It’s not your thoughts that make you suffer. It’s the thoughts you attach to them that make you suffer.
Thoughts about thoughts? Previously, my thought about all that thinking was that it was a bunch of nonsensical mental gymnastics for desperate people who wanted to escape reality. Talk about a thought!
That was life before coaching.
Some of our thoughts are not helpful or true, whereas some of our thoughts help us to cultivate courage and take trailblazing action. The brain entertains all sorts of ideas, and you are allowed to discard what is not true.
I remember the day when I realized that I did not have to believe my brain. After all, we process 60,000 thoughts a day, which means that we decide which thoughts to hang onto and which ones to release.
What if the thoughts that we believe feel familiar and questioning them feels impossible? If that sounds like you, you are not alone. I am right there with you.
It’s the lies we tell ourselves that keep us in pain and dilute our vibrance. Just think about the messages that you were taught about what was possible for you based on your gender. What if those limitations are not true? What if you have other choices? What if you can do the thing that you desire even if no one else agrees? What if…
It is your birthright to manage your brain, body, spirit, and life. You get to choose every single day. Here are some research-based strategies to help you reclaim your trailblazing power.
Ask Trailblazing Questions.
- Write down your negative thoughts.
- Ask if they are true and helpful.
- Ask who came up with those ideas. We inherited them.
- Remind yourself that you can be the architect of your mind rather than ancestors, parents, community, news pundits, or someone else.
Choose Trailblazing Thoughts
It’s your birthright to feel happy, connected, and purposeful. Once you decide that you want to be the primary influencer of your thoughts, you can look for alternative information.
- What went well today? Answer it truthfully. Gaslighting is not an option here.
- What would you do differently? This is not a shame game. It’s data about what changes you want to make.
- What did you learn about yourself? Maybe you identified a new goal or interest. Make a note.
- What would a trailblazer do? Brainstorm about a small action you can take even if you feel scared.
My Self-Trust 180
My first hurdle was to acknowledge that I felt afraid to examine my thoughts. Use questions to help me examine my thoughts because questioning fits with my values and my skills. I love to analyze. I asked myself this key question. What if it wasn’t a problem that I felt fearful? That calmed down my nervous system enough to allow me to take a peek into my thought life.
Next, I faced a choice. I could develop enough self-trust to believe that I could influence my approach to circumstances, or I could continue to believe that I had no control over my thoughts.
That’s when I came face to face with THE foundational thought that I believed so deeply I didn’t even realize it was present. It sounded like this. “I am the victim.” Period. What a painful awakening. I mean, I have a Ph.D. in women’s and gender studies, and I know all the research about the limiting social conditioning of women and girls. However, my inner patriarchy ran the show in partnership with some really clear childhood lessons that were still rattling around in my brain.
It finally made sense why I felt so angry when someone encouraged me to take a risk, to feel confident, or to shift my mindset to create a different outcome. I did not believe that I was in control of my life which meant that I was not in control of my thoughts and feelings. No wonder I felt afraid. What a gift to recognize that in myself.
Over the past five years, I unearthed some of my most limiting beliefs. For example, I was raised with a scarcity, victim mindset. My father died suddenly when I was two and the people who raised me built a victim narrative around that experience. Because it carved out a space for a single mother in a community where stereotypical gender roles were reinforced, my mother embraced the widow persona. She was a widow who needed help. As a result, my childhood was steeped in learned helplessness. I believed that I needed help, that I needed someone to save me, and that chances are that no one would save the day. What a perfect storm of conflicting circumstances and gender conditioning that resulted in conflicting feelings
Shame and frustration at the shame.
Fear and the desire to feel confident.
Reluctance and trailblazing.
It’s the lies we tell ourselves that keep us in pain and out of our brilliance. Just think about the messages that you were taught about what was possible for you based on your gender, for example. What if those limitations are not true? What if you have other choices? Hint: you do have other choices.