This is a blog about how to get over yourself. What do I mean by that?
First, here’s Urban Dictionary’s definition of “get over yourself”:
1. Don’t take yourself or your problems too seriously.
2.It means stop being so self-centered and conceited.
I think the two definitions are closely connected. When we allow our own problems or negative thoughts to take us hostage, we end up being super self-centered. And not in a “be selfish” / “self care” kinda way. (which I totally encourage!)
In a way that is self-sabotaging. Because we can no longer see the big picture. We’re so inside our heads and so convinced what we see is the truth, that we can’t get over ourselves.
And true happiness alludes us.
Depression and Anxiety rule this universe. (I know, because, sadly, I’ve lived in it before – more than once!)
All the worries of what “might happen” blind us to what actually could happen. (you know: good stuff!)
Do any of these sound self-sabotaging thoughts familiar to you?
What are people going to say?
What a big laughing stock I’ll be!
What a giant failure I’ll be!
A bag lady on the street! Obviously.
Or maybe your hurtful voices say things like this…
Who do you think you are? You’re no expert!
Do you think you are better than everyone else?
You aren’t original!
These kinds of thoughts take a ton of our energy; energy that could be spent on the “just get on with it, anyway” part.
These thoughts terrorize us until we’re convinced of their veracity and are too entrenched to take another step for fear of what might happen. (spoiler alert: usually not that worst case scenario you’ve dreamed up)
To nip these painful thoughts in the bud as soon as possible, you actually have to spend time with them.
Ugh, I know. It’s so uncomfortable.
Get something to write with and some paper, and start jotting down all the thoughts and feelings. Then go through what you’ve written down and answer these questions:
What’s the evidence?
Looking back, are there examples of this exact outcome?
Is there another outcome that is just as likely?
What’s the evidence for this alternative outcome?
How do each outcomes leave you feeling?
My biggest fear is around money. Do I have enough? Will I be successful and make enough money to support myself and my family? That actually sounds somewhat rational, so let me tell you my biggest fear (which I’ve shared with some of you before) … Will I be homeless? Will I be a bag lady on the street?
Then I have to do the hard work of questioning these thoughts.
Have I ever been homeless? If worse came to worst, could I move in with my parents or other relatives or friends? Yes. So then, it stands to reason, I wouldn’t be homeless.
Usually fear based thoughts are all that’s limiting us. And I’m not minimizing their power, by the way. These thoughts keep us trapped in an unhappy situations or paralyze us from moving forward when we need to. That’s powerful stuff.
But if we’ll sit with them a bit. Hang out, and “get curious” about them, as Brene Brown calls it.
They lose a little bit of their power with each query.
For me, this crucial part is so uncomfortable that I often take action TOO quickly. Instead of being paralyzed, I just dive head first over the cliff. Ouch. This kind of courage can be admirable. But if the motivation is simply to hurry up and make a choice, and get out of the discomfort of uncertainty, it can be its own sort of sabotage. I’ve had to work hard at being in the “R&D” stage. Research and development. Pressure test, examine, ask questions. My default is to act first and ask questions later (or more likely, apologize later!). It has sometimes worked out, but more pain than I wanted. Pain that might have been avoided if I’d done a little bit more pre-work. And plenty of lessons.
If you are a DO-er, like me, then my recommendation is to “be” more before going right into action. If you are a BE-er, then starting “doing” more. Baby steps are all that is required. But take some action.
Generally, a good rule of thumb.
But there is this important work in between. Brene Brown calls it “rumbling” with the story (your thoughts).
I call it “reckoning”.
My term might sound dramatic, but it can feel dramatic too, when you are fighting for your life against these hurtful sabotaging thoughts. The ego is a worthy opponent. And wily, because it believes it has your best interests at heart (avoid all pain, whenever and wherever possible), and will reassure you of this time and time again. But it mostly just keeps us from new experiences and critical growth.
But if we’re willing to do that in between work, ask questions and detail out the evidence; this is a chance for both sides of the brain to talk to each other. From this place, you can come to a heart based, but reasonable solution.
Left brain intuits and feels, right brain makes sense of it all, and underneath all that incredible intellectual capacity, we’ve got our old reptilian brain, which has one job: survival. (I’m no scientist, but I believe this is where to EGO resides).
If the more evolved parts of our brain (reason and emotion) can send a signal to the lizard brain, that it’s safe, then we can more easily and gracefully move forward into the unknown.
And if the voices are still shouting “don’t go in there” like an audience watching a horror movie, maybe ask the final question “what’s the worst that could happen?”.
And look at any evidence that it might happen. And evidence that another outcome is just as likely to happen.
Then laugh, call back “so what!!???” and GO FOR IT.
The world is waiting for your unique brand of awesome.