36. Your Opinion of Yourself

Hello, hello everyone!  You may have noticed that I’m only doing a podcast every other week right now because, it’s just what I can do.  I’ve chosen to shift my focus on some other content that you’ll be getting access to really soon here, which I’m really excited for.  But in order to honor myself, my life-balance and yet still honor my commitment to you, because I’m still here for, I’ve decided to still bring you what I believe to be life-shifting material, just a little less often, temporarily.  My hope is that you’ll still choose to hang there with me as I pivot. 

Ok, now on to today’s topic, which is such a good one. What is your overall opinion of yourself? If you were to be honest and not hold back what would you say? if you knew no one else would ever hear that response, how would that change how are you respond?

Perhaps for some of us that would just depend on the day wouldn’t it? If all seemed right in the world and we were feeling great then I am guessing our opinions would be much more positive like “I am amazing, I can do this, I am totally committed, I totally respect myself.” Maybe our opinions would be closer to our affirmations for our self like: I am worthy of love, and I am enough, and I trust myself. It’s so much easier when things are going our way, isn’t it?

But when they are not, what is your opinion of yourself? have you left the door open for self-doubt to creep in and do you start questioning if you are enough? Do you allow other people’s opinions be worth more than your own, especially when they are opinions about who you are as a person? Maybe your opinion would be, “well, I’m not that interesting. People don’t usually laugh at what I have to say so I wish I were funnier.” Do you look in the mirror and wish you were better looking or thinner or more fit? Do you notice the wrinkles growing around your eyes or the need for more hair products so it doesn’t look like it’s just, there?

Managing our brains can be so tricky at times! I think it’s a lot like hiking up a mountain. I’m kind of embarrassed to say it, but the last time I hiked Mount Timpanogos was when I was in college. So it was almost 30 years ago and for those of you who have climbed Mount Timp, if I’m totally off on what I remember then I’m just going with: this is the story I’m telling myself and it’s helping me get through this analogy! 

So from what I remember, and I imagine a lot of mountains are like this, it’s an all day hike and you usually get up early to get started so you can make it back before the sun goes down. when you start out it’s not super steep and then there’s this really steep part and then it flattens out for a bit, but then To get to the top it eventually has to increase in altitude and it does rapidly!  And then you get to this point where you’re at the top of a smaller point on the mountain where you can still see the valley, but if you were to keep going you can still take the small dip down and then go back up to the ultimate summit of the mountain.

When we’re kids, it’s like we’re at the start of the mountain, the beginning of our journey. This is where we’re doing our warm-ups. We’re getting our muscles warm, we’re trying out our abilities and building on them.  And then we head into adulthood and we hit the first steep section of the mountain. The good news is our muscles are warm so we’re not completely unpracticed, however, we start to feel all our muscles; the ones we knew we had and some of the muscles we’ve only heard about.  And to top it off we’re finding it harder to get a good breath in.

For some, the tougher climb started after high school while facing college with a heavier homework load and trying to manage that with work and having a social life. For others, it might’ve been when you needed to find a full-time job or maybe it was in the middle of college and you got married and started having kids and we’re trying to raise kids and go to college and work, who knows. You know when your steep part started, but you got through it,  and then it leveled out and life was good.  And it was easy to love yourself and you were able to accomplish your goals.

And then right when you’re thinking this is the life I was dreaming of, something happened, and you hit another steep hill. Maybe you get injured or sick or that happens to someone in your family. Maybe you lose your dream job. Maybe you have a mountain load of work and there’s no end in sight and the piles on your desk just keep growing and growing. Maybe you did something really dumb and compromised your integrity and now you’ve got some big consequences ahead of you.

Anytime we are on a steep hill, we have a lot harder time embracing ourselves and where we are in life. Doubts about where your life is and where its heading is easy to creep in because you’re struggling to catch your breath and keep going.

OK, at this point how are you thinking about yourself? Do you think about yourself as someone who is capable of getting there? Who will keep trying until you get there? Can you focus on the future-you who’s kept going and kept persevering?  When times are hard for me, my default thoughts go to “I knew I couldn’t do it “or “I’m never going to get this.”  And in some way I go into a victim /pity me mode. That is so disempowering for me.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling a negative emotion, but when we start thinking about turning around and giving up on our journey, that’s when we really need to get to the heart of what we’re thinking and decide if it’s serving us to think that way.  Maybe it’s as simple as realizing “yeah, I messed up, and I love me anyways.”  Maybe we need to dig a little deeper and challenge ourselves to test our limits to see how far we can go.  Maybe it is to take a moment to step back, or step off the proverbial trail, and reflect on our thoughts and our future and if they are in alignment with each other.

