You Can Change the Past

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

While I don’t have the answer to that one, I can tell you the thought or belief comes before the experience.

If you can accept that as true at least the majority of the time, it can change your life. Even if you are just willing to believe it’s possible and will look at some of your life experiences differently as a result, it can have a profound impact on your happiness—and how well you achieve your goals.

Most people are unwilling to see their past experiences with any other interpretation than the one they gave it in the moment and have been recounting for years. They think, “That experience was hurtful to me. End of story.”

But what if it’s not? What if it’s your very interpretation that is keeping that painful experience alive for you? That is limiting you? That is holding you back from the body and life of your dreams?

Don’t believe me?

I’ll give you an example of how I shifted an interpretation of a painful experience to one that now inspires me and fills me with appreciation.

When I was in the 7th grade, my brother called me “Buffalo Butt.”

Now this is typical older brother stuff, right?

But to me, that nickname was incredibly hurtful. I felt diminished. For many, many years I carried the belief in my heart that my bum was unattractive, unworthy, less than, and that was the painful story I told myself and believed to my core.

But what if you take the emotional pain and judgment out of the picture for a moment and look at the experience as a gauge of where my thoughts and beliefs were before he made the comment?

What if it was my existing low self-esteem and self-critical thoughts that inspired my brother to make that joke? And what if that comment was totally and purely like having a mirror held up to me of what I already had going on in my head?

Now my brother is not someone who is intentionally trying to hurt me. In fact, his reflection back to me of my existing thoughts and beliefs was actually an opportunity for me to get awareness and change my thoughts.

Now I’m no longer the victim. I’m the creator. I’m in the driver seat. I am empowered.

And the beautiful thing is I was still able to take advantage of that opportunity almost 30 years later when I reflected back on that experience with this new perspective.

What a gift his comment was!  At 13, I was completely in the self-critical weeds and his joke was a perfect reflection of what was already going on in my head.

When I take my brother out of the equation, not only do I let go of long-standing grudges against him (which benefits me down to the cellular level, by the way), I can also change my thinking about myself.

Of course I didn’t have an ugly tush at 13. I can recognize the insecurity for what it was and right now, I can give my 13-year-old-self all the love, acceptance, and appreciation that I wanted in the moment. And if my having an ugly behind was not true at 13, then it is not true now. All that’s ever held me back was my own thoughts and beliefs.

And that right there is like I had a time machine and went back and changed that experience. The past is now and forever altered in my mind.

Once I made that shift, the love and appreciation I had for my body surged. And those new thoughts and beliefs are now creating my current—and future experiences.

And I’ve seen my body change as a result.

How can you begin to see those painful past experiences as purely a reflection of where your thoughts and beliefs were in the moment?

Begin to use them as your gauge of how well you are lining up your thoughts and beliefs with your desires. If you aren’t getting the reflection back that you want, know that you have the power to change your thoughts and beliefs and get a different experience–past, present, and future.

Together we can do it!

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Dang That’s Judgmental

One of the things I love about stepping outside my comfort zone is that my shadow side may show up. That’s the part of me that is insecure, defensive, judgmental—you get the idea. It’s an amazing opportunity to practice showing up as authentically me—regardless of the people or situation.

The authentic me is loving and accepting. The authentic me sees my value—and the value in each person and situation. The authentic me knows that there are no mistakes and that the diversity of people and opinions is what makes the world go round. The authentic me knows that speaking my truth with ease and grace will be a gift to others, even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment.

If I am acting out of anger, frustration, defensiveness, fear, judgment, or condemnation, I’m not being authentically me—and I have the opportunity to make a difference choice.

The onus is on me to stay connected to my Higher Self (God, All-That-Is, Universe, Source—whatever works for you) and to pay attention if I am coming from a place of love or a place of anger, a place of appreciation or a place of fear.

One way for you to stay authentic and maintain your connection to your Higher Self in relationships—particularly if you have a history of pushing each other’s buttons—is to actively focus on all the good qualities of the other person. To literally practice seeing them in the best light.

There are a couple of ways to do this.

