What you will learn:
How to find the negative beliefs that are ruling over your life.
How I went from needy and out-of-control, to finding sanity.
There’s nothing wrong with you, you just need to change your thinking.
Hey everyone! Welcome to podcast #2, and this is all about rules. What rules we have in our life, how they’re affecting our life experience, and how to work on changing them to have a better life.
I’m just going to dive right in because this is such an important concept, and it’s really exciting how much possibilities it can open up for big change in your life.
Ok. So according to the online dictionary, a rule is: A principle or regulation that governs conduct, action, procedure, etc.
Notice it doesn’t say that a rule is the truth. Or that a rule is a definite reality. It is simply a regulation of conduct. It is something that we believe in, and choose to follow.
So when I’m talking here about “rules”, I’m talking our own personal rules. The rules we keep in our head — those often unspoken but expected and unquestioned beliefs that we have about ourselves and what happens around us. These beliefs have become so much the norm for us that we probably aren’t even fully aware that we have them — it’s become the way we have come to normally think.
If you want to rule at your life and take control of how you show up for yourself, you’re going to have to look at the rules you are choosing to follow in your life. And if you really want change, you’re gonna have to tap into your unconventional side, your rebellious side, and be willing to break some of the rules, ok?
So a few examples of such beliefs are:
- Following my passions should be easy and should always feel good.
- The goal is to find that one perfect person who I will be with for the rest of my life.
- I can’t help being the way I am; I’ve always been this way.
- If I don’t immediately fight back, that means I’m a weak push-over.
- If he really loved me, he would do what I want.
- Getting old is sad and difficult.
Now, there is nothing wrong with having these beliefs. We see them echoed all through our culture, in movies and songs and advertising and quotes on Pinterest. We’ve been raised on these beliefs, and they are subconsciously reinforced to us in all forms of media, day in and day out.
The only problem is when we have a belief that is making us suffer, and we don’t stop to question the belief. We don’t realize our belief is ruling us and causing our unhappiness. And any time we are unhappy, I guarantee there’s a belief up there in your brain that is making up all the rules for your life. It is always a belief causing your grief.
Here’s what I mean:
In one of my earlier relationships I was with a guy whom I was very attached to. I would do all sorts of things for him — I would clean up his messy room, I would buy him surprise videogames, I would try to get into whatever stuff he was into, and I would shower him with compliments and bring him food at work, and so on.
So maybe it sounds like I was the dream girlfriend right? Ok, but here’s what also came along with having me in this relationship:
If I was free, but he wanted to go to the movies with his friends, I would get upset. I would get upset if he wasn’t doing little romantic things and stepping up to the mature, thoughtful, manly role I wanted him to be in. I would get upset if he wasn’t in a good mood. I would basically expect him to be as thoughtful and as intense for me as I was for him, and to pay attention to what I expected out of him, and basically mold himself into the perfect model boyfriend custom-made just for me.
So what happened? We had a roller-coaster relationship, to say the least. When he was being great, I was so, so happy and we were in love and it was going to be forever and ever. But then the next day when he wasn’t being so great, I was SO let down. And I had to LET HIM KNOW all about it. We broke up and got back together at ridiculous short intervals. It was crazy-inducing. He finally had enough and broke up with me and I didn’t know who I was anymore.
So where was all this coming from?
At the time I blamed him for not trying hard enough, and then I blamed myself for becoming so needy and manipulative and trying to get him to be someone he wasn’t.
But why was I so needy? Was that really just who I am?
No, I eventually realized. It wasn’t that I was born with this personality. It was coming from many deep beliefs that I was holding onto. And after much inner analysis, I discovered that my one big needy belief was this:
We are supposed to make each other happy and complete each other.
And so, because of this belief I had constructed a whole set of rules in my head that followed this belief, that I then used as a measuring stick for my life. So because I believed that “we are supposed to make each other happy and complete each other”, I had rules like:
- I should always come first, or else he’s a bad boyfriend.
- If he really loved me, he should go out of his way to be romantic
- If he really loved me, he wouldn’t think anyone else was attractive
- If I’m unhappy, he needs to come fix it.
And when I realized this, I was flabbergasted. I think I had to actually write these rules out on paper and look at them in order for me to fully see them. And I thought, “WOW. No wonder I was always such a roller-coaster. My whole emotional well-being depended on what this guy does. And here I was, putting all my own effort into trying to be perfect for him, and in the meantime, I spent no effort on trying to provide my own happiness for myself! I left it up to him to make me feel special, worthy, loved, and all that. I had crafted my whole life into trying to give him love, in return for his, and neglecting myself.”
