Do you find you often assume the outcome of something before you have even taken the action?
For example, you want to contact someone you'd love to work with. But before you have even taken the first step, your mind has already jumped to thoughts like:
why they might not reply
you should drop it, it's going to take so long to write up a proposal and what if it's all for nothing?
what you need to do have in place before you reach out
they may say no
Why is it that even when we have all of the information and ability to take an action we are excited about... negative thoughts still get in the way?
You know somewhere in your mind that these thoughts aren't actually real. There are so many potentialities, positive ones too, yet why is it so hard to move past these? They show up and often times, lead us to self-sabotage and miss out on deeply enriching opportunities in our lives, all because we took these automatic negative thoughts as truth and didn't know how to manage them.
If you've ever unsuccessfully coached yourself in such moments and tried to sprinkle a set of positive comebacks at that negativity, here's why it doesn't work:
We can’t talk, research or think our way out of negative thought patterns.
You can't fight thought with thought.
We don't take action based on what we know, we take action based on how we feel.
Although there are some nuances between what it means to have a feeling and an emotion, don’t get bogged down in the rhetoric of these terms.
The most important thing is to first understand yourself. Whatever is happening inside of you needs to be understood by you! Even if you happen to go through therapy or counselling, no one will ever truly be able to tell you about what you’re experiencing within.
This is a journey that we all have to navigate for ourselves. And finding a way to connect and influence your own feelings at any given moment is a good place to start.
It should become obvious over time that information is not enough for you to resolve the negative thoughts that stop you from going after your dreams. Because if it were true that information alone was sufficient, this is something every one would have mastered already, — by reading more books or doing more research, right? So there must be something else.
We need to connect with our emotions if we wish to transform our behaviour and attitude towards a challenge such as this one.
Our entire system of education is in some ways a psychological trap that leads us to believe that the answers to our most important questions lie outside of ourselves.
One place to start is getting curious about the stories that show up in these moments. Our brain is just trying to protect us from danger. Anything uncomfortable and unknown sends of alarm bells and so, fear-based feelings and thoughts show up. It's pretty normal. Once I understood this, I was able to influence my mindset a little better.
"Hey brain, I know you're only trying to protect me because this is something new.
It's okay, I see you. Let's do it anyway."
Visualise How You Want to Feel
To get into flow, taking the time to visualise exactly how you wish to feel in the process is an instant way to connect to your emotions.
A key thing here, notice I didn't say to visualise the outcome you wish to create. While sometimes this can be motivating, you can't actually control the outcome no matter what you do which could lead to greater disappointment, and we're back where we started. So why not focus on what you can actually control, which is you and the input that goes into the next step.
Did you know your brain can't distinguish the difference between something real and something imagined? Now imagine if every time you had a limiting belief show up, you replaced it with strong thoughts, images and feelings of the reality you actually wanted. How much would that shift your life and your character over time?
Learn a Spiritual Practice
To transform this in the long term, we must go through the process of unlearning. Learning a spiritual practice that allows you to connect with something beyond your mind and body is one of the best ways to do so. One year ago, I got serious about yoga and meditation and not the 15-min yoga sequences you see on YouTube. The practices I do now are simple, few and profound and started off with me just sitting in silence for 5-min in the beginning. If you're interested in finding out more, send me a message!
Journaling and developing mantras for yourself are a great way to rewire the neurological pathways in our brain and implement new thinking patterns that serve rather than limit us.
A key thing is, they actually need to resonate with you emotionally. Quality over quantity!
Here are some that have been helpful for me when I find myself getting too caught up in overthinking and over-preparing:
Everything meant for me will always find its way to me.
The possibilities for me are endless!
My brain is only trying to protect me, thank you, I see you. Now let’s do this!
By practicing these consistently, over time, your subconscious will start to replace these automatic negative thoughts with empowering ones!
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Share it with a friend who you think would love it too and do reach out -- I'd love to hear your story and what resonated most with you from this article!
Lina Vasquez is a Holistic Learning Coach, YouTuber and Co-Founder of A Life OnPurpose & LVL Holistic Learning. Her work seeks to revolutionise the education sector by fostering deep, holistic, human connection on a global level; doing so in 7 languages.