Obviously, we’re social beings, so improving how we interact with others will improve our lives overall.
I think I may have skipped over the foundation, though, which is improving how we interact with ourselves.
You see, our internal dialogues, the conversations that we have with ourselves, far outnumber the conversations that we have with other people. Our conscious and subconscious minds are constantly interacting, analyzing our experiences and determining how we will perceive them. It is during these internal dialogues that the stage is set for how we perceive ourselves, the world around us, and where our place is in that world.
The good news is that you can choose what to consciously think, how to perceive- I’ve often heard this referred to as “the story we tell ourselves.”
The story that we tell ourselves then affects our reality. If we constantly judge ourselves as failures, or lazy, or somehow “below” others, our subconscious mind will eventually learn to perceive life through that lens.
Getting stuck in this cycle of thinking is what leads to us perceiving a small mistake at work as confirmation that we’re terrible at our job, that we’re somehow not worthy.
On the flipside, we can perceive ourselves to be worthwhile individuals with our own unique set of gifts and experiences. When our cycle of thinking is aligned in this manner, a small mistake at work is no big deal. It’s simply a learning experience, a minor speed bump in a career otherwise filled with an improved skillset and continued growth.
We all have thousands, if not millions of stories that we tell ourselves each day, many of which are told in our subconscious- they’re an ingrained thought pattern. We can only break these patterns by identifying them, and then changing the story next time we find ourselves thinking it.
Instead of telling ourselves “I’m overweight because I’m lazy and don’t know how to eat healthy” we can tell ourselves “My priorities were elsewhere for a while- raising kids, advancing my career, finishing school, etc.- Now I’m ready to learn how to cook healthy meals and prioritize working out.”
The first story will keep us in a holding pattern, resisting the change that we want to make.
The second story empowers us to move forward with our life.