Change your story
Managing my own time is such a challenge. I know its my weakness and I need to overcome that demon within me that says I am incapable of being a good time manager. Now that is just a simple example but we all have this nagging thought that we can never be something.
I have this story in my head that I am not naturally disciplined and that I am not cut out to be a hard worker. I am a resourceful person, and with my relatively good brainpower and love for spontaneity, I will make it work. I will just “wing it”. Some occasions, I do work hard but only if I like it or I am into it. But for tasks that I am not invested in, I usually take it for granted or put it last in my priority list, just because. I don’t like it, I don’t want to do it, that’s it.
Self-fulfilling prophecy and self imposed limitations
It’s really easy to underestimate how much the story you tell on your head affects your behaviour. It’s almost a self fulfilling prophecy. You are what you think you are and you will become your thoughts. Lao Tzu nailed it in the head by this,
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
I used to just read that and I’m like, “meh” but now, I just realized the wisdom behind that quote. We are indeed shaped by our thoughts and you can choose to feed it with nurturing things or feed it with garbage. Garbage from the internet, from other people, and worse, from yourself.
For so long I thought I am a prisoner of my personality type or my circumstances. It is easy to be a slave to the limits you have caged yourself in. Once you set that boundary and accepted that you will never go beyond your self imposed limitations, that’s it. You’ll just run around the corner of these walls and chances are, if you think negatively, you will embody it, project it, and become it. I am that person and I am speaking from experience. I used to have such negative self image and I hated that I am who I am. I hated my weaknesses, but ironically, defined myself from it. I used my own weaknesses as a definition of who I am. Not my strengths, not anything, just my weaknesses. And I thought I am a lost case, that nothing can be done with me. It’s sad and depressing and such a terrible frame of mind. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything else as with that adversary within myself, I gained a greater sense of understanding of who I am.
Switching gears towards positivity
I am not perfect but changing gears towards positivity did miracles for me. I changed my mindset, and with that I have effectively changed my behaviour and my perspective on myself. Now, it sounds vague and cliche, but what are these changes in mindset that I did to change my outlook in life?
Call out the lies, confront it, and say no to it
I changed my perspective on my weaknesses. I always thought they are insurmountable, and I am limited by them but this time, I am saying, “No. I am changing this story. This is not true. I am not not capable of doing this. I can manage my time, I can be organized, I can be disciplined if I want to. I can do it if I focus.”
Acknowledge the weakness, the lies, the discouragement, and please, say NO to it. I told these lies that I am not giving it the power to overcome me anymore. You have done me wrong for so long. I love myself and I don’t deserve you. I don’t know, it just gives a sense of relief, a sense of control if you will. A sense of awareness that yes, I see you, I feel you, but I am done giving you priority in my life.
People are capable of empathy
I changed my perspective on people. This might not be true for everyone but I have such a negative mindset on other people. I only let a few people in in my life. I used to gloomily look at most people and just don’t give them a chance. I thought people are incapable of change, everyone’s the same, and that there’s no point in trying.
I thought the people around me were the problem but the truth is, my arrogance is the reason why I think this way. It is a humbling experience to realize that this sense of pride is keeping me from creating a real connection and relationship. So I changed my mindset on people, that they are capable of change, they offer valuable insight too, and I am not better than them. (Yes, I am that arrogant before and I probably might still unconsciously be, but I am a work in progress.)
Start with the small stuff
So, what I want to leave here is that if you can, start with the small stuff. You are not powerless, believe me you are in control. Just learn to acknowledge and identify the thoughts that bring you negativity. Start evaluating your life views and question them genuinely. Are they bringing you a net positive impact. If not, ask yourself why you are still holding on to that principle or belief system.
Take control and stare your demons back and deal with it head on. Harness the power of words. Say no to your self imposed limitations, say no to your weaknesses and repeat it over and over again until you’ll believe it.
Sometimes, we are just scared to deal with it because its uncomfortable. Its human nature. We are shaped to run away from danger and difficulty. Ironically, the only way to deal with our internal weaknesses is facing them. Accepting the discomfort knowing that the benefits will outweigh it.
You are not alone.