Every morning I typically start my day reading various news and articles and this morning was no different. Except that in my morning reads I read an article that contained a few phrases that hit me like a punch to the gut. Every now and then as we plug along in our lives of mundane mindless activities, something throws a wrench into the the very mechanics of our being. I wasn’t reading anything that I thought would be so thought provoking, it was just another article on the “keys to success,” except this one contained a few phrases that got to me and I can only blame maturity for them having any significance to me at all. One phrase in particular hit me right between the eyes, ”Some body once told me the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous.
Wow! Think about for that for a second. Realizing on your last day that you didn’t live up to the potential of who you absolutely could have been. Because once is all we get but if you do it right, it will leave you wanting for nothing. I don’t know about you but I often feel like there is this alternate universe where I’m happy, have a honest loving relationship, have a great job and have time and money to do what I want. I’ve thought an awful lot about this in the past couple of years, and have talked with others about this as well, and one thing that I think is really at the heart of why so many of us don’t live the lives we want or feel free to be who we really want to be is that we don’t feel worthy of it. I know many things in my life have pointed to me not feeling worthy. I didn’t feel worthy of happiness in any of its various forms be it personally or professionally. I’ve always felt that if I was happy in one area that I couldn’t be happy in another, that the universe could only handle so much of my happiness. How ridiculous? Obviously this isn’t something that I said to myself or was even aware of on a conscious level, it was a hidden belief about myself and I continued to put myself in situations that would reinforce that basic belief.
Last year I started actively working and challenging some of my deep seeded beliefs about myself and the world around me and it has opened my eyes. I’m not the type of person who reads every self-help book out on the market or spends hours on “daily affirmations or empowering statements or putting things into the universe” but I don’t think I have all the answers, so I’m willing to seek out knowledge from other people, even therapists from time to time. What I’ve started to realize is that just doing affirmations does not help! Especially if you don’t believe it and don’t back it up with action, so I started to approach this belief about myself in a completely different way.
If I want to believe that “I am worthy” then I needed to define for myself actions that indicated “worthiness.” So instead of having index cards on my bathroom mirror that tell me “I’m worthy and I love you” I’ve started asking myself when faced with challenging situations in my life “would a person who is worthy act in this way or accept this type of behavior?” Affirmations just remind me that I don’t feel that way and need to remind myself of it everyday! I’d rather focus on what I’m doing to prove my worth than talk about it.
Because when you are trying to repair any damaged relationship, even the one with yourself, you have to prove your are serious, you have to provide proof that something has changed and that you are taking things seriously, and you have to acknowledge that you haven’t done right by the relationship. It does no good to just talk about change you actually have to put your actions behind it. I know I’m capable of so much more! I know that I want so much more and I know that I’ve accepted so much less; up till now. There isn’t a person in my life who doesn’t have this same issue. We all have ideas that limit what we do and how we do it and all of that limits our dreams however big or small.
Maybe that limiting thought is that we have to work for someone else in order to have money or happiness. Maybe we don’t believe that the we can be in a loving relationship with someone who truly loves us flaws and all. Maybe we don’t think we are as smart or creative as others. Maybe we think we have to do things the way our parents did or the way society thinks things should be done. Maybe we think if we don’t make others like us we can’t have what we want. Maybe we don’t think we are attractive, no matter how many times someone else tells us. I know I’ve been guilty of that, which is why I’ve sometimes been attracted to people who are emotionally stunted and wouldn’t tell me they thought I was pretty or looked nice. I know for myself that my belief that “I’m not worthy and I don’t deserve it” has driven the types of relationships I’ve allowed myself to get into and caused me not to pursue jobs or opportunities I knew I could do because of fear of failure and even success.
I have only recently realized that part of the reason I limit myself is so that I don’t inspire or ignite my mother’s jealousy. I didn’t realize that I had aligned myself with my mom years ago. I always thought we were so separate but that relationship has truly defined many things in my life. I’ve done much of what I’ve done to spite her, so I only succeeded to a certain point, so that I could get just far enough ahead to be considered beneficial for her and give her bragging rights, but not too much as to make her or anyone else feel bad. And here I thought my bad relationship with my father was the thorn in my side. Surprise! In murder mysteries it’s always the butler and in life it’s always mom; good or bad.
Fake it till you make it. That’s the strategy I’m going with at the moment and I’m doing what a “worthy” person would do. I’ve not accepted job offers that I know aren’t what I want which is huge for me. I know what I want because I’ve taken the time to define it. I’m negotiating my salary which is new territory for me as well. And I’m being more conscious about dating as well. I’m not just going out with anyone and I’m not willing to accept someone who isn’t willing and ready to be in an actual relationship. No more one-night stands or “situationships” were there is no real commitment. And I’m certainly not going to date people who don’t have the characteristics that I have defined as important to me like integrity, honestly, ability to communicate, openness, and ability to love.
I know there is so much more out there for me and I’m now willing and able to go after it. Trust me that isn’t easy and it doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days when I go down rabbit holes and get lost, BUT I know how to find my way back and I know that some of the beliefs I’ve operated from aren’t the truth. I’m willing to try something different so that I can have something different in my life. I’m hoping that I won’t end up in hell. My goal is to make sure that whenever my end comes and if I have even 5 minutes to think about my life that I’m happy with what I did and how I lived. I have also come face to face with another phrase by Buddha “the trouble is, you think you have time.” I realize that I don’t and I need to get to it if I want to avoid this hell.