So that is why I was so broken and had no idea who I was at the end of it, and why I felt so out-of-control while in the relationship.
I vowed that I never wanted to have that kind of relationship again. I never wanted to be so dependent on someone else for my own self-esteem and happiness. So I think that really was the breaking point, the turning point, when I consciously fully decided that I was going to take care of my own needs as much as I possibly can, so that I could go forth out into the world and into new relationships with more of a sense of wholeness and security in myself; rather than trying to find and get something from someone else.
So. If there is something in your life that is bringing you down, making you feel out of control with your emotions; I want to let you know that it’s not because there’s something wrong with you. It’s simply because there’s a belief that you’re keeping that is causing you to create these rules for yourself and ultimately become the thought-system ruling over your life.
So really stop and observe your thoughts. Writing out your thoughts so you can get them out of your head and physically see them is one of the best things you can do. It’s amazing what’s goes on in there and we’re not even aware of it! You might not know right away exactly what it is that you are thinking that is causing you pain, so the first part is to question everything you’re thinking about the situation. Even if it’s something that seems right and sounds nice (like my belief that we are supposed to complete each other), you need to check to see if keeping that belief is causing you pain or not. Really think about it. Again, if it feels painful, that is a big red flag that it needs to be questioned.
Ask yourself: How do I feel when I believe this? How do I act when I believe this? Do I like the result I’m getting? How is this belief ruling over my life?
Ok, so find what you’re believing when you’re feeling unhappy. Really dig deep here, ok? This is all about questioning the things that we have believed so diligently for so long, that we don’t even realize we’re believing them.
So let’s say you’re often unhappy because you’re working at a job that isn’t what you really want, and you haven’t got your desired career going yet. Maybe you have thoughts about your boss, or how far you are from your dream career, or the nature of your job, and so on. Go past all the little details and drama, and see what’s beneath all of that.
So let’s stop blaming the job… Let’s stop blaming yourself… And let’s look at your thoughts — which aren’t a part of you, by the way, they’re just up there swimming in your mind, and they are optional and can be changed. What are you believing that is creating your unhappiness?
I’m going to take some guesses. You might have a belief like:
- This is not what I’m supposed to be doing.
- It should not have to be this way.
- This shouldn’t be my life.
So maybe your biggest belief is: “This is not what I’m meant to do”. Ok. So now, notice how that makes you feel. Perhaps that belief makes you feel unhappy, hollow, sad, anxious, like something is really wrong.
And when you believe: “This is not what I’m meant to do,” what kinds of rules do you make for yourself? Maybe stuff like:
- You can’t be happy until you’re doing what you want to do.
- You should feel ashamed that it’s taking so long.
- You should let everyone know how much this sucks.
- You need to point out everything wrong with your job, to justify your misery.
And when you live your life with these rules, how do you feel? Probably not very good and productive. And when you feel that way, how do you act? You might be grouchy at work, or bitchy towards your loved ones, or just do a poor job and get in trouble for it. And so what is the result of that belief? The result is that there’s more negativity and drama in your life that you’d want, and you go through your days feeling uninspired, and maybe you drink too much or waste your days off because you’re too busy just trying to deal with the unhappiness.
So now that you see how one belief leads to a whole bunch of rules that can take over a huge chunk of your life; I want to ask yourself the big question:
Do you want to keep these rules?
Do you want to keep these beliefs?
If the answer is NO, then it’s time to use your creative and rebellious powers to deconstruct those shitty-feeling rules and create your own! You can get as ambitious as you want here! You can literally take any belief that isn’t serving you, and choose to believe something different. Even if just for a few seconds.
So if it hurts to believe: “This is not what I’m meant to do”, try out a new belief, even if it feels weird to try to wrap your mind around it. What if you believed this IS what you’re meant to do… until you get your real career going? What if this IS what you’re meant to do, while you figure yourself out? If your job helps you pay your rent, if it helps to feed you and keep you alive while you work on what you really want — that sounds like something you’re meant to be doing. So notice how different it feels to think: “This IS what I’m meant to do while I support myself and work on what I really want”. All of a sudden, the rules change. No longer are governing your life with looking for all the bad stuff, the downsides, the pointlessness. When You believe “This IS what I’m meant to do…” You’re seeing all the upsides. You’re appreciating it. You’re spending less negative energy on it. You’re see a new truth that feels better than what you used to believe. And my guess is that you’d have more time and energy to spend working towards what really matters.
