“Nothing reduces the odds against you like ignoring them.” ~Robert Brault
Do you ever wake up feeling like you're battling yourself?
What's worse is waking up in that battle and feeling like you've already lost before you've even started the day.
But think about that for a second: isn't living this way crazy? We think it's normal to be fighting ourselves. We're taught we need to grind it out and make something of ourselves to be successful. We're taught we need to become something.
And the underlying message is this: who we are right now isn't good enough.
We're starving for acceptance, but see ourselves as flawed, and we end up spending our lives in a quest to prove ourselves to the world and to ourselves.
The Fallacy of Needing to Earn Your Freedom
When I was a kid I felt radically wild and free. And I bet you did too. But I also would bet that something changed and you don't feel as free as you once did.
As a curious, adventurous lad, I felt like I could do anything, be anything, and create whatever I wanted. My imagination was my only limit.
But then somewhere along the way I started to hear the voices of my parents, teachers, and adults around me send contrary messages.
I needed to…
- Get good grades to prove my intelligence (and my worth).
- Do what's right (follow the pages of an old book) and not misbehave to prove my goodness.
- Conform to socially-approved behavior to show that I was a valuable member of society.
Basically, I began to transform from a wild, starry-eyed child into a fully domesticated, trained human.
One voice is telling you to be wild, free, liberated—Do what you want! Follow your desires!—while the other voice chides and judges: That's not practical. You must follow the template! Don't venture off the path!
But is it possible that these competing voices could be harmonized?
The 7 Keys to Start Betting on Yourself
I knew I had to reconcile these disparate voices if I wanted to regain my freedom. I couldn't stand to live in a warzone—especially if I'm carrying that battle with me everywhere I go.
If I want to live a happy, prosperous, and awesome life, I can't do that while being my own greatest enemy. I need to be 100% on my own side and bet on myself.
Here are the seven keys I've found are necessary to start betting on yourself and reclaim your personal freedom:
1. Start the day on your side.
This is critical. The first thing in the day, do something to start on your side. Say, “I love you” while looking in the mirror. Write a page in your journal about all the awesome qualities you love about yourself. Do something to show yourself your loyalty to… yourself.
2. Make time for what brings you bliss.
The judging voice in our mind loves to see us do only what's practical. You must win, and you win by being better and doing more, the judge loves to say. But getting things done isn't what life is all about. Make time first for what brings you bliss, then start making love to your to-do list.
3. Honor the things you can't measure.
We tend to not give ourselves credit for the stuff we do that isn't measurable or trackable. That's absurd. Is there no value in hugging a child, marveling at leaves in the wind, or lying in bed with your lover? Remember, just because it doesn't fit on a spreadsheet or calendar doesn't make it obsolete.
4. Be mindful.
Without mindfulness, you won't even notice when you're being your own enemy. Practicing awareness of your thoughts, beliefs, and patterns is the only path to change.
5. Be kind.
Seriously, you must be kind to yourself. If someone was insulting you or abusing you, you'd probably walk away, right? But how often do we take this abuse from ourselves? Since you can't walk away from yourself (not that I know of, anyway), you must learn to be kind to yourself and give up trying to live up to your image of perfection.
6. Give your gift to yourself.
Whatever your gift is, you need to give it to yourself. Whether your gift is being a great champion for others, identifying the genius in people, or getting to the root of disharmony, make sure you give this blessing to yourself as well. You'll also be able to give more deeply when you're fully supported and energized.
7. Be diligent.
The voice of judgment is a tireless beast. It will stick around, lurking in the shadows and sneakily emerging when you least expect it. However, the better you get at ignoring this voice, the more it'll start to get the point. Just remember, no one’s ever raised a statue of a critic. What this voice has to say can't matter very much.
The True Definition of Madness (That We're Not Told)
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. I disagree.
I believe the definition of insanity is battling against yourself every day. Why not try being your own supporter and champion, and bet on yourself for a change?
I believe you have greatness within you. And I believe the key to unlocking that greatness is by becoming your own greatest ally.
Over to you: Have you ever felt like you wake up battling yourself? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Photo by wtl photography