You are your own worst enemy.
Which sucks because really, you should be your own best friend.
You know you should be. And you are. Sometimes. Except when you’re not.
Sometimes you even see it in action: the self-limiting thoughts that incessantly swarm in your head like mosquitos on a hot, humid evening driving you nuts:
“I’m such a mess! I’ll never get it together.”
“Why hasn’t that client called back? Did I mess up?”
“Why aren’t I further along?”
While potentially devastating, it’s also pretty predictable.
My morning demon
The demon that sneaks in while I’m still laying in bed in the morning starts off with a judgmental thought like:
“I should be further along in my business. Look at how far along so-and-so is. Why can’t I do this??”
Bam! In 1.1 seconds, the cozy, warm yummy feeling of just waking up is replaced with agitation.
And then the dreaded snowball effect. You know this one, yes? If you allow these thoughts to stew, they create a larger and larger feeling of crappy-crap.
By the time I get out of bed, my brow is heavy and mood dark. Sometimes a voice chimes in: Is this really how you want to start your day??
Of course not. So then I spend a bunch of time working myself out of this hole and back to neutral ground. This leaves me exhausted—and I haven’t even had breakfast yet.
Not only does being your own worst enemy feel crappy, it wastes your precious (not to mention very limited) energy, holds you back, and keeps you small.
To clarify, we’re talking about:
– negative self-talk,
– unrealistic expectations,
– should demons,
– worry of things you have no control over,
– worry over something small that’s blown to outlandish proportions,
– denying your inner wisdom,
– conflicting priorities, and
– not taking care of yourself.
Ya know, that kind of stuff.
They make things Hard. Really hard. Maybe even debilitatingly hard.
They weigh on your psyche, seep into other parts of your life, and mess with your can-do attitude.
Be who you are here to be
My friend: what you are doing out there in the world is already challenging enough.
You need all systems on board and functioning properly. You need YOU on your team cheering you on, making your coffee in the morning with love, and being your own BFF.
Tweet this quote!
And you can!
It’s tempting to want to get rid of those nasty thought patterns completely, but
1) that’s pretty close to impossible, and
2) why set up an expectation that can’t be reached any time soon (and thus opens the door for a sense of failure)?
Some 20 years ago when I was in college, the morning demon had the power to bring me to tears, literally.
I felt victimized by its grip on my mind and I had no idea of what to do about it. It was awful.
Now, I have tools and awareness that prevent the morning demon from getting the best of me.
It’s not that I’m immune to that downward spiral thought process, it’s that over the years I’ve learned how to pull the plug early in the process.
Block Busters & Flow Facilitators
Diffusing the power of my morning demon is as simple as thinking, “Oh, you again? I see you, punk,” and then getting out of bed. Yah. That simple.
But if I don’t call him out and get up… It’s a different story.
This works effectively because of two categories of tools:
- Creating a culture that supports your flow (Well-being)
- Catching the negativity as soon as possible (Awareness)
1. Create a culture that supports your flow.
This is the same principle of your healthy gut: probiotics support the good bacteria in your body and make it hard for the harmful bacteria to get a foothold and cause problems.
It’s a proactive approach that focuses on cultivating the good rather than obsessing on the bad… The intention being to relax and let go of perfectionist tendencies in order to create a culture of acceptance and flow.
Your internal eco-system is affected by the state of your body, mind and spirit. I’m going to assume you have awareness of good practices for taking care of yourself—I’m not going to cover that here.
Instead, I want to call attention to two aspects that don’t get enough face time in the conversation of caring for your well-being.
A. The characteristics of a healthy inner culture include compassion, patience, and gratitude.
Ironically, these can be toughest to extend to yourself when doing the things that are intended to benefit your well-being.
For ex. Going down the path of guilt when you don’t stick to your exercise plan. Being hard on yourself for having another cappuccino. Getting frustrated with yourself for skipping meditation again.
So take extra care to be kind to yourself when cultivating your good habits for rest, exercise, nourishment, seeking inspiration, cultivating relationships etc.
Q: What’s one way you can be more kind to yourself? (If you’re willing, please share in the comments section so that we can all benefit!)
B. Your brain uses a lot of energy.
It’s like a muscle. The more tired it is, the harder it is to function well—and here’s the kicker: the more susceptible you are to negative thought patterns.
This also means that you have a more difficult time with willpower, self-control, decision making, and priority setting when you are tired or poorly nourished.
When you are chronically under-rested and messing with your blood-sugar levels you are giving the thought demons a much easier chance of grabbing hold when they pop up.
Q: How can you nourish your brain and care for your body’s energy levels?
2. Catch the negativity ASAP.
Have you ever had to pull out a mature tree with roots? It’s Not Easy.
Have you ever pulled a 3-inch sprout (that would’ve become a tree given enough time)? Easy.
When you set the intention to halt your negative thought patterns, you begin to catch them earlier and earlier in their lifecycle.
When you notice one, be kind to yourself AND firm. Not kinda firm. Hard Core firm (while still being compassionate with yourself).
Negative thought patterns thrive in partial awareness. SHINE the spotlight on it, full force. Acknowledge the thought and the feeling in your body that it’s creating.
You’ll probably notice that this is much easier when you’ve been cultivating your healthy inner culture. For example, if you’re tired, then you might catch the awareness but not have the energy to do anything about it.
Q: What’s one thing you might say to yourself if you catch a negative thought pattern?
The combo of cultivating both your healthy inner ecosystem and your awareness of the negative thought patterns will develop into your own simple and powerful process for liberation.
The mindful dance to freedom
Your mind is the key to your experience of life, to your authentic success, and to creating the life you want to live.
And it just so happens that learning to better manage your mind is the primary motivation of the Natural Professional!
There are numerous strategies for working with self-sabotage—but these all come after awareness. So let’s wrap this up with a few questions to hone in on the culprits that threaten to bring you down.
For maximum effect, journal about them or discuss with a confidante… getting the answers to the light of day (rather than just rattling around in your head) helps expand awareness & defeat the thought pattern:
- When are you most susceptible to negative thought patterns? br>(Time of day? Tiredness level? When stressed?)
- Is there a pattern for when they tend to arise? br>(After you look at someone’s website? After you meet with a certain person? When you pay bills?)
- Is there one thought-pattern in particular that repeatedly appears? br>(Directed toward yourself? Toward someone else? General gloom and doom?)