“But isn’t everyone like that? Isn’t that normal?”
During a conversation with a new acquaintance yesterday, I mentioned how so many women in top executive roles still feel like fakes, frauds, like they’re not "enough" - not smart enough, not good enough not deserving enough… yada yada – You name it, women are able to punish themselves with it!(It’s not just women experiencing this, by the way – plenty of men do too.)
My acquaintance’s response was: “But isn’t everyone like that? Isn’t that normal? That’s just how everyone feels, isn’t it?” She expected me to agree and I didn’t. I don’t.
Assumptions we make
She’d made the assumption that feeling like we’re lacking and unworthy is part of what many refer to as “the human condition”. WOAH. Well that’s one big negative gob-smacking belief to hold about ourselves, isn’t it – that we all feel bad about ourselves in some way; undeserving and not enough.
See, most of the time we don’t even question these beliefs we have about ourselves, our world, others. And yet the beliefs we hold and the assumptions we make become our truth, and what we hold as truth becomes our experience.
It’s not “out there”. It’s “in here”, people!
As psychiatrist and consciousness researcher, Dr. David Hawkins, said:
“… inner investigation always reveals that the perception and source of the “out there” is actually “in here.”
Countless scientists in numerous areas of science now confirm that what we believe has a direct correlation to our life experience.
Countless spiritual leaders throughout the ages have also said, in different ways: “the only way out is in.”
Questioning our beliefs
The tricky thing about this kind of self-reflection is actually seeing our beliefs for what they are, rather than truth. We need to see them as random ideas we’ve taken on board at some point and made our reality.
Some of these ideas serve us and others don’t. A good way of identifying beliefs that don’t serve us is to:
- take note when you feel less than joyful and peaceful.
- ask yourself what belief you’re holding which led to that feeling.
- challenge the belief and be prepared to change it if it doesn’t serve you.
- notice how you change without that belief.
There are oh so many layers to this kind of self-enquiry.
Here’s a simple example:
I notice I’m feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.
The belief that led to that feeling is that I have to get all this ridiculous amount of work done today.
Challenge the belief: Do I really need to get all this done today? (Will the sky fall in if that client doesn’t get this today? Will the kids starve if they have boiled eggs for dinner rather than me having to fit in a shop before dinner? Does that call really have to be returned today?)
Notice how you feel when you turn that thought around. Notice who you are without that belief.
Now try it for one of those “I’m not enough”, I’m a fake”, “I don’t deserve” beliefs you’ve been hauling around like stinking rotten food scraps you SO don’t need anymore. Here’s an example:
I’m feeling uneasy and nervous before a board meeting.
What’s the belief underneath that feeling? I’m not as smart as them.
Challenge it: Really, seriously? Is that 100% without doubt true? Well, no. It’s not true, actually.
OK, so let that thought go.
Notice how you feel without that thought? Who are you without that thought? Sit with it and feel your way into it.
Simple, profound, effective
Use the same line of self-enquiry for anything that moves you away from peace and happiness. Use it with relationships when they’re less than harmonious, use it around your self-care and self-nurturing, work, success, money, health, love…
You’ll find that your truth becomes a much happier place to be, and it will be reflected in your outer experience.
Katie has a clear, simple, effective way of approaching this kind of self-reflection. She calls it “The Work”. I’d suggest you download her free e-book here.
She frames self-enquiry as 4 questions:
- Is it true?
- Can you be absolutely sure that it’s true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
The most important thing
The two guides to self-enquiry above are just that – guides. It doesn’t matter what form of enquiry you take. The important thing is to understand is that what you believe about yourself, the world and your role in it can change. The more you become aware of your beliefs and assumptions and the more you challenge the negative ones – the ones that aren’t loving and life-affirming – the more quickly you’re moving towards the experience of life that you want.
There are parts of my belief system that I’m challenging right now (more on that coming up soon. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiments!). It’s a continual wonderful unfoldment, if you choose to embrace it.
Sometimes seeing with clarity the beliefs we hold is challenging. Sometimes the beliefs are too close to our identity for us to be able to challenge them without help.
Help is right here when you need it. Feeling how you want to feel is much closer than you realise. So, how is it you want to feel?