"Until you make peace with who you are,
you'll never be content with what you have." - Doris Mortman
This quote lands well for me, as we walk the walk of learning to listen to our potential, and live it. I’ve been lost in the misunderstanding that what I have is the key to happiness and peace, more times than I can count. Yet, again and again, I’m shown that it is who I am becoming along this thing called life that holds the seeds for the greatest fulfillment, joy, and satisfaction.
It has been increasingly evident that the by-product of a focus on who I am becoming, leads to the possibility of having that which I used to chase anyway. Where we begin is by becoming clear on the ideas we hold about ourselves, and how those self created and enforced ideas run our lives.
I had an example this week where someone visiting me brought to my attention old ideas I hold about myself. This further surfaced how the ideas limit me socially, in business, and above all, enjoying my life. As we seek to fulfill our potential, there are gates we must cross along the way. Through these gates we move inch by inch towards the inner satisfaction and wellbeing we crave. Clarity of our own self concept and the ways it influences us, and impacts others, is a big one.
At different points of our lives we make and hold decisions about who we are or are not. These fixed perceptions can be what hold us back. Depending on the idea, they can leave us feeling as if we are a fragmented version of what we know our potential to be.
Imagine a dream partner walked into your life, but you could do nothing much to evolve that relationship — because somewhere along the way you decided that ‘I’m not good at love’.
Imagine you were offered the dream role / chance to build the company you have longed for, but you sabotaged it — because somewhere along the way you decided you are not worthy of the life you aspire to most.
These ideas we hold about ourselves shut down possibilities in our lives. Then perpetuate the feelings we are attempting to move beyond. If we are not aware of this, we can find ourselves in a negative feedback loop. When our lives feel incomplete we may find ourselves seeking for the next, person, place, thing to fill the void. Thus continuing the cycle.
By way of example:
I had a guest visit me for the past week. During our time together she mirrored to me the man she experienced was one that opposed much of my own self perception. Kind, strong, stable, safe. The line that hit me like a ton of bricks, ‘tender hearted’. Immediately, this brought to my attention all the decisions I made years ago about who I was and was not. Being tender hearted certainly wasn’t part of it.
A few years ago I had unknowingly made the decision that I was often closed off to people. Insensitive. And in that decision, the idea stuck, influencing me like a thorn in my arm. Holding back from engaging more socially, and allowing myself to be fully in my relationships, this idea that I’m closed off, created exactly what I decided was the truth about me.
The only reason why I was able to see it is because I’m doing the opposite of what I would have done in the past. For example, not having guests over at all. I am going against the grain of my comfortable norm. As I do, it offers a mirror for the way I see myself, to evolve. In doing so, I’m given a chance to make new decisions about myself and the life I am creating.
This increasingly moves me to feel aligned with the potential that is inherent within me.
No matter what decision you may be weighing right now.
No matter what opportunities are in front of you.
No matter the challenges.
Take some time to become clear on the ideas you hold of yourself that are influencing what may come next. Capture those ideas of you on paper. Then, go deeper.
What is the influence they are having at this moment in time? This decision, relationship, etc.
What are the feelings they are entangled with?
(If you are finding that they are feelings of shame, frustration, fear, grief, pride, this is an opportunity. This is an opportunity to create a stronger relationship within yourself. As you do, and the feelings begin to shift (as they are ready), your life will begin to evolve, as your idea of you changes.)
Finally — what could be possible if those feelings and beliefs of yourself were let go?
It begins by seeing the way you see yourself.
As for me, I’m going to spend some time with this mirror of being tender hearted, and how that is a gift to my life. Rather than something to avoid or suppress.
Keep listening. Each moment offers a chance to move further into the life you seek.