Is it Better to be Popular or Happy??
Ok, so I’ve been talking a lot about power in the last few posts. And last week I looked at how we can claim our power in situations where we are being hurt and are struggling. But what if we’re not necessarily in a really awful situation? Do we still hold ourselves back? Yes…yes we do. Because we all have stories we tell ourselves. Stories that come from early experiences, stories that we believe about ourselves, that can be really subtle and hard to notice, but stories that limit us nonetheless.
Sometimes it’s as simple as thinking we just ARE a certain way. Like - I’m the shy one, or I’m the fun one. These are character traits that may have truth to them, but we believe them so much that we allow them to define us in every moment.
So if we’re “shy” and we feel like being loud and crazy for a moment - we stop ourselves. Or if we’re “fun” and we’re feeling really low and quiet, we stamp that out.
These stories are part of how we prevent ourselves from stepping into our true power and becoming the fullest version of who we can really be. They can also prevent us from seeing what’s happening around us. For instance if we have a group of friends that we have decided are our best friends, or our only friends, and we tell ourselves that they are a “good” thing in our life…We may not notice when they start to undermine us, or reject us in little ways. Because we have already made up a story about having these friends and how important they are to us, we ignore the feelings of uneasiness or sadness we keep feeling when we are around them.
It takes an incredible amount of courage and inner strength to stop and pay attention to our stories. To take a close and careful look at our lives - who we are, what we are doing, who we are surrounding ourselves with. And ask ourselves the question: Is this really ME? Is this who I want to be? Is this the life I want to have?
Whatever situation we find ourselves in, it always seems like the WHOLE WORLD when we’re in it. And therefore we don’t want to question it, because it’s so scary to think of change. But it’s important to know that our minds are always making stuff up. Always. There’s a constant storyline running in our heads that’s trying to make sense of the world, that’s usually focussed on our survival and that wants to categorise everything and everyone into things that “make sense”.
Our minds are always trying to put us into a box, and in order to truly know our power, we need to be constantly stepping outside of that box. Always seeing the limitations we put on ourselves, and the tinted glasses that are colouring our view of the world.
Once we really accept this and see this function of our mind for what it is, we can start to make decisions that come from a place deeper than survival. A perspective that is greater than fear. We can see that nothing really NEEDS to be the way it currently is. Nothing is fixed. Nothing is static. We are always capable of changing our story. Changing the role we are playing. Changing our whole experience. All we need to do is be open to seeing things a different way.
Clearly, this is harder than it sounds. Like, sure - I’ll just realise that I don’t need to be friends with my best friend who sometimes makes me feel like crap. Easy! I’ll just ignore her and start hanging out with someone else! Right…
So how can we really do this? How can we notice where our story is limiting us and make changes to free ourselves? Well the first thing we need is a support team.
We need at least one person in our life who we know has our best interests at heart who can help us see our story.
This may be super uncomfortable at first (e.g. when my friend told me I was being too flirty with someone else’s boyfriend…eek!) But this information is VITAL if we want to expand beyond our own limited views of ourselves. If I hadn’t gotten that feedback, I wouldn’t have realised that I was playing out a story where I thought I was only likeable if I was fun and flirty. And by releasing myself from that, I found SO many more parts of myself that I continue to draw incredible strength, joy, and wisdom from.
Once we have that person or those people we can trust to help us see a bigger perspective, all we need to do is keep asking the right questions:
What’s really going on here? What am I believing about myself or this situation that may be holding me back? Do I have a fixed view on this? Can I be open to seeing it a different way?
And once we practice this, we can begin to find these answers within ourselves too. We can actually start to notice these things for ourselves!
And THAT is freedom. When we are caught in a story about how we could never live without that person, or we don’t look quite right, or we could never be brave enough to do what we really want to…and we catch ourselves and ask: Does this REALLY have to be true for me??
That is when we can truly create any life we want. Any life at all.
To hear an inspiring story from a good friend of mine about how she got up the strength to leave her high school clique, check out my youtube video here.