When our life expands, we realize goals, our dreams manifest – when things are great – we can actually experience discomfort at the newness, and sometimes even self-sabotage, unconsciously, to keep ourselves from moving into unknown territory.
We all deserve to be happy, to bring our special gifts to the world, to live our dreams!
How can we learn to recognize and move through the discomfort of wonderful newness?
Here are 5 tips I’ve used in learning to accept goodness with grace.
I hope you’ll find them helpful! And I wish you oodles of goodness in your life.
1. Address the saboteur
“We all have a saboteur,” says family physician and founder of the College of Mind Body Spirit Medicine, Dr. Divi. “Your saboteur is the voice that says, ‘Who are you to think you’re special?’, ‘Who are you to think you can do anything great?’, ‘Who are you to want more than this?’”
Sound familiar? Yeah, me too.
“I want you to recognize that it’s normal, and that if you push your saboteur away, it will get bigger. So just be aware of it, see it, and possibly even love it,” she says, explaining that there is only love or fear.
This image is tacked to the wall above my desk as a daily reminder of which side of the line I need to be on.
Your saboteur operates in the realm of fear.
“What helps is to remind yourself that when the saboteur is active it’s dialing 911. It’s like, ‘What if this doesn’t work out?!’” Dr. Divi says.
3 steps to recognize and honour your saboteur
“The first step is just to recognize your saboteur,” says Dr. Divi. “The reason it’s so loud is because it’s never been heard. Sit in meditation and hear it.”
“The second step is to allow it to be there. When you hear it, you have to train your mind to recognize it’s just your saboteur. Say to it, ‘I see you’re there, but I’ve got this.’”
The third step, says Dr. Divi, is to show your saboteur the positive vision that you’ve created for your life, and invite it to come along for the ride.
Put fear in the back seat
To which Forleo says, “I love the metaphor that you shared: ‘fear’s going to be in the car but it’s going to be in the back seat. It’s not going to drive.’”
“Or choose the snacks, or hold the map, or touch the radio,” adds Gilbert. “Fear doesn’t get to make any decisions.”
“Your homework,” says Dr. Divi, to maintain the practice of recognizing and honouring your saboteur, “is to be aware of how you’re feeling.”
“Are you in that quiet place of serenity, connection and love?”
“Or are you in that place of doubting yourself and worrying, judging, comparing?”
2. Transcend upper limits
Sometimes we create upper limits on our joy, our success, our relationships, our health.
When I picked up a copy of psychologist Gay Hendrick’s book, The Big Leap, last year I was struck by the beauty and simplicity of his concept of the “Upper Limit Problem”.
To make incredible leaps, “we must practice a specific skill,” says Hendricks. “That skill is to identify and transcend our Upper Limit, wherever and whenever we encounter it.”
“The glass ceiling [you’re] operating under is held in place by a single problem,” he says: your Upper Limit.
Once you see the problem and how to solve it, you’re “free to go beyond ordinary success to a new and extraordinary level of abundance, love and creativity in [your life].”
It’s important to be mindful of upper-limiting thoughts and recognize that it’s an ongoing practice.
Says Hendricks, “It's best to think of our quest as a continuing journey of transcending upper limits”
I love it! Isn’t that an amazing intention?
Any time I experience uncomfortable, negative, fearful feelings, I ask myself if I’m upper-limiting.
It can transform the way I feel, from glum to gleeful, in just seconds. Try it!
Adopt The Big Leap’s Ultimate Success Mantra
“I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.”
How can you feel bad about inspiring others to expand? You can’t.
3. Cultivate your inner cheerleader
Just like we have a saboteur, we also have an inner cheerleader!
We must get in the practice of dusting off our pom-poms, putting on our pleated skirts, and creating some seriously snazzy choreography to go along with our cheers!
No matter how small the success – you meditated for 5 minutes, you took a deep breath before saying something cruel – we must celebrate it.
Inner cheerleading builds self-trust (read more about self-trust here), and self-trust gives you the conviction that you can handle whatever life throws at you – whether it's a painful setback or an enormous success.
4. Embrace your inspiration squad
Certain people in your circle, whether it’s your partner, your parents or your best childhood friend, always give you a boost when you need it.
They always celebrate your success as though it were their own.
They truly believe that you deserve all of the goodness that’s coming your way.
Embrace those people, shower them with love, and give them back that same spirit-boosting goodness.
5. Practice gratitude
Do not overlook the power of gratitude! Gratitude is a potent practice that benefits mind, body and spirit.
The Harvard Medical School newsletter article In Praise of Gratitudestates, “The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
A recent article in Maclean’s magazine titled Why gratitude could be good for your health, says, “recent work by trail-blazing neuroscientists, cardiologists, psychologists and educators [reveal] the direct effects of gratitude not just on happiness, but on romantic relationships, health and brain function. Gratitude can reduce symptoms that exacerbate diseases, and in children and youth, it can help develop self-awareness and community-mindedness, even boost academic performance.”
UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center published findings from a recent study on the “neural nuts and bolts of gratitude. The researchers found that grateful brains showed enhanced activity in two primary regions: the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). These areas have been previously associated with emotional processing, interpersonal bonding and rewarding social interactions, moral judgment, and the ability to understand the mental states of others.”
An NPR press release cites the lead author of a study involving “186 men and women who had been diagnosed with asymptomatic (Stage B) heart failure for at least three months,” UC San Diego professor of family medicine and public health, Paul J. Mills. “We found that more gratitude in these patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health,” says Mills. “We found that those patients who kept gratitude journals for those eight weeks showed reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers, as well as an increase in heart rate variability while they wrote. Improved heart rate variability is considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk,” he says. “It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart, and that gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health.”
Read 5 tips for a powerful journaling practice, and get started today!