some examples are :

Our beliefs surrounding politics or religion

How much money we have

Our feelings about sex and nudity

The way we feel hurt when our partner is late home

What constitutes a good marriage

The relationship we have with food

Our opinion of what a good career looks like

Our pain threshold

How women over ‘a certain age’ ‘should’ act

.and literally everything else

I know that you will probably feel that, some or maybe all these things, don’t seem to be made up of your own thought or anything you have control over; they simply look to you like ‘just the way things are’ or ‘fact’. You may think some are cultural norms. Cultural norms are just thoughts that people have got used to and no longer see as thoughts; they are all made up by us. All of these norms, rules, facts and beliefs are made up of thoughts, ridiculous and awful as that might sound to you. This is actually really awesome news; if we were responsible for making up these rules, we can just as easily, change or remove them. We have power over all of our thoughts; isn’t that wonderful? Overthinking. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Explains this in more detail and you also might like to read Nothing and no one can ever hurt us.

Once we understand that our reality is only ever coming to us through our thoughts, we see that although we haven’t done it knowingly, we have been thwarting our getting comfortably and peacefully with our lives. This knowledge allows us to simply relax and not give our thoughts any credence they don’t deserve. In my blog, New day, new you; isn’t it time you had a good day everyday? we learned that we don’t need to believe any of the stories we tell ourselves but some thoughts, trying to innocently but inappropriately protect us, cleverly disguise themselves as rules, norms, facts, etc. and sneak in under the radar. When you have learned to recognise them, you’ll find it’s a lot of fun, overcoming more and more of the thoughts that have kept you locked into a cycle of unfulfilment and misery.

Who said we had to have our own way every single day?

We don’t realise it or mean to but each of us humans is inclined to believe that the world resolves around us and that we have a right to be happy all the time. If things aren’t going exactly as we want, we have a tendency to throw our toys out of the pram and, at best, take it out on those around us and at worst, quit our job, relationship or what ever dared not bolster up the chip we carry on our shoulders. When we were very young, our parents told us that we were the most important thing ever, and, deep down, we still remember that. It’s interesting what sticks in our minds because we also often attach, subconsciously, to being told for the first time, that we weren’t good enough at something, weren’t quite up to the mark. No wonder we get a bit confused! But once we understand how our minds work and that we don’t have to listen to any of our stories, new or old, we can avoid the discomfort of overthinking. We will also see that whilst we have unlimited power over our own thoughts, we have no control whatsoever, over anything on the outside of us. You might like to read Enjoy the relationships you’ve always dreamed of; the perfect ones which explains this in more detail.

So, when our day isn’t going according to plan, rather than throw in the towel, we will see that, within us, there is a quiet place where we are unimpeded by our stories; free from our insecurities and fears. In this place of grounding, you will know that you can always, always be okay. This doesn’t mean that you will be over the moon every day (and that was actually never part of the ‘life deal’ anyway), but that whether things on the outside of you are behaving the way you would choose or not, they cannot affect you, unless you let them.

When we understand where our stories come from, and that they need have no hold over us, we can easily break away from the chains that have tethered us to our cyclic pattern of trying and failing to overcome the challenges life throws at us. You will be thrilled to find, that when similar situations come up in the future, they will no longer feel like challenges; they will slide over you like water off a duck’s back; you will be free.

Have a great week and let me know how you get on.

Next week I’ll be talking about why it’s okay if only you gets this understanding and others in your life have no interest in it.

Catherine x

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