There is one person we hear the most, one trusted individual that guides our every move – ourselves. We are powerful in our messaging, strategically navigating our lives in hopes of reaching our full potential. How we plan to get there is yet to be determined and seems to change with the seasons. It demands an incredible sense of personal responsibility, focus and drive to achieve, yet often we are paralyzed in our forward movement. Our mind has an ability to actively work against us in pursuit of a different path; the path of least resistance.
Why? Because what we want takes risk. From the smallest of things, to the most grandiose, these risks are perceived by the brain as threats, and our natural instincts are to avoid them. When we listen to ourselves, the messaging is often quite influential. We create justifiable reasons to halt forward movement and rationalize our desire to minimize effort. We do this quite well, yet it tends to only cause more harm as we often sit in regret and self-defamation. The tendency to beat ourselves up yields no positive outcome – thinking poorly about oneself will not motivate you out of the rut you are in, it will actually have the inverse effect.
But we do it, swiftly and harshly. We are painfully aware of our own perceived flaws, making it easy for our brain to float our weaknesses to the surface to make our biggest fears become our reality. The harsher we can be, the less likely we are to begin our pursuit toward our goals. Our brain wants us to avoid risks and often the fear is so profound that we wait for a more convenient time and place that will not arrive. So, we rest in our potential.
It is incredibly exciting to imagine your own potential, yet terrifying to walk the road to fulfill it. So, more often than not, we take the easy road. We sit in our potential and plan to fulfill it another day. Only, tomorrow will be harder than today. Planning is more like the backward movement of a slingshot than a step forward. It only helps when you let go and embark on the forward movement that propels you to the next level. A plan is nothing more than an idea, a path to fulfill your potential, until it is put into action. Think about how many plans you have made in your life. How many did you act on? They may even still be good ideas, but right now, they are nothing more than ideas. This is the conundrum we are in. Fear. Fear is our biggest mountain to climb. It is not something to “overcome”. It is a never-ending quest to break through barriers that your mind sets for yourself to avoid risks and perceived threats.
Rest assured - fear does have a function. A very important one at that. But fear doesn’t know that it is causing you pain. It doesn’t know that it is preventing you from accomplishing your goals. It doesn’t care. It only wants to prevent you from getting hurt. We can respect and appreciate that. And we can also decide when it’s going to win or lose. Because everyone, at some point in their lives, in some way or another, will be forced to battle their fears. To face them head on. And in those moments, we will need to decide whether or not to listen to fear, or to talk to it.
When you give your fears the microphone, you give it the power, the center stage, and you will now listen quietly - to yourself, to your fears, receiving guidance for a direction you don’t really want to go. But like in any conversation, when YOU speak your voice is heard, and in this case, it’s heard by someone who has been listening to you your entire life - you. To step up on the stage isn’t easy, but when you do, the power of your narrative - of your direction - now lies with you. Not with fear.
You may also find this new narrative to be familiar, as if you’ve heard it before. At some point in your life, someone told you that you were great. That you did well. And that you could do it. Did you listen? Or was the voice in your head louder? Were you still listening to your fear? It’s okay if you did. You aren’t alone. Our general tendency is to listen to ourselves because the frequency and duration of our thoughts are unmatched. Plus, we know ourselves better than anyone else... Right? Well, maybe we don’t. Maybe our lifelong bias against ourselves actually blinds us from seeing all the amazing things we can do. Maybe all the negative thinking that has been based solely in fear and imagination has morphed our perspective to the point where we can’t see ourselves clearly. If thats the case, maybe its time we believe it when others tell us we are great. Maybe its time to listen to what others tell us and tell ourselves the same. That we can do it. We are worthy.
Listen to others, talk to yourself. Practice it everyday. You may find you start to believe what they say. And more importantly, start to believe what you say.