So here’s the news flash: there will always be someone prettier, smarter, thinner, wealthier….(fill in the blanks) than you and that’s okay. That really doesn’t concern you at all. What you should be totally focusing on is this: Are you growing and evolving according to your values, goals, needs, and wants? If that’s the case, you’re already pretty awesome. Go you!
If that’s not the case, figure out what it is that you want to be and start today. You must realise we’re all work in progress because the world around us is continually evolving. You can change your mind, you can be “lost”, you can take your time, you can do whatever you want, Your life …Your rules. Appreciating where you are now and being grateful for it is part of the antidote for this nagging feeling.
After years of going from self-doubt to moments when I feel I’m on top of the world, I finally realised that everything we do in life comes down to mindset and perspective. Everything happens in our mind and what we truly believe, we achieve.
Around 8 years ago, I went through one of those major “life events” that forces you to pause and reflect. I ended up asking myself two questions:
1. If I’m not happy now with what I have and where I am, how am I gonna be any happier in 10 years time?
2. Do I want to spend the next 10 years constantly feeling like I’m not good enough?
The answer was for me “no” in both instances. And I realised, if I was going to do something about it, I needed to change the way I was thinking. These questions were my starting point (plus tonnes of conversations, books, podcasts, TED talks and years of working on it!)
It might sound “simple stupid” but I am willing to bet you’ve probably wrestled with these four (not very helpful) thought processes at some point. That is, unless you’re too busy focusing on your next big thing – or have quite simply achieved everything you can with your life:
1. Fear of rejection
2. Fear of failure
3. Imposter syndrome (I don’t deserve this)
4. Vulnerability is a weakness
We all do it. The thing with us humans is that we tend to dismiss “new ideas” (no matter how simple) believing we already “know”. That is to say, we are more comfortable when we trade uncertainty for something familiar.
We’re also seduced by “magical” answers – quick-wins, silver bullets, panaceas and fix-all pills. In reality, we’re not in the Matrix here (or are we?) and change is never a simple choice between blue or red pills (not for now at least). In any case, my favourite pill would definitely be NZT (Limitless anyone?) – enhanced mental acuity is pretty epic! But let’s not go there right now. No magical answers, remember?
What I am trying to say is this: You gotta do the work, no one else will do that for you and what better time than now? YOU are enough right now, just the way you are. And if you don’t like who that is, beating yourself up won’t change it … on the other hand, finding and working on your “ruling passion” definitely will 🙂
3 effective mindtools to help you make positive changes in life
1. Identify your values
Figure out what your personal values are. What do you consider to be success/failure? How do you see the world and how do you judge yourself and others according to those values? Hint: If your values are going to be around instant gratification, material success, always being right or pretending you’re positive and happy at every step, I’ve got news for you: in the long run you will end up very unhappy. Most of us don’t understand that our best lessons come from suffering. As Freud once said, “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful”.
So maybe start looking at some good values such as: choosing to be open-minded and vulnerable, honesty, curiosity and willingness to grow and learn, respect, creativity etc. Once you flip your perspective and understand what’s valuable and meaningful to you and your life circumstances, chances are you will spend less time comparing yourself to others and feeling like you’re not good enough and you’ll work more on your personal development aligned with your new discovered values.
One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.
– Sigmund Freud
Whatever it may be that you’re going through now; whatever it is you wish to change, you must realise you’re neither the victim nor the architect of your own circumstances. No-one is that powerful. Rather, your values are the levers you use to make any personal changes you want – as long as you accept that you are “enough”. Now, some of the ways you’ve done things in the past may no longer support your values. Some people won’t fit in your life anymore. You may need to pause a bit or take a step or two backwards. And that’s all okay. Once you’ve taken the time to figure out your values, it becomes easier to take responsibility, own your actions and sustain your new direction. All because you embraced that sense of vulnerability.
3. Do the “be your own best friend” test
If you’re someone who is very critical and use negative language towards yourself when things don’t go your way, you need to stop that. It’s scientifically proven that the language we use when having an inner monologue has a powerful effect on our mindset, and therefore our behaviour. Would you say those horrible things to your best friend? I’m willing to bet good money you wouldn’t call your friend stupid, idiot, worthless. Instead, you’d try to support and encourage them. So do the same for yourself, show up for you and BE KINDER to yourself. If you mess-up, simply congratulate yourself for trying and work on doing better next time. Remember: You’re doing the best you can with the tools you have right now and that’s .. well, more than good enough.
Finally, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If like me, you feel just a little vulnerable from time to time, go ahead and watch my all-time favourite TED Talk by Brené Brown – The power of vulnerability. And remember YOU ARE ENOUGH.