If you allow your mind to go unwatched, and accept your negative default thoughts, it will tell you lies because it thinks it’s keeping you safe.

It’s possible that you are seeking to feel a certain way and you’re expecting something to happen to allow you to feel that way. There is no arrival point when you’ll be able to feel that way. There will be no amount of weight you’ve freed, no amount of money you’ve made, no goal that you’ve achieved, no different situation at your job that’s happened where you will finally get to feel what you’ve been searching for. Yes, you may feel it temporarily, but you are still you, and your thoughts are still there and if you haven’t learned to manage them, eventually you’ll just find another reason that you think is outside of your control, to feel the same negative feelings you were before; and that’s really disappointing.

It’s especially hard to manage the thoughts that we believe are so true; that we think are a fact. And this really matters because it plays a role in determining our opinion about ourselves. if we are desperately trying to change the circumstance that we currently have no control over, how does that affect the way you think about yourself? When we think we can’t control something we should have power over, we are at risk of feeling inadequate or anxious or disappointed or distressed or maybe you’ve got a sprinkling of all those emotions.

When you are waiting for something to change to be able to feel good, how disempowering is that for you? So, when you find a thought that is not serving you, you could 1, find proof of how that’s true. 2,  look for proof of how it’s not true, trust me you’re super smart and your brain can find whatever you want it to find. Or 3, you can just decide you’re done thinking that way.

Be aware that if your thoughts stay unchecked and you decide to just believe whatever your brain offers you, you are choosing option number 1, to find proof of how that’s true.  And you’ll spend the rest of your life looking for ways how to prove that thought true and it will continue to strengthen until you finally think it’s a fact and it’s out of your control. Whatever option you choose make sure that it’s going to serve you and help you get back on that proverbial trail moving up the mountain.

When we finally get to the top, when we’ve accomplished one of our goals, that’s the moment that you take to sit and really enjoy the view. Register the good feelings in your body and allow your brain to make a good memory of it. I was listening to a talk by Brené Brown and she was recounting a time when her and her daughter were on a small lake in a paddle boat.  At one point her daughter just kind of laid back, closed her eyes and started feeling the paddleboat with her fingers. Brené looked at her and asked her what she was doing and she told her she was logging in a memory. Such wisdom for a 10-year-old.

She inspires me too be more conscious of taking the time to log in good memories. Remember, life is 50-50. 50% positive and 50% negative. We aren’t always on the steep hill, so if you’re feeling like you are, take the wisdom from a 10-year-old and start logging in the good memories so you can feel more balance in your life and hopefully when you’re at those steep moments you will have the confidence you need to keep moving forward.

Again, I’m all for breaks. I’m all for stepping to the side and taking a breather. I believe we need that time to reconnect with ourselves and to meditate and to have fun, and our brains need it to. If we don’t give our brains a break it will start to fail us. Caring for ourselves by taking breaks also helps our opinion of ourselves because we are telling ourselves that we are worth that time to stop and regenerate and enjoy life.

OK, so remember with Timpanogos there’s a point on the mountain where you can still see the valley but if you want to reach the summit you still have a little ways to go. So, we’re at this point right now where we can see the valley, we’re feeling really good about ourselves and now we’ve got to decide, are we content with looking at the valley or do we want to test our limits and go for the summit? Only you can answer that for yourself, but going for the summit is what I refer to as leveling up or acting as our higher selves. It’s the vision we use when we are trying to gain wisdom from our future-selves. Our future-selves are at the summit. They’ve done the work, they’ve put in the time and they’ve exceeded what we thought was our current ceiling of capability.

In life, new summits will keep appearing. We’ll continue to have opportunities for personal growth and self-refinement. But now I want to bring you back to the concept that there is no final arrival point in this life. We think when something that we have no control over happens, we’ll finally get to feel what we’re desiring. And you will temporarily because that’s how you set your brain to think about it. But you don’t need to wait for that to happen. The reason why you’re finally feeling that way is because of how you’re thinking about it.

The best news ever is we have complete control over our thoughts. We might not have control over what our brains offer us, our default thoughts, however, we have complete control to decide if those thoughts are serving us and we want to keep them or if they belong in the trash. So, if you’re in a situation where you cannot change your current circumstance, don’t be discouraged. You have the power to feel better right now. And when you feel better, it’s easier to manage your brain about your opinions of yourself. Just like the day-long trip on the mountain, this work isn’t for the faint of heart. However, if you’re willing to be in it for the long haul, I’m here right beside you. Have a brilliant day and remember you are loved!

If you’re looking for a life coach, I’d love to be yours.  If you want to lose weight, better your relationships, or need help with crafting your confidence, I’ve got you!  go to myinnerlove.com and sign up for a free mini-session today.

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