How beliefs are the pair of glasses we view ourselves through - and our world.
Within the span of roughly a year — I lost my marriage, my business, my home, my best friend, my dreams for my music career and my idealized version of a family. Whew! It’s a miracle I didn’t lose all hope, too! I knew I had to turn things around, so, I began by asking myself a simple question — perhaps the same question millions of humans have also asked themselves: “WHY have these things happened to me?” Searching for the answer brought me into new and uncharted territory. As Oprah has famously said “It changed the trajectory of my life”. It took some time, but through the process of artful questioning — I discovered that I held a heavy and limiting self belief at my core. That belief being: “I do not deserve good things”.
Our daily actions, thoughts and environment reflect our belief’s back to us. Because of my core belief — it was easier for me to expect “bad” things over “good” things. I was typically in a state of disappointment, self defeat, and frustration — yet I did not feel I was worthy enough to break those cycles and ask for more out of life. So, I settled. I clung and grasped to toxic people, negative environments, self destructive behaviors and harmful habits. I stayed in a marriage too long that did not uplift me or respect me. I reached for substances to numb my pain and disappointment, to give me an induced feeling of happiness and vitality. I chased the wrong people and wrong things in hopes of getting validation or to simply “feel” like I did matter. At times I would lash out, fuming in anger and resentment. And when I grew weary of feeling so bad — I would mask and numb and try to “shut down”. The parts inside of me that were yearning for something healthier got buried. I made choices based more on my fear, shame and self imposed unworthiness. And the results were typically the same — not so good. I hammered myself down even further and wondered “What is wrong with me?” “Why can’t I get it together?” and at the very base of it all, I believed “This is happening because I deserve this”.
“Belief is a beautiful armor…but makes for the heaviest sword…” is a great line from one of my favorite John Mayer songs. Negative beliefs do act like swords. They cut us down. They keep wounds fresh and bleeding. They prevent healing. Positive beliefs become our armor. They protect us and help keep us safe, and they allow us to flourish. I also equate beliefs to a pair of eye glasses. A bad pair with negative lenses, will show you a distorted, dark and broken view. Where as a good pair with positive lenses, will show you hope, freedom and light. My personal pair of “Not Worthy” glasses were what I had been looking through my entire life — and I wasn’t aware of it! Imagine my surprise when one day I went and looked in my metaphorical “mirror” — and for the first time ever I saw that I was wearing glasses! Previously, all I had seen was my bare face. My “reflection” used to show me that what I was seeing and feeling — was just who I was. I had no options. I thought that I was my beliefs and there was nothing I could change about them. But, alas, the lenses I was looking through were removable. They were optional. I had a choice. I felt a rush of relief!
This new pair has transformed my inner and outer experience! I am creating new behaviors, new thought patterns and making different choices. I started therapy, found a life coach I could trust, leaned deeper into meditation and yoga, found a new church, started praying again, started reading new books, went back to school and so on. And, these positive behavior changes are more sustainable because they manifested from a place of genuine self love and self care! Not from a place of beating myself up and just trying to “act” or “pretend” better. I know now, that healthy outcomes are born from healthy beliefs about ourselves. This is why I am so passionate about self — compassion, or what I call “relentless gentleness”. And why everyday I actively choose to wear my “I Am Worthy” glasses. By putting them on I am giving myself a new view, and a new mantra: “I do deserve good things”.
A compassionate and affirming self view also helps us to get “unstuck” and to move on from anything that no longer serves us — and we can do so knowing we are acting in a way that is most loving to ourselves. When we choose to care for, nurture, and be tender towards ourselves, we develop a resilience to the setbacks or obstacles that come our way. Our thought pattern shifts and this allows us to see life’s challenges more like opportunities, rather than as punishments. We go from being a victim to being an advocate in our own story. All the experiences of life can then be welcomed and seen as an ever-evolving gift, or teacher. Just because we have seen the world for so long through the lenses of a limiting belief, doesn’t mean we are doomed forever. We have a choice to put those old frames down, and pick up a new, kinder pair.