I had the pleasure of speaking to a support group a few weeks ago about the power of gratitude, destination addiction, and how your limiting beliefs dictate more about your quality of life than you could even imagine.
I am going to summarize my discussion and perhaps you can walk away from this article with a new tool in your back pocket for when life seems harder than you feel you can manage.
The truth is that life can really suck some times and we need strategies and tools for coping with overwhelm, loss and uncertainty seem too much to carry. So let’s get started!
Gratitude: I used to think this was a bunch of crazy, feel good nonsense. Until the day came where I found myself out of options, on my knees begging to find a way out of the life I had found myself barely surviving. I started my gratitude practice trying to find three things each day that I was grateful for. I felt like an ass in the beginning, and nothing I mentioned seemed to really hit my heart or make a difference. But I kept at it and as I did, I dug a little deeper each day. Eventually, I was waking up looking for the things that made me feel grateful and because I was looking for those things, I was no longer focusing on things that brought me stress and sadness. I realized all these beautiful things had always been there but I had lost my focus on them. If you need help starting your own gratitude practice, take a look at my Gratitude Transformation Journal. It can change your life. Cultivate a response of gratitude and you will see blessings all around you … even in the dark.
Destination Addiction: This is the phenomenon that many of us fall victim to and it is a mindset where we hear ourselves saying, “I will be happy when …” And then, as soon as we arrive at that destination we say again, “I will be happy when …” and we set another target. We are never happy. The problem with this mindset is that we are living off in an uncertain future with a moving target of happiness. To combat this, you must first become aware of when you hear that voice inside your head saying this and then actively pull yourself into the present moment to find something RIGHT NOW that makes you happy, brings you joy or makes you feel gratitude . We need to learn to be happy NOW, with what we have, and where we are in life. For more about how to practice happiness, see Happy on Purpose: What Happy People Do Differently.
Limiting Beliefs: These little scripts can form in a millisecond. The moment when your ex screams at you that you are a “worthless, lazy slob” … then that script gets filed in this moment of turmoil. Flash forward a few years and you are struggling and you make a mistake and your inside voice confirms why you have done so. “I keep making mistakes. I am a worthless, lazy slob!” You will not remember where that programming script came from but it weighs heavy on your soul. A parent dies and you tell yourself, “Nothing will ever be good again!” and as you move ahead in life nothing ever seems good. The best approach here is to think about defining moments in your life and uncover the scripts and programming that was formed in that moment and address it. Am I really a worthless, lazy slob? If you can’t find proof to support that claim then you let go of it but remain aware that it once bounced around in your head because they can be sticky and hard to toss. For more about limiting beliefs, see WTF to OMG.
When you find yourself lost, take a moment and sit with your struggle. Get to know it and understand what is “really” going on inside your heart and mind. You can feel better, if you think differently because our thoughts create these emotions we struggle with challenges arise!