Stop doubting your greatness
On the way home from Rochester, MN this past week, I listened to You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero on Audible (available here). It blended into my existing thoughts and gave me a jumping off point for today’s subject.
Many things struck me in Jen Sincero’s book, such as how we create our own reality. Jen suggests that truth isn’t something outside of us that cannot be controlled. She believes we create our own truth. We just come up with what we want to be true–about our lives, our relationships, our financial situation–and it will be true. Well, it’s not quite that easy. We have to set the intention, believe it, and live as if it were true. Instead of setting an abstract goal like “I want to [insert goal] someday,” tell yourself, “I am [insert goal].” Like, “I am a blogger” or “I am a world traveler”. Then go act like this is honest to goodness truth.
At first, this concept sounds outlandish, like kooky affirmations of a diluted person, but we actually do it all the time. We convince ourselves that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, and people don’t like us. We decide that we can’t do something, or we don’t have time, or we don’t have resources, and – what do you know? – we’re right. Why couldn’t we come up with a truth that makes us happy?
How it works in real life
I used this lesson in creating my own truth just this week. My truth was that I couldn’t take my husband back to Rochester for a follow-up visit because his appointment was during our daughter’s crazy busy dance recital week. That was my truth. I thought I couldn’t ask someone else to take over my crazy schedule so I could be gone a couple of days: “Here’s her dancing shoes and 5-page schedule with notes on makeup and hair. See ‘ya!” Plus, she had her regular school and I had my regular yoga classes to teach. There was no way I could leave town that week. Consequentially, we had a major logistics problem in which we had no idea how to get him to a clinic 8 hours away for a half day’s worth of appointments.
Not to mention I had a husband who likely thought I wasn’t being very supportive. Plus, who was going to take notes and actually remember what the doctors had to say during the appointments?
Inspired by Jen, I decided to change my truth. My new truth was, “I have to take my husband to his doctors’ appointments next week.” So I made it happen. I texted my boss, put my classes on the substitute schedule, made travel plans that crammed the trip in between our daughter’s rehearsals (which I realized was just possible with a few hours to spare IF everything goes according to plan), and called my parents to come watch our girl and our dogs for a couple of days. Now I have a new reality in which I feel much more supportive of my husband and am still able to take care of my daughter.
Use your truth to get well
The first thing that struck me about Mayo Clinic was the number of sick people there are in the world. This one clinic serves thousands of people every day. How do we keep ourselves from being one of them?
It seems that proper nutrition and self-care makes some amount of sense. For example, decide what the proper diet is for you, whatever that looks like. Probably mostly veggies, quality protein, and healthy fats. Get rid of the sugar. Get rid of synthetic sugar-like substances. Eat real food that takes some time to prepare. Choose food that still looks like what it is supposed to be and doesn’t come from boxes, cans, or bottles. Or at least minimize these things. Shop at the farmer’s market more, and learn how to prepare what you find there. Then exercise most days of the week, meditate, and get proper sleep.
Makes sense, right? But what if your truth is that you don’t have enough time or energy to prepare healthy meals for yourself and your family? What if you believe that you have to order take-out or rely on processed food. Because you’re too busy, right?
Now, what if I told you that you created that truth? What if your truth, instead, was that wholesome food was so important to you that you made the time to prepare it. It’s a matter of priorities. We find the time (and money) for what is important to us.
Maybe that means becoming a prepper. Plan out your meals ahead of time and prep them on your days off so that when it comes time to get something on the table quick you won’t have to spend any more time than if you would have made it from a box. Carve out 30 minutes a day several times a week to get some exercise. Set rules for yourself as to what time electronics will be shut off so you can get some quality sleep. Push the snooze button one less time to get up and meditate. Again, say “I will” rather than “I want to”.
You are who you want to be
Mindset is integral in your health. You decide how you feel and how fast you heal. People with chronic pain have found relief by sitting with their pain, visualizing it dissipating, and actively relaxing. They have decided that their truth is pain-free. People with a positive mindset heal faster. You’ve seen it yourself. You’ve seen the people who are struck by a tragic illness or injury who believe they will get better and set goals reflecting this belief. Examples that come to mind are a local fireman who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident and returned to work in a matter of weeks, and Boston marathon bombing victims who ran the marathon the very next year. You’ve also seen people who have given up completely under such duress. What is different between these two types of people? Their truth. Their mindset. The people in the first group wanted to heal, they didn’t accept any other reality.
You can conduct an experiment yourself by taking your pulse, then sit quietly and focus on your breath, breathe slowly and deeply, then take your pulse again. For a bonus experiment, try this with your blood pressure. If it works with heart rate and blood pressure, it’s not such a stretch to believe changing your truth can speed wound healing, help with post-surgical recovery, and decrease illness severity. Simply believing you are better can make you better. The trick is you really have to believe and operate every minute of every day as if your truth is the honest to goodness unfailing truth, not just something you made up.
We also attract the kind of relationships, careers, and futures we want based on how we carry ourselves. If we don’t believe we are worth better we will not get better. We get exactly what we give.
This is also how vision boards and affirmations work. If you can see your chosen truth every day in detailed, concrete form, you will start to believe it. You can create the life you want to live on a whiteboard. Tell yourself about your new life in the mirror every morning until you believe it. Still seem coo-coo? Think about athletes psyching themselves up before a big game. They visualize their upcoming performance, sinking the shot, crossing the finish line first. This is another example of creating your truth.
Now you do it
Now, I’m not saying that you should get up off the couch and start training for next month’s marathon, even though you haven’t exercised in a decade. But, you could train to run a 5k next month. Start by saying “I am a runner” and make it true, just be sensible. Start slow. Same goes if you are injured. Listen to your body and your doctor, then make your goals. You can do this!
The next time you feel like what you want is out of reach, make what you want true. Once it’s true, you will take the steps needed to get there. I am going to take my husband to Rochester, so I made plans to make it possible. If you want to eat healthier, start looking up recipes on Pinterest and make shopping lists so you can start prepping your new meals. If you want to heal, visualize yourself walking down the street, set a goal date to return to work, make actual plans to do so because it’s the truth!
Originally published in DonWings on April 29, 2017