So try it out. Question your belief and try find something else you also can believe, that feels better. It can be as small or drastic of a change as you wish — the only requirement is that you must also have to be able to believe it.
So don’t go from: “Break-ups are sad and I am a failure”, to trying to believe “Break-ups are great and I’m awesome!” It won’t work because you won’t believe it. But you could try out instead: “Break-ups are just me going through the process of finding the right person for me, and nothing has really gone wrong.”
And instead of: “It’s terrible that my family doesn’t want to see things from my point of view”, you can try out: “I want to be able to give them the respect to have their own opinion of me, while I do what I know is right for me”
And instead of: “Once I get too old, I’m going to be gross and undesirable and my life will be over”, try out: “I am going to be fun and alluring in a whole new way, in a new phase of my life”.
Try it out! Get creative. See what feels even just a little bit better, and then break your old rules.
So I personally am breaking any rules about how things are “supposed to be”. I refuse to follow the belief that you can’t be happy until you’ve achieved certain things. I refuse to keep thinking in ways that bring me down, hold me back, and don’t let me experience life the way I personally want to.
I believe what I want.
I want to believe that life can be gritty, challenging, and difficult; and I can feel energized, resilient, and empowered at the same time.
I want to believe that I am never stuck, the possibilities are endless, and I can never know what could happen.
I want to believe that I am going to grow so much more, into a continually better version of myself, and this is just the beginning.
I want to believe that life can totally be lived vibrantly, fun, and alluring to the very end.
And this is what I’m most adamant about! You can make your OWN rules. If your current way isn’t feeling so great, you can choose to experience it in a whole new way.
Rules…beliefs… they are just thoughts in your head that you keep thinking. They aren’t real. I want you to get riled up, curious, defiant, here.
Say to yourself: “Why do I have to feel bad about this?? I don’t want to feel bad! I want to get through this and feel good about myself! I can grow! I can become better! Just because everyone else thinks I should feel bad, I don’t have to! I can suffer as much or as little as I wish!”
Ok? So just realizing this is so powerful here. And a little disclaimer that I want to give, is: This isn’t about lying to yourself that you don’t feel pain when something is painful. I don’t want this to be about sweeping our true emotions under the rug, I don’t want this to be lying to ourselves. And I don’t want this to be about feeling better, when you’re not ready to feel better.
This is all about approaching it in a mindful and smart way, that allows us to decide, when we want to think differently. When do you want to break the rule like: “I don’t want to feel sad anymore! I am processing it, but I am tired of being held back by my thoughts.
Because it’s true; we can decide to think ultra-positively about whatever happens to us, and we can experience that. But we also want to be human beings and we want to feel emotions and we want to be sad when sad stuff happens. And we want to be affected when things don’t go the way we thought they would. But we have a choice of what rules we want to follow for ourselves. Because we can say, “Alright, something happened, and I suffered for it, but I am ready to step up and change”. And this is all it is, is realizing that you don’t have to keep thinking the same things that you always have. If it’s no longer serving you, if it no longer feels right for you, if you know that there’s a better way that you can come into your life as, from a different perspective, from a different attitude, and you know that it can improve your life…. That is all available to you.
So this is what I’m all about here, is just realizing that you can change whatever it is that you wish that you can change. You can approach your life in an entirely new way starting right now if just started practicing new thoughts. And it’s all about practice! Because you can listen to this right now, you can hear what I’m saying, but until you actually put this into practice, it’s not going to change for real. You might feel better in the moment, but you gotta make an effort to practice, practice, practice, these new ways of thinking if you want to feel differently and become a better version of yourself and act differently.
These are just arbitrary beliefs that we’ve picked up throughout our lives. It is not a part of you, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, it doesn’t mean that you’re weak, it doesn’t mean anything about you! These are all changeable. There just happen to be thoughts in our heads that we kept thinking.
So beliefs, rules, thoughts….they’re just all in our heads. They’re just telling us stuff about ourselves and our situation, and it can all be changed.
You are not stuck. You don’t have to suffer as much as you are if you don’t want to. You can make yourself feel better if you want to. This is all under your control, and you are in control here! If you really wanted to change your attitude, if you really wanted to be a different person, you could. It starts with our thoughts. And this is the first step, of just becoming aware. It is not the way you have to be or who you really are.
Alright so thank you so much for joining me!
In the next podcast coming up, I will talk about what being a true badass really is.
Until then, I send you love and full permission to break any rules that are standing between you, and your best life.