Now that we’ve been examining our negative thoughts for a week, you should have made some discoveries about yourself. I discovered through Thursday’s blog that I’m thinking more negatively than I’d been aware of. While doing what I was writing about, I found it was difficult at times to stay present and focus on my thought processes. I can say with some “feeling” of conviction today that I do feel more prepared today than a week ago to continue to move forward, and to begin turning the corner and letting these thoughts go. How heavy is the load you’re carrying every day?
This series is all about getting us to a point of thinking, and feeling differently about our bodies. Some of the changes suggested can boost your self-esteem and body image, and some changes may not have been as effective for you. I believe that from this point forward, the key is to have realistic expectations about how much changing your thoughts and beliefs can change your appearance by changing how you feel about yourself. We are learning, or reminding ourselves, what we have control over in ourselves, and taking ownership of these choices will empower us.
Let’s face it – we’re not going to be able to wave a magic wand, and have our lives become magically trouble free, wonderful, and blissful. We’re not going to begin seeing everything through rose colored glasses. This doesn’t mean that we’ll be loving every single thing in life as we run through fields of wildflowers and sunshine dressed in a nun’s habit. Wait! I love that movie. Oh forgive me, I’ve digressed. I do feel stress, I do feel impatience, I do feel upset, angry, and frustrated, and I do feel defeat. But this is a step forward for me because I am starting to feel more. I’m not just ambivalently letting things float around totally unaware in my head. This is being realistic. Life happens – we just need to learn how to flow with the current. How has this past week made a difference for you?
This morning I was struggling and getting frustrated trying to gather my thoughts for today’s blog. What should I write about? I could feel it creeping its way into my shoulders and neck working its way through my back. I don’t know about you, but I wash my hair in the shower. I was scrubbing the shampoo into my hair so hard that my fingers started to ache, which snapped me into awareness. That’s when it hit me. Was I being present in the moment? Nope – I was simply doing, and going through the motions without any feeling or attachment. I’m discovering that I do this a lot. I unconsciously get caught up in managing my life. I just “do to get through” it. Are you guilty of that, too? Managing – planning, problem solving, analyzing, and controlling - all things of the mind.
In the book, Transitions by William Bridges, he shares a simple yet profound concept, the idea of moving on or past "stuff" in life. He uses the analogy of a caterpillar who wants to become a butterfly.
The caterpillar must go through certain stages or phases in order to have a successful transition.
his concept is easily applied to any of life's transitions: from one relationship to another, from one career to another, from one lifestyle to another etc. The three stages or phases are:
1. You must declare an ending. You must put closure on the previous relationship, issue or circumstance. When people fail to declare endings before moving on to a new beginning, they tend to repeat the same ending again in the new beginning - relationship, career and so on.
2. You must spend adequate time in the neutral zone. Bridges compares the neutral zone to the cocoon. If the caterpillar emerges from its cocoon too soon it may not be properly formed and will die or at the least not be able to fly.
If we spend too little time in the neutral zone, discovering what we need to learn - we will again tend to repeat similar mistakes and repeat the earlier ending once again. Oh, it might be a different person, career or circumstance, but nonetheless, the ending will have similar characteristics.
The neutral zone is where we self-discover who we are, how we feel, how we behave, what we believe and who we want to become. It is an active time of introspection and self-evaluation. Mr. Bridges, goes on to explain, that several years ago he spent almost two years in the neutral zone after the ending of a relationship.
3. If you have declared an ending... I mean really declared it and not just given the idea lip service and you spend enough time in the neutral zone - it is now time to move on to step three - Declare and Embrace the New Beginning.
Much of the stress in life comes from an unwillingness to move from step one to two, or step two to step three, even knowing that it is in your best interests, or even necessary, to do so. You feel emotionally stuck, out of control or just afraid of the future after you have made the decision to move to the next step.
If you are in a transition from one “anything” to another embrace it, enjoy it, learn from it. This transition will introduce you to the new you if you will let it.
Most psychologists agree, and it's tough to get psychologists to agree on anything, that most of us form our self-image or self-concept by the age of 8. We’ve got to get out of our heads by letting go of thoughts, beliefs, excess baggage, and other things that cause us to sabotage our growth, and falling short of reaching our goals.
Time to let go of all these thoughts and beliefs we’ve been toting around with us. Here’s a humorous look at this from a very funny lady:
This week we are going to practice Step one – Declare an ending. We are going to declare and cement the intention of letting go of our negative thinking, thoughts, and excess baggage. They are simply holding us back. By choosing to recognize, accept, explore and move through and beyond any negative, self-limiting thoughts and beliefs, instead of constantly attempting to camouflage them with mantra-like self statements, you free up energy to create the thoughts and things you do want for your life.
I know that I’m beginning to love myself by simply being more aware of these feelings. I’m loving myself by finally waking up, and being present in the moment. It’s been a real eye opener for me.
Thanks for stopping by!