We seek permission to live on a regular basis, several times a day, if not ALL DAY.
Allow me to explain myself here, and for that let me take you back in time and dive deep into your psyche.
When we are young, we learn from our social settings and school settings. What is the right way to speak, what is the right way to sit and generally how one should study, what is considered intelligence etc. We then go to college and add a few more things to our list of what life should look like. We feel that travelling to faraway lands, volunteering in third world countries then getting a job soon after college is a good life. We see getting that first apartment and car as our gauge of how well we are progressing. The list goes on to marriage, children, career, family and adult #lifegoals.
We may consider ourselves the new age and well educated and wise ones who don't conform to norms. Yet, the first thing that happens when our parent or sibling makes even a remote comment on our choices, is a deep trigger which prompts us to defend ourselves and our choices. Mind you, ignoring the comments and not responding can be a defence mechanism too. The way to know is to ask if you replay that incident in your mind at least three or more times since it happened. The truth is, we are all triggered.
This is not to say we are resigned to live with these triggers in our lives. The more appropriate question would be WHY are we getting triggered.
Thoughts precede emotions, which precede action - getting triggered can be an action too. Even when we don't respond we have reached the emotional response. SO let's look at the thoughts. Well, thoughts exist because of the billions of bites of information that is hardwired into our mental/neurological operating system. They form our beliefs, perceptions and values.
We operate through these filters. The thoughts we think are through these filters. The emotions we feel are through these filters (including some of those gut feelings). Our actions are a result of these filters.
It's like your experience of the world is predetermined by this hardwiring. Even when we think the world is coming to us from the outside, the truth is, it's coming from the inside. Our perceptions determine HOW we SEE something, HOW we HEAR something, HOW we THINK and JUDGE what comes our way.
So really, the script has already been written inside of us. We simply project the movie of our lives onto the world. The weirdest part about this is our complete oblivion to the scripts we wrote. We often forget or are completely unaware of the programs that have been hardwired. We forget we are the authors of our scripts.
Why do people always take advantage of my niceness? Why am I kind to others, yet no one is kind to me. Why am I the only one listening to people 100%, but when I speak no one pays attention? Why do I keep finding myself in the same situations over and over again?
Well, truth is, the script has been written by US - well okay, through our experiences of the world, but essentially we own the rights to this script and movie. Yet, we are unaware because the movie plays on autopilot and never ever stops. The only chance we get to even become AWARE that it's a movie of a particular SCRIPT is when we sit quietly and watch our mind. Mindfulness practice as it is popularly known.
Then perhaps we would realise that at some point in our life - we craved for our parent's approval. We decided that being good was how they would approve of us, so we pick up good habits, work hard and hold virtuous values. Yet, our parents who are still unaware continue being themselves. Yet, our script says - if I do X, Y, Z, THEN perhaps I will be accepted. Along the way, we tell ourselves NOT to wait for that approval and move on and continue living our lives. Yet, we look back in that rear view mirror during family gatherings, or perhaps a boss or colleague or spouse may say similar things that trigger us.
The script, after all, says - X, Y, Z, should get approval. Or simply X, Y, Z is GOOD - why isn't the rest of the world doing the same?
Unfortunately, NO ONE is privy to this script. Not even us (much like how Marvel reveals its scripts to its own actors).
So we operate on this script - consciously doing our best, but then feel upset when our efforts are NOT recognised. Well, DUH! No one got the invite to the party. Even if they did - it's not their obligation to act according to OUR script.
We can only hope to change the script from within.
It begins with becoming aware of our emotional triggers. Digging deep to find out what the trigger truly is about. REALISING it is one thing, but CHANGING is another. Emotional reactions are so strong they often trump even the wisest minds.
So, the script needs to be changed at the emotional level too. We can start associating rejections with JOY. Sounds absolutely ridiculous. But, so is projecting a movie with script A, but silently hoping it would actually show script B - while still feeding the reel movie A. So perhaps some lighthearted laughter at our OWN folly is a great start.
If we can actually see how our thoughts, emotions and actions are shaped by our filters, we are empowered to make choices. The choice begins with our actions. Choosing not to react is easy. Then it needs to be addressed at the emotional level. We can start observing our emotions and work our way back to the way we think, in complete HONESTY that is. We are quite good at SELECTING the ideas, thoughts, beliefs and values that work at our convenience.
Here I am talking about looking at our follies with complete honesty, openness and non-judgement - that's right, STOP JUDGING yourself - I mean berating yourself. Because in essence judgement itself is merely seeing a contrast between A and B. It is our preference for one over the other that causes all the problem - then our guilt for choosing the "wrong" one that kills our self-worth, convincing ourselves we are "bad".
We can start by acknowledging these filters, then accepting them and finally changing them one thought at a time, one moment at a time.
It takes consistency, effort and a willingness to change, which requires the quality of an observational mind. When I first started my journey, I wasn't always aware all the time, in fact, I still am not. But from being mindful 10% of the day, to now 70-80% of the day, is a huge difference. As a result, many aspects of my personality have shifted, dozens of belief systems questioned, some values re-evaluated and a whole lot of letting go of guilt, shame and fear.
The greatest reward has been the peace of mind and confidence I've gained in moving through the day, for I am not a victim of my circumstances anymore, I am the author, director and producer of my life experience.
I need not wait for permission to live, I give myself permission to simply BE who I am.
Along the way, if I so happen to inspire, motivate and uplift those around me - that's just a beautiful side effect of living a JOYFUL life. You see, it does not mean I sit at home doing nothing; on the contrary, I am FREE to pursue ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that brings me JOY without limiting beliefs. Sharing this realisation is JOY, so I write, coach and train on these principles. My commitment to my personal mind shift is an impetus for the transformation that inadvertently happens in the community around me.
So, what kind of script are you projecting into the world? Whose permission do you need to change that script?
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