Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Doubt Into Trust

Doubt Into Trust

When most of us think about trusting we are thinking about trusting other people. We hardly ever think about trusting ourselves.

What happens when we doubt ourselves? For some of us, we doubt our ability to be loved. We have mislearned that we are unlovable, that we are so fatally flawed that no decent person could love us, even if they really do, and we often find ourselves choosing people who treat us poorly, reinforcing our mislearned ideas of being lovable.

For some of us, we doubt our gifts, talents, and skills. Each of us has them but when we doubt them, we often forego opportunities to hone them, to refine and improve them. Perhaps we hide them at home, secretly indulging in our art or music or intellect or cooking or other wonderful things. We avoid taking chances that might make our skills and talents stronger. We fear that we aren’t actually very good at X, or we know we are, but fear not being good enough. Perhaps we fear being mocked or ridiculed. Perhaps we doubt that we have the internal resources we need to handle the attendant stuff, like acclaim, or responsibility, or money, or attention if we were to let our light shine.

Why can I trust? How do I know I can trust me? What makes me choose to believe in my own self?

As I go through my day, I choose to be aware. I choose to notice what I am doing, how I am doing it. I look for ways that I am sabotaging myself. When I spot one, I correct as best I can.

Our personal doubt is our first chunk of mislearning. We all have one; the worst thing we believe about ourselves. Mine is that I am garbage. As I have worked on this one, I have cycled through many Creative Questions. My current faves are, “Why am I strong? Why am I capable? Why am I competent?” Oh, yeah! Working on our personal doubt can bring up all sorts of interesting stuff; damaging beliefs, toxic thoughts, negative behaviors, and other ickies. Trusting ourselves, choosing to believe that we are worth the effort, that we are capable of doing what we need to do, that we can find good teachers to coach us in our endeavors, these are things that make our lives a million times nicer.

As I come to trust myself, I will change. We all change, even when we like to think we don’t. As I come to trust myself, I will make better decisions, ones that support me better. Some of the people in our lives may not like what we are doing, and may choose to leave. Since part of my personal doubt involved feeling like a victim, I am happy to see victimizers leave, even if I grieve the end of the relationship. As we clean up our act, the people whose damage dovetails with ours have to leave or change. Our relationships are like a big mobile; when one piece gets lighter, everything else has to adjust.

One of the benefits of trusting myself more is that my judgment gets better. I find that I am not only trusting me more, but I am trusting the people who want to hurt me less, and the people who want to support me more. I feel safer, I feel more connected, I feel softer, I feel stronger. I am happier. The more I trust me, the more trustworthy I become.

How have I changed from dissing myself to honoring myself with my own trust?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 07122015

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tell Me Your Tale

Tell Me Your Tale

Why do I engage? Oh ho ho! What a powerful question that was for me because I didn’t, or only did reluctantly for so very long. What I wanted, what I thought I wanted, was to be invisible to you. What I believed was that if you got a chance, you hurt me. Sorry about that. I had some serious trust issues. I used to joke, ¨I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand.” Poor little me.

As I chose to address my issues, or deal with the white hot mess that was my life, I found that I had to do some stuff. I had developed perseverance from staying in abusive relationships, so when it took me eight tries to find my best therapist, I could do that. I had developed courage from living in my terrifying life, so when I needed to do something like a leap of faith, I knew I had courage, even though I was scared to pieces.

Engaging. That was something I didn’t really get. What the heck does it mean to engage? How do I connect? How do I touch someone, and be touched by them?

For me, I had to let go of my fear of being seen for who I am. I had to find a way to sincerity. Holy moly! I needed help to get there. That, of course, meant that I had to be vulnerable to people instead of just seeming to be vulnerable! Wow! What a spooky notion. I had a group of friends who, for about five days, said, ¨I don’t believe you,¨ when they didn’t. Maybe it wasn’t that long, but it helped me to break my bad habit of saying what I thought you wanted to hear and saying what I meant instead. And not one of those people hurt me as I was being vulnerable with them.

Why do I engage? What makes me seek out connections? How do I see that we are alike?

