Are you one of the people that have a tendency to be fearful and hard on yourself? It’s like an automatic default to the land of negative thinking and feelings of unworthiness. Others tell you to stop being so hard on yourself, and you wonder how? If you knew how to do that, you would certainly have done that a long time ago to stop the suffering.
Over the years I began to realize this was a real problem for a lot of people and me. I now see it as an opportunity and blessing in the pursuit of wholehearted living. I learned all about distorted thinking and the lies we tell ourselves and automatically believe. It was a real awakening. I read a book titled Ten Days to Self Esteem by David Burns, and there I found a breakdown of the many ways we can distort our thinking.
- All or Nothing thinking – Looking at things in Black & White
- Overgeneralizing – Viewing an adverse event as a never-ending pattern of defeat
- Mental Filter – Dwelling on the negatives and avoiding the positives.
- Discounting the Positives – Insisting that your accomplishments or positive qualities don’t count.
- Jumping to Conclusions – Concluding things are wrong without any conclusive evidence. (Mindreading) or (Fortune Telling)
- Magnification or Minimization – Blowing things way out of proportion or shrinking their importance.
- Emotional Reasoning – Reasoning from how you feel. You feel like an idiot so you must be one.
- Should Statements – Criticizing yourself or others with should, shouldn’t, must, ought’s, and have to.
- Labeling – Instead of saying I made a mistake. You label yourself a loser or stupid.
- Blame – Blaming yourself for something you are not entirely responsible for or blaming other people and overlooking the ways you may have contributed to the problem.
What I initially believed is that we feel the way we think. So, I thought to myself, just think positive! But as my default would have it that led me back to… I am thinking positive but still feeling negative so this must be my fault. Not knowing if that was self-centered or reality-based, I kept searching for answers.
That’s when I discovered Brené Brown. This quote of hers spoke directly to me:
(Love over Fear and growing a new superpower was in the works but it would require more explanation and understanding).
Brené teaches us YOUR THOUGHTS + ACTIONS + FEELINGS ARE LIKE A THREE-LEGGED STOOL
One leg represents Thinking.
One leg represents Feelings.
One leg represents Behavior.
Incorporating all three would then equal our wholehearted living and loving selves.
FEAR thinks-I’m not good enough, or I’m no good at this, how frustrating, I’ll numb out with some of my favorite comfort food.
WHOLEHEARTED LOVE thinks – I’m going to work on this, I feel good about having a goal, and I will take it one day at a time and strive to build on that.
Wholehearted living and loving are about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness, being brave, putting love over fear and knowing we are enough.
While some argue that you can change your life by changing your thoughts, Brené has seen no evidence of this in her research. She says, “Real transformation doesn’t happen until we address all three parts as equally essential parts of a whole, elements that are inextricably connected to one another”.
If being wholehearted makes us whole, then the opposite of that is to be broken, fractured, or in disarray. So many of us are moving thru life this way. The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness actually depends on the integration of All of our experiences.
Remember… the three-legged stool shows the way you THINK affects the way you FEEL which then determines and will have a direct impact on your BEHAVIOR and what you DO.
So what then do we do?
WE GET CURIOUS
Be willing to open a line of inquiry into what’s going on with you, and why?
- Why am I being so hard on myself? Or others?
- What is setting me off?
- How did I get to the point of no return and wanting to punch something?
- Why am I so overwhelmed?
- Why can’t I shut my brain off?
- Why am I reacting so emotionally?
- What is going on?
Since we respond to EMOTIONS FIRST, and they often direct us to shut down or disengage. This is why we need to train ourselves to get curious about our emotions and develop a desire to learn more about why we feel the way we do. Although we don’t want to feel our feelings, this is the starting point to growing our superpower.
Brené says “The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we reject our stories and disconnect from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead,
“They own us, they define us”!
Our job then is not to deny our feelings in fear of feeling them, but rather to explore them with love, grace (My One Word for 2019) and curiosity, teasing out the distorted thoughts and getting clear on our truth (My One Word for 2018). Being open to the daily Wholistic (heart, mind, body, and spirit) practice of consciously choosing our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and living and loving as a whole person, growing and strengthening our Love over Fear Superpower!!
About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.