A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about my resolution to stop lying. What can I say…it’s almost impossible? Lies are hidden everywhere, they’re so sneaky! I’ve managed to stop lying overtly; or when I catch myself beginning to tell a half-truth, I back up and revise immediately. This may create an awkward moment, but helps to control this habit in the long run.
However, what I wasn’t aware of is how often I lie to myself. That’s the really scary part. For the past months, I’ve been writing down my lies every evening. This helps me to see them more clearly, and also to begin to gain some footing in minimizing this habit. When my head tells me once again that I’m not good enough or that I can’t do it, I just smile tiredly – and then get busy reprogramming my mind.
Our thoughts are powerful. They can lift us up or they can bring us down. They lie to us often, preventing us from growing into our fullest potential, keeping us tucked safely into our confining comfort zone.
I had an interesting experience in a Yoga class last year that gave me pause: the teacher brought us into Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side-angle pose). Suddenly she was at my mat, telling me to remove the block under my bottom hand – she said that I could easily hold the pose without the additional support.
Annoyed, I hissed at her that it crunches my hip without a block and I get a cramp. She smiled sweetly and said “try it anyway.” I stayed stubborn: after all, it’s my body and I know what’s best for me! Without a block in this pose: no chance! So, the block stayed right where it was.
One class later, with a different teacher, in the same pose: before I grabbed my block out of habit, I decided to try it without. It cramped a little…I breathed…and it worked! I was totally surprised and grateful that the previous day’s teacher had caught me in my complacency. Had I been limiting myself all these years in this pose? Of course! And that’s just one example. I’ve discovered countless other ways in which I can transcend my limiting beliefs in my daily life.
How often do we feel trapped by our thoughts and long to break free?
Those limiting and oppressive voices in our heads: we’ve all heard them and allowed them to repeat like mantras. They stop us in our tracks with their negative impact. They lie to us. The good news is that we can influence our thought patterns. As soon as we begin to make them conscious and recognize our own limiting behaviors, it becomes easier to shift our conditioning. Still, those negative voices likely won’t disappear completely – they will continue to test us and attempt to cage us with our own limiting beliefs.
What you can do to tame your mind
Set an intention
Every morning, I jot down how I want to feel today, what I want to focus on. I write in the past tense, as though I had already lived and experienced my intention. This works to lift my spirits, gives my day a positive edge and leaves little room for negativity. 3-5 sentences: short and sweet.
Observe your thoughts
Don’t believe everything you think. Watch and observe your thoughts, question them! Why this particular thought pattern? Fear? Self-pity? Laziness? Ask yourself continually if your thoughts serve you, or if they drag you down. And then choose which thoughts you want to carry with you and nourish throughout your day.
Give a name to your voice
It helps so much to give a name to that inner voice that tries to keep you down. Imagine what she looks like and dress her in a terrible outfit and worse hairdo. Then, when she shows up again, you can have a laugh and tell her to get out of town.
Sometimes it feels like we can’t get anything right, the thoughts get wildly out of control. That’s ok. Distract yourself a bin those moments – go to Yoga class, cook a delicious meal or take a warm bath. Take a break to collect and reflect. Now is not the moment to make important decisions.
Meditation should be your constant companion. Take five minutes a day to explore your inner spaces. It helps to gain some objectivity from those toxic thought patters, and to recognize what’s actually going on. Your inner space will become cleaner, clearer and more illuminated over time.
Start right away. Each time you drag yourself down and tell yourself what you’ve done wrong and how you’re failing, write it all down. Replace those thoughts with new, uplifting, loving words. You have so much power inside of you to steer your path through this life. Don’t let those thoughts that stand in your way stop you from finding your way.
Wouldn’t it be a shame to waste your shining potential?