Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Meditation, Spirituality, Things I've Learned, Thought | Posted on 05-20-2014
[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]
Most of us carry around a certain image of ourselves. I certainly did and still do, but I didn’t realize until recently how malleable that image can be.
For most of my life I believed I was someone who was inherently lazy, a procrastinator, allergic to vegetables and exercise (not literally!), a decent singer who could/would never sing in public, okay at public speaking but not a natural, sucky at painting, a good writer, great at SEO and website marketing, etc. And yet at this very moment, I identify with only a couple of those things. In fact, for some of them I feel I am the exact opposite!
Let’s take lazy for instance.
I always thought of myself that way and was not shy about admitting it. But lazy is a relative term. When I looked at what I thought most people accomplish every day, I certainly felt lazy by comparison. Maybe they were accomplishing more or maybe they weren’t, but let’s just say they were as busy as I made them out to be in my head. Some people can manage to be busy all day, but not get a whole lot done. One thing I knew about my laziness was that it made me be more resourceful and efficient. If there is/was an easy way to do something, you can bet that I would figure it out and do it that way. So rather than believing and labeling myself as a lazy person, I could have thought of myself as resourceful and efficient. And you might even say creative. I rarely do things the way others do them because it looks like too much work. Why do A, B, C and D when you can do X and Y and end up with the same result?
Some other traits I previously identified with are now no longer true due to gradual changes I’ve made over time. I now love vegetables and I run/walk/hike, practice yoga on a regular basis. I even promised myself this past winter that I would walk or run the mile to and from my yoga practice during the week regardless of the weather, and did it! (Take that laziness and exercise allergy!) Now I think of myself much more as a healthy eater who lives a healthy lifestyle instead of the exact opposite.
So which was it?
You could say that at the time, I really was those things but I changed. However, the more I understand that our thoughts create our reality, the more I realize that I didn’t change–the way I perceive the world and myself has changed.
Anyone can change their perceptions if they want to.
Think you can’t sing in public like I always thought? Just do it. What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you’ll suck, but so what? It won’t kill you. Once you do it, you’ll have conquered a fear. (And maybe you’ll totally rock the house!) That’s all those types of thoughts are–fears. They are not who you are or are not. They’re your thoughts (egoic ones for sure!) trying to convince you of what you can and can’t do.
But you don’t have to listen to them.
The more fears you conquer, the more you wonder why you were scared in the first place. How many times have you done something you thought would be scary that turned out great? Most likely the scariest part was the prelude to the actual doing. You know, that part where you built up in your head a whole story of how horrible it would be and how you’d be a laughing stock or die or something. All of which are probably less likely than everything turning out just fine.
I’ve been slowly but surely working on conquering those fears that I previously thought made me who I was. And each fear that I conquer and find out that it was no big deal, changes my identity a little bit. Yet I’m still the same person deep inside. Which is really the key to what I’m talking about. While there are many external things we think we are, or we think we can or can’t do, those things never really and truly define us, even if we think they do. It’s the person deep inside of each and every one of us who is perfect that who we should be identifying with. It’s who we’ve always been and who we will always be.
And you know what? That “person” can be and do anything that he or she wants to do or be. As Nike always reminds us–Just Do It!
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