I watched an episode of Oprah’s Life Class last night for the first time. I believe it was episode 2 or the second Friday or some such. Anyway, She had Iyanla Vanzant on as guest/cohost. A thoroughly enjoyable show! I highly recommend watching if you get the opportunity. Someone commented that Oprah should call OWN “empowerment tv”; I agree! At least from the perspective of the Life Class show, not only does it inspire, but it also gives you some of the tools to make much needed changes in your life.
There was a section where a woman called in via Skype & was speaking of feeling stuck in her life. Iyanla took her through some questioning to find out exactly what she meant by stuck. In her description of her “stuckness” a very interesting thing happened: she started off saying “I” & switched repeatedly to the third person, saying “YOU can’t do (fill in the blank) when you have a child” & “YOU have to do (fill in the blank) when YOU (again!!!) have a child or certain responsibilities”, etc., etc. & so forth. Iyanla is so spot on, catching the woman in her confusion, pointing it out & telling her she needed to own all of herself, including her limiting beliefs then going on to help her do just that. Awesome stuff! I got to thinking about it, though. While I certainly see Iyanla’s point & find it helpful/useful, I recognized something else.
Everytime the woman switched from “I” to “YOU” her tone would change slightly. Her posture even shifted little. She was speaking with “someone else’s voice”. She had internalized someone else’s expectations & rules for her life & was spitting them out as rationalizations for not taking action towards what she truly wanted for herself & her child. How do I know? I’ve done similarly in my own life & when I justify & defend my limitations even just to myself I hear the nasty nay sayers in my head speaking in their own voices. Someone else is taking up my head time & making use of my mouth & I’m allowing them to do so. When I examine the thoughts before allowing them into my soul I can discern who it is that’s speaking; I can even take myself right to the moment I first heard them utter whatever nonsense they’re spewing & I bought in without pausing to verify their truth or lack thereof. (By the way, any limitations you defend you get to keep.) When I pay attention I can head them off at the pass. Am I perfect at it? No. But I have gotten better over the years. When I let my guard down & something icky slips through I do catch it eventually. The catch time is getting shorter & shorter. Eventully I will have enough speed & attention to catch the buggers before they even get close to my boundaries & you can do likewise! Here’s how to get started.
Make a habit of feeding you mind & spirit with good stuff: positive, life affirming tv, books & audio. A couple of my all time favorites are Tony Robbins & Mama Gena. Feast on the good stuff: you ARE worth it! Avoid nay sayers & complainers like the plague (they’re far, far worse than the plague & will drag. You. Down.) Keep news papers & broadcasts to a minimum or ditch them altogether. For some reason the news media has decided the only news fit to report is gloom & doom. Anything pleasant & wonderful never makes the cut. You won’t be ignorant of happenings; plenty of people will be more than happy to update you if you should ever feel the need to know. Speaking of people updadting you, they’re often like the news media: they only think to tell you when something “bad” happens. You’ll have to play detective: after they blubber on your shoulder about their latest life’s disaster (make sure to keep the blubbering short, to the point & DON’T join in) ask them for news of something good in their life. It’ll probably be a bit of a shock to their system & they’ll likely pause while searching for an answer to their question. Yes, they’ll also likely return in short order to the complaining, but keep redirecting the conversation & consequently the energy. If they’re insistent on wallowing feel free to find a reason to end the conversation for your own sanity’s sake. There’s no rule that says you must get mud all over you in order to be a “good friend”. Eventually a new thing will develop; as people notice you’re not a good pitty partier anymore they’ll either stop inviting you & happily party with you in your new place or they’ll leave you alone. Your life will fill with people willing to get out of the mire of the mullygrubs, you’ll feel better & the nasty voices in your head will get less & less fodder to live on. You’ll have started charging them rent! Seeing as how they’re essentially bankrupt they’ll run out of their stored assets & will be forced to shut down all operations.
The nasties don’t go away, so you will need to be vigilant in what you feed yourself, the company you keep. And they are clever: they’ve lived in your head a very long time & will try to find new ways to beat you up & make you think they’ve gone silent. Just watch what comes into your thoughts & out of your mouth & see how it makes you feel. If you feel lousy, examine the thought. It may at first seem like it’s yours, even after scrutiny. Dig deeper & you’ll find a nasty at the end, though. Don’t spend too much time in examination, however. Your attention feeds the nasties. Just knowing that you feel lousy is enough; you can be ready with counter measures to get yourself back on track. You don’t have to allow the nasties in your head to live rent free or use your person to beat you down & keep you from the life you want. Now you have a few of the tools I use regularly to help you. Give them a try & see how they work for you. Also, feel free to share some of your ideas with me in the comments below! The more tools we have at our disposal the more likely we are to be successful in silencing the nasties in our heads for good.