About one year ago I made self-care my number one priority. I believed that if I was in a strong state of mind, emotionally healthy, and physically fit, then I could do anything. I allowed myself to dream. I encouraged myself to dream bigger.
I gave myself the grace and the space to learn what makes me tick, what makes me happy, sad, moves me, makes me want to turn away or go inside, makes me laugh, and what is fun.
I traveled the world, made new friends, had romances, tried new activities, learned new things, lost old friends, went deeper spiritually, saw poverty, dealt with physical limitation, spent time alone, became concerned about consumerism, and experienced the pure joy of being in the moment.
Prior to this, for as long as I could remember I’d had an internal battle in which I was always telling myself I wasn’t in the right place. It caused me to rush and not enjoy my life. When I was checking email for work, for example, at the same time I’d be feeling I should be meditating instead.
Or I’d be at yoga and I’d tell myself, “I’m such a slacker, I should be spending these hours working.”
I could never win, and I was doing it to myself.
Does this sound familiar? Are you sabotaging yourself in a similar way?
As an entrepreneur I am totally responsible for my time. I was always in the wrong place doing the wrong thing. Until I realized that was just a story I was telling myself.
Who said I was in the wrong place? I did. Who said I was doing the wrong thing? I did.
What stories are you telling yourself?
Two weeks ago I saw Dr. Joe Dispenza, the author of Becoming Supernatural, at Hay House Live in Toronto speak. He said, “The moment you make a different choice, get ready.”
This is when your life will change.
If you want to change, if you want to be a different person, then you have to change. You have to do something different in order to get a different result.
I made a different choice. That story I was telling myself about never being in the right place at the right time had to go away. It was torturing me.
What story are you telling yourself that’s keeping you stagnant? Or worse, what excuse are you telling yourself that’s keeping you from spreading your wings? There are no limitations. Only possibilities.
I started telling myself, “There is plenty of time for everything important.” I’m a huge fan of Jess Lively and I’m on Einstein time, after all. I stopped saying “I should be doing this” or I should be somewhere else” and created a new story. It went like this: I am exactly where I need to be right now. There is plenty of time. Everything important will happen.
With that belief, and with self-care my number one priority, I hoped that everything, from my work, to my relationships, my schedule, spiritual practice, my social life, my communication, and more, would flow more easily, be higher quality, and be more effective.
I also believed the ease, quality, and effectiveness would be proportional to my self-care practice.
I began doing the work. I actually changed my thoughts. First, I had to become aware of my beliefs and patterns. Then I replaced negative thoughts with positive, empowering affirmations. I visualized. I reminded myself each day what I had “won” at. I meditated. When I got anxious or worked up, I took three deep breaths. If I got emotionally charged about something, I took a walk. If I was afraid of something, I asked myself what that fear was really about.
I had difficult conversations. I asked for permission to have these difficult conversations before having them. This has a way of getting someone’s attention, by the way. It also allows you to be vulnerable, which in turn creates a safe space for the person you are talking to, to also be vulnerable. In vulnerability, there is compassion. In compassion, there is love. In love, there are solutions.
The best thing about all this is that it’s a practice. You don’t have to be good at any of it. What matters is that you do it.
The space created in these practices is stillness. That is where the answers are. Over time, with more practice, the more you will get know how your body, heart, and mind connect to take you to a calm, relaxed state.
With more practice you’ll be able to go to that place on demand. When you make decisions from your highest emotional state, do you have better results? Chances are, yes.
Creating the new, empowering story I am exactly where I need to be right now. There is plenty of time. Everything important will happen coupled with making self-care my number one priority did lead to higher quality interactions and more productive work. But the biggest benefit was the one I didn’t see coming: happiness.
The key that unlocks the door to happiness is knowing yourself. Give yourself access.