Create a list of all the things about the other person that you appreciate, and read and add to it every day.

Practice a visualization. See yourself bathed in a golden light that feels like joy and love, and then expand that light to include other people. First extend the light to the people you love and get along with easily. As the light grows brighter and more powerful, expand it to include more challenging people.

You may think that it’s the other person who needs to change so that you all can get along, but you are contributing just as much to the difficult dynamics. It’s up to you to show up differently.

The only person you can control is you. Choose now how you want to show up.  Practice showing up authentically.

And if you do react in a less than ideal way—as I guarantee that you sometimes will—the primary thing to do is forgive yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. Just pick yourself up and keep practicing being the best possible version of you so you show up more authentically the next time.

Together we can do it!

Create A “No Regrets” Policy

I haven’t been perfect this weekend. While I got all my workouts in, my eating has been a little on the high-calorie side, as is apt to happen when family gathers and we celebrate a birthday—in this instance, my husband’s.

In the past, a splurge like I experienced this weekend would have been enough to derail me. I used to suffer from a severe case of perfectionitis where if I didn’t do my diet and exercise perfectly, I would be so hard on myself that I would give up.

Fortunately, I now have a personal “No Regrets” policy. This gives me the ability to start each day with a fresh opportunity to do the very best I can, and to celebrate those actions that are moving me towards my goal.

Being more tolerant and supportive of myself has helped me lift the “all or nothing” requirement that I used to have for success.

This feeling that you have to do your diet and exercise program perfectly or you’ve “blown it” is very common amongst dieters and is one of the primary reasons that people fail to meet their weight-loss goals.

The good news is that you don’t have to be perfect. If you eat a cookie or two, it’s not the end of your diet. But if you give up then and down a pint of ice cream on top of it—well that’s going to be much harder to recover from and your progress for the week will likely be stymied. Too many weeks with no progress and the motivation to continue seeps away and dies.

If you slip, it’s much better to pick back up right where you are.

One way to do this is to let go of regrets. Those cookies might not have been on your eating plan, but hopefully you enjoyed it, and now it’s over and done. Focus on getting back on track with your next meal.

By creating a personal “No Regrets Policy,” you more easily and consistently move towards the best possible version of you.

What do you need to tell yourself to get back on track immediately after you have been less than perfect? What can you do to be more tolerant and supportive of yourself? What difference does that make in helping you meet your goals?

Together we can do it!

 

 

What An Opportunity!

One of the empowerment principles I love is, “There are no problems. There are no challenges. There are only opportunities.”

As you begin practicing this, it’s easy to see how true it is.

While it can be challenging at first, when you stop yourself from negatively reacting to something and shift your mental focus from the problem to how you can use the situation to learn and grow, your mind shifts in the direction you are pointing it and provides the things you seek.

To make the shift, you may have to let go of all the things that “could” go wrong and ask yourself how the situation might actually be helpful—for you and others—how you might be able to see things differently, and how you can trust that things are unfolding just as they should.

In other words, you rationalize your way out of fear or anger. It’s a fabulous tool for shifting from negative, catabolic energy where you are at the effect of people, situations, thoughts, emotions, and events, to begin looking for and seeing the solutions and potential.

As you practice releasing the catabolic energy by moving away from your well-rehearsed and automatic reactions, you connect with higher levels of positive anabolic energy that truly help you see not only the opportunities in every situation, but how the solutions can benefit each person involved.

It is the Yin/Yang of the Universe—for every problem there is an equal and proportionate solution. The opportunity and solution are always there, but you must first raise your gaze from the memorizing specter of the train-wreck that is the problem, and look for the opportunities.

As you practice making this mental shift you begin creating new reactions to problems so that one day, you bypass the rationalization step and your automatic response is to see all the opportunities and solutions. You no longer have to dip down into the catabolic energy and then turn your focus towards digging your way out of the morass. That frees up mental and physical energy that you can use to help create the life of your dreams.

What can you do to begin—or to practice—looking for the opportunity in every situation? What benefits might there be in experiencing more positive anabolic energy? What difference would that make to your life?

Together we can do it!

Photo by scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net