Have you ever felt really well? Maybe just a moment or a period in your life of feeling well, at ease, at peace. Then you have experienced the state of wellness; a state you can continue to practice while discovering new depths. I tell my clients all the time, it isn’t enough to know about wellness, we have to experience ourselves as well, through our continued practice of that state. Knowing is step one, yes, but then practically applying that knowledge to our day-to-day lives is where we really see benefits.
This applies not only to wellness but to confidence, success or even worth. To start, we can agree that we were all once children, that all children deserve love, support and a chance to thrive. We can also agree that often many of us don’t get what we need, and thus can adapt certain dissatisfactory behaviours or processes. Even still, we are all worthy of love, connection and, perhaps most of all, redemption – the opportunity to fall, learn and rise again. Yet it isn’t even enough to start with this helpful baseline knowledge. How do we experience ourselves in a state of worthiness, often enough that it becomes our default setting? Let’s explore…
Did you know that once a habit is learned, like brushing your teeth or reversing out of your driveway, you store it in a different part of your brain? A more automatic part that leaves your extra mental bandwidth for tougher or new tasks that require your precious critical thinking. The mind loves patterns – it’s how we function. But have you ever considered what patterned thinking you’ve stored that perhaps isn’t serving your most optimal self?
I break through self-sabotage in the work I do with clients often. Initially I’ll see people backing out and giving up on the things they truly want. Why? Because they know how to do that. They have gotten comfortable in the discomfort of not following through. That pattern is saved, they know how to say they’ll do something and then just not do it. whereas moving forward? Unknown. Succeeding? That might be even scarier than failure itself.
How could that be? Well if one succeeds on those big dreams, one has to become the person who lives that life, who follows through, who runs that multi-million dollar business or uses those effective communication skills in a dream relationship. That requires effort, striving, perseverance and the overcoming of obstacles again and again. It’s easy to see how the cycle of kidding ourselves with “I’m gonna do that one day, when… (insert delay tactic of choice here)” perpetuates. Truth is, nine times out of ten that day never comes and we keep ourselves placated with the delusion that it will… one day, without ever really having to put in the grit, effort and responsibility needed to succeed.
That responsibility also means a willingness to be seen striving and often falling, because, as research professor Dr. Brene Brown says, “if we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.” She describes in her book, Rising Strong, that the idea is not to avoid the falls, but to learn from them through the process of rising again. The idea that we should choose courage over comfort. We all know that feeling, right? A new project, a tough task, an obstacle on the way to our goals. And so the question is: do we choose the discomfort of seeking help or moving into the unknown? Or do we choose the comfort of the familiar giving up and moving on?
Creating anything meaningful often takes getting a few things “wrong” on your way to learning how to get it “right” . It takes consistent and diligent effort, which is easy to forget in today’s age of the highlight reel. Very rarely do we get to see the metamorphosis process of becoming; striving; falling and rising – that almost all great masters in any field go through. The process of finding ease not in perfection but in progress.
In Angela Duckworth’s book True Grit she describes her research findings in which the best parents are not just strict nor are they just unconditionally loving. Instead, she describes the research as showing that the most effective parenting method is supportive, unconditionally loving and demanding. Demanding in that they have high expectations of their children because they lovingly believe they can achieve them, and they want to hold them to that higher standard in order to support them in striving for continued progression.
Why do I bring this up? Because I believe we are all parenting ourselves. We are stewarding ourselves through life and it takes that same, unconditionally loving support, and relentless demanding of continued striving for progress to really make meaning of this wild ride. We have to provide that love and that structure for ourselves to really thrive in.
We’ve delved into the knowing, let’s look at the practical application of some tools to experience oneself in that state of worth. So what is it to feel worthy? I asked myself, clients and friends and what came up was this – feeling worthy is feeling at ease with oneself. Knowing yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, being OK in the process of continual progress (not perfection) and finding fulfilment and satisfaction in that process. Let us start at the beginning…
Get to know yourself. It used to surprise me that so often the people I worked with, would have no idea what was important to them, what they valued out of life, what they enjoyed most, where they saw themselves in the future. It really only takes asking a few questions and setting time aside to start that exploration and it’s pretty darn important! So that is what I invite you to do. Explore who you are, even if you think you know. Don’t stop that continued exploration. Get to know your values – know your vision for the future and set your goals in alignment with that vision.
That brings me to the next step, setting goals that are in alignment with you who are and who you want to be in this world (your values). This not only means you’ll feel like you’re progressing but it’ll perhaps, even more importantly, help you to earn your own trust as someone you can count on. Someone you can count on to follow through on your commitments to yourself and to support yourself and your dreams. If you don’t, who will? The promises we make to ourselves are the most important, so follow through.
Get a strategy for following through. Know your values, visualise your big goals then work your way back to smaller goals broken down into the bite size tasks or habits that make up your day. These daily tasks and habits should be designed to help you move on your goals, yes, but also to experience yourself in positive states. If you want to feel healthy, then maybe you work out and drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. If you want to feel calm, perhaps you meditate. Need help? Click here to check out my Healthy Habits Kit. This process of continued exploration into who we are and what elevates us into positive states is one I see as vital for a healthy and balanced life.
Worthiness is not just a word, it’s a state we can experience and one we can practice. The simple things we do make up the big whole that is our life, so they matter. Perhaps the most important effect of these daily habits is the cultivation of self confidence in our ability to show up day-after-day and take the necessary steps to support our goals, wellbeing and self worth. We may not be able to control circumstance, but we can practice showing up for ourselves. In that, we can cultivate faith, that come what may, we have our own back.