Who You Are

I am not smart. I am not worthy. I am not capable. I am not deserving. I don’t work hard enough. I’m not from the right school or family. I am not.

I could go on and on about who or what I am not. In fact, I can bring up feelings of who I am not that I can’t even put words to. More often than not, I tell myself I am not something. Why? That is the negative, fixed mindset that I have overcome and continue to battle.

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Unique and Great

Our society does not embrace anything about anybody being unique. The goal we are taught from a very young age is to be like these people we are told should be our idols. We are taught to be like other people. Uniqueness is not celebrated.

Greatness is more often than not only considered being achievable when you’ve accomplished what society says success is. There are only a few people who are typically recorded as having achieved greatness in their life.

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Your Thoughts Will Run or Ruin Your Life

Once you can see your thought you can start to change them.

 

I have lived within my thoughts all of my life. My thoughts ran and at some points, ruined my life. We have been programmed without even knowing it and that programming turns into our thoughts, both unconscious and conscious. These thoughts are what contributes to how we act, our anxiety, our depression, and what we pursue.

Kara Loewentheil teaches about thought work and how to differentiate your conscious from unconscious thoughts while being able to release their hold on us. From her, I have learned how to take a step back and really review the thoughts that are hurting me.

Kara recommends taking time each day to simply write, with or without intention. When you write out the thoughts that are stuck in your head, you get to see them on paper where you can review and analyze them. When the thoughts are stuck in your head, analysis isn’t as easy. The process of getting our thoughts onto paper and analyzing them gives us a degree of separation. When we are observing our thoughts purely in our mind, there is no separation.  When we put them onto paper, we are able to separate our thoughts from ourselves.

Kara said, ” Your brain doesn’t know how to stop thinking something. You have to give it something else to think instead.”

By putting our thoughts on paper and then analyzing them, we are able to give our brain a different perspective to think about. We are able to use the analytical part of our brain on the thought rather than just the emotional part. The ability to analyze our thoughts isn’t something that comes easily. This is a practice we must adopt.

After I listened to a training and a few podcasts from Kara, I implemented a half-ass version of her recommendations. Even with doing my half-assed version, I have been able to process my thoughts better and analyze why I’m so pissed off or hurt about situations. I have been able to identify that some situations that I’m ruminating over are really not about me at all. I was able to realize that the lay-off I went through had nothing to do with me. Nothing. It wasn’t a reflection on my efforts in my role at all. I’ve been able to look back and see thoughts that were negative and harming me and where they were coming from.

To be honest, I haven’t done my thought work daily and that’s okay. I do sit down to work on my thoughts any time I have an overwhelming or negative thought. I make sure that if I am hurt or pissed off about something, I do at least my half-assed version. Why? Because if I don’t, those thoughts will run my day or my life and may even ruin a good thing.

I’m not perfect in my thought work and I still have a lot of work to do. What I can tell you is that this practice is worth it and just might change your life or release some of that anxiety you are feeling.

Here are a couple of Kara’s recommended steps and questions to use.

Steps:
1. Set a daily time on your calendar for 5 minutes (Yup, all she recommends to start with is 5 minutes!!)
2. Just write until the 5-minute timer goes off.

Questions to use:
1. When did the thought occur?
2. What was happening?
3. What is the exact thought I’m having right now about this?

Kara recommends getting concrete and specific. I recommend adding another question to ask: Is this thought coming from a place of fear? If so, what is the underlying fear?

When doing thought work, you will start to get really familiar with what your negative thoughts are and where they are coming from. This will give you specific areas that you can work on through your personal growth journey. By doing this thought work, you will be able to realize what thoughts are holding you back from releasing the anxiety you are experiencing.

One last question to ask yourself, “What would it feel like to show up and feel absolutely confident about yourself?”

**You can find out more about Kara Loewenthiel’s teachings on thought work at her website or on her podcast.  I listen to her podcast through Google Podcasts.

What is the best thing that can happen?

Our immediate reaction to something new is usually “what’s the worst that can happen?” It is ingrained in our culture and everything about our lives to ask what is the worst thing that can happen. It is the glass half empty outlook.

I’m going on a hike by myself, what’s the worst that can happen? Get mauled by a bear, kidnapped, etc.

I’m switching my career, what’s the worst that can happen? Fail at the job, hate it, etc.

I’m starting my own business, what’s the worst that can happen? Crash and burn, lose everything.

Instead of asking, what is the worst that can happen, let’s flip the switch and start asking “what is the best thing that can happen?”

I’m going on a hike by myself, what’s the best that can happen? Time in nature to clear my mind and get amazing pictures. Feeling rejuvenated.

I’m switching my career, what’s the best that can happen? I prosper and find a new passion.

I’m starting my own business, what’s the best that can happen? The business keeps growing and becomes the best thing I’ve ever done.

When we flip the switch and start asking what is the best thing that can happen, we start seeing the good. We allow ourselves to be hopeful and dream. The glass is half full. Maybe it is even a full glass.

When we switch what we are asking ourselves, we change where our focus lies. We go into whatever we are going to do with a positive outlook. We see the possibilities in life.

My husband, bless his heart, lives by the saying “hope for the best, expect the worst.” This is living by only looking at the worst that can happen. It is a very negative mindset. And to me, it is flat out depressing.

If I’m always expecting the worst, I’m going to get the worst. I truly believe that what you focus on is what you receive. If you focus on the worst, you are going to receive the worst.

I am changing my thought process one day at a time. I have historically imagined situations and gone down the “expect the worst” rabbit hole. It creates turmoil within myself with situations and people. It sets me up as though I know a person is going to treat me like shit and the event is going to be hell.

Every single morning as I am getting ready, before I turn on my audiobook, my mind automatically starts building these situations and negative events. It is a habit I’ve had since I was a child that starts without me even realizing it.

The trick is to catch it before the imagined situation gets too out of hand, too stressful, too negative, or too depressing. Most of the time I imagine others mistreating me. Why? I don’t know. I have no fucking idea and I wish I did.

Just this morning I stopped one. I caught it quickly and just said no. I said no over and over again until the thought disappeared. It isn’t easy to do.

I’d like to retrain my brain to start daydreaming of good things. Of my dreams coming true. To start daydreaming about what is the best that can happen. I want my outlook on everything to become “what is the best that can happen?”

How do I do it? Slowly and piece-by-piece. We can’t change how our brain thinks with the snap of our fingers. But we can change our thoughts one thought at a time.

So, ask yourself, what is the best that can happen?

I Will Never….

…be able to run again.

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Those were the first thoughts I had when I sat in my chair to do my Start Today journaling. My first thoughts were about what I don’t have and won’t have the rest of my life.

Most of us are wired like this. We are wired to see the negative in absolutely everything. It is more difficult to see anything positive. It’s as though our minds are wired for negativity.

We can change that. I changed that thought.

I changed my “I will never run again” thought to “I’m thankful I am able to walk without the pain I had.”

Changing your thoughts takes practice. I can honestly say I still have a long way to go with improving my thoughts, but the fact that I was compelled to immediately switch that thought this morning gave me all the feels.

I felt progress. I felt immense gratitude. I felt happy. I felt the love I’ve developed just for walking.

I may not be able to run again, but dammit, I can walk. I can walk more than 2,500 steps a day without feeling like wanting to rip my hips out. I can walk over 10,000 steps a day once again. I can schedule vacations and events that require walking and standing without worrying how I’m going to sit down the whole time.

I may not be able to run, but I can move my body. I am grateful for the improvement I have and grateful for being able to see the good over the negative.