I had a wonderful opportunity to review a belief I was holding onto quite tightly just last week, and it has been a refreshing insight into how easily we can become caught up in beliefs that don’t serve us, or those around us. I’ve written before about the processes I go through to explore negative feelings and distress in my life, to see what I can learn from the experience.
In a blog post from 2012 titled “AFOG – Another F***ing Opportunity for Growth“, I explore these concepts further:
“A lot of what I have achieved in my life is due to the work that I have been willing to do on myself over the years, the willingness to delve into all the fears and insecurities; the limiting beliefs and destructive thought patterns; the shadow side of myself and the wounds I held. The courage it took to go within to this depth, and the honesty with which I took on this self-exploration, is something that I am very proud of, as this work not only changed my life but has also touched many people around me. I get very saddened when I witness someone suffering over and over because they are too scared to look within and heal what needs to be healed and let go of – it’s not easy, but the results are so worth it.
Which is why nowadays I am very good at tuning into my feelings – my inner guidance system – and dealing with negatives before they take a hold. The way I work with this is to ask myself a lot of questions, so that I can get to the bottom of what I’m feeling and then understand what it is stemming from. Sometimes I’ll use the Byron Katie work to do that, other times I’ll just tune in and very gently go within and see what I can find out.
Our feelings are our radar, and any feeling of discomfort, fear, pain, anger or any other negative emotion can guide us to where our thinking is not serving us, and we may be looking at something from a perspective that could be worked on to give us a different thought or outcome. Of course we don’t negate the feeling and ignore it so that we feel better – this is about genuine self-enquiry so that we may be able to learn something.
At times, just when I think I’ve really got my act together and am coming from this great place of love, peace and gratitude, a situation will turn up in my life showing me that I don’t actually have it all together after all And this is what I call an AFOG moment – I apologise for the language – but that is exactly what goes through my head… “Here we go again! Another f***ing opportunity for growth!” Yes, I am making light of what can often be a serious situation, however being able to laugh at our own limitations is a great way to start the journey of self-exploration.”
Just last week I had another lovely AFOG moment that unfolded in the most beautiful way, and I received such a blessing from it, that I wanted to share a little of it here.
I had an experience whereby a good friend – standing in her own truth – changed her mind on a commitment she had made to me. Now it wasn’t a big deal, and shouldn’t have been an issue at all – but unfortunately I reacted badly and got a bit snappy and felt let-down. I knew that certainly wasn’t me being ‘my best self’, so I took that reaction – and with my friend’s loving support and openness – explored what had been triggered in me.
And it was wonderful! It didn’t take much time, just a little quiet time-out to sit and think about what I was truly feeling and why I had reacted the way I did to someone easing out of a commitment. I realised that the word ‘commitment’ is very loaded for me. For whatever reason (probably going back to childhood!) I have placed a very high value on commitment and have seen my ability to commit to people, projects, events, and to follow through – as something that is foundational to my self-worth. That my strong level of commitment is linked to my integrity as a person – that I am someone that when they say they are going to do something, they do it. I am reliable and therefore trustworthy, and this is important to me… So my expectations of other people to honour commitments is quite high – and whenever we have expectations of others that are about our own beliefs – it is very easy to be let down.
Upon delving into the meaning that I have given to the word commitment, I started to explore how this belief actually works against me. Of course there are wonderful benefits to the beliefs I’ve held that have served me well. I am loyal, I do follow through on commitments and I know that I have integrity in both my personal and professional life – but when I delve deeper there is a shadow side to this belief. When I look at my rigidity around commitment, I realised that many a time in my life I have followed through on a commitment I had made – even when it was to my detriment! The fear of being seen as someone who can’t commit, who is flighty, not stable, or lacking integrity was so real for me, that I have sacrificed my own well-being in many ways, rather than simply opting-out of the commitment I’d made.
I should know myself well enough by now, to know that I am none of those things and if I do back-out of a commitment it is for very good reasons. I realised that I need to make the commitment to myself, first. That I cannot be my healthiest, happiest self if I am following through on a commitment, that with a little more insight and knowledge, has proven to be bad for me – physically or emotionally. Taking some of that lovely integrity and ability to follow through, and applying to my own well-being as a matter of priority. Now wouldn’t that be a novel way to view commitment!
So through this lovely, gentle exploration I have come to shift my rigid belief and see commitment as a much more flexible state, and one that holds a new meaning for me. That there can be just as much value, integrity, loyalty, and trust in backing out of a commitment, as there is in following through on one. What a lighter belief to carry!
This was actually a big one for me and a beautiful understanding about myself to come to. I’m sure I will be much easier with myself in the future, and with others, due to shining a light on a belief that really doesn’t serve me in every way that it could.
Thank you Sam – love you! xxxxx