As I have learned to engage, some really neat stuff has happened. I find that I have something in common with all sorts of people. I find that I want to hear your story, hear about how you see the world. I want to connect. Now, I like to find a way to engage with you quickly. I delight in finding our commonalities. I feel more human as let strangers touch my spirit, and I feel good about leaving a random interaction with both of us smiling.

When I engage, my world gets a little bit bigger. When I engage, my world gets a little bit sweeter. When you, a stranger, share a bit of yourself, I recognize the gift and feel honored by it. And then, when I have my down time, I am often overwhelmed by the amazingness that is now my life. I do enjoy feeling blissed out.

Sometimes I speak with you, sometimes we may share a smile, sometimes it is just a look that we share, It is that moment of sharing that makes the difference. When we engage, you will often share one of your gifts with me. Or a talent, or a skill. I love that! I love to know what you are good at!

What do I have to do to reap all these lovely benefits? Engage, be present, listen.

I engaged with the guards at the museum. They each gave us so much -- fun, inside stories about the installations, pointing out exhibits we might have missed, little flashes of their personal lives.

We want to connect, we want to engage with each other. We are one and that oneness likes to happen in our interactions. As we grow up, we find it easier to do, but for many of us, we have to practice.

How have I changed from isolating myself to choosing to engage?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 07112015

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Lush and Lavish

Lush and Lavish

Hanging out on the porch one day last week, my friend and I were listing all the mundane things that make our lives lovely. How fun! I had been thinking about the notion of feeling like one is living in the wrong time. While this desire isn’t one of mine, I have known many people who feel this way. I guess it’s because if I had been born even ten years earlier, I would have died when I was three. And again when I was ten. And again in my 50s.

I joke a lot about living in the future. I say that because my inner ten-year-old remembers vividly discussing with a good friend what we thought things would be like in the 2000s. The whole bad idea of flying cars aside, we talked about communicator devices, teleporting, and fashions, and travel to the stars. I think about how exciting it was to imagine being in my 50s. I was so right! I remember thinking that I would live in luxury. I sure feel that way now. Thank you, prophetic former self!

How do I feel when I feel that I live in luxury? Why is my life so luxurious? What makes me notice my luxuries?

When I decided to give up my poverty mentality I had a lot of work to do. I had to really pay attention to what I was saying, to what I was thinking. For example, I often caught myself saying, “I can’t afford it.” The feeling I had when I said that was icky. I felt deprived, or undeserving, or I was lying and used that line instead of saying, “No thanks, I don’t want to,” which was more often than not what I actually meant.

I used to think I couldn’t afford nice clothes and shoes, for example. I did a lot of shopping for my stuff at cut-rate stores and felt frumpy and frowzy. I felt like I couldn’t afford wholesome food, so I ate processed stuff, and cheap snacks full of ingredients. I felt crummy but believed that I couldn’t afford to go to a gym, or take classes, or go out with my friends. I had the idea that I couldn’t make a good living, that somehow I couldn’t really take care of myself.

Poor little me!

Everyone learns to view the world through mental filters. We have to. The sheer volume of information we are exposed to would leave us completely overwhelmed. So we filter. And we filter. And we learn to filter for certain things, like the kind of people we are attracted to, like the way we view ourselves, like a poverty mentality. Many of these filters we acquire as very little children, and many of them are just plain wrong. I call that “mislearning.”

One of our tasks in life is to grow up. Not just to get older, but to mature, to eliminate our immature or childish thoughts and behaviors and to replace them with adult behaviors. It’s one thing to have a temper tantrum when we are 3, but another thing altogether when, as a fifty year old we are still giving people the silent treatment, or shouting at them, especially when we have the same fights over and over.

Shedding our poverty mentality is similar. Learning to notice when we get that lack-feeling and then immediately addressing it with a good Creative Question will go a long way toward turning poverty mind into luxury mind. Practicing gratitude and appreciation will also bring us a sense of the magnificent abundance in our lives.

How have I changed from feeling want to reveling in my abundance of luxury?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 07012015