You have 60 seconds, set your timer or watch the clock.........list all the things out loud that you have done in your life that have made you proud or you consider a success...GO!...........no thinking about it, just say the first things that come to mind..........BEEP! Times up! Could you do it, or did you stumble a bit and find it hard and a bit stressful to think of things that quickly? The first time I did this exercise, I found it VERY painful! Sure, the first thing I mentioned was graduating from university TWICE.....but after that, I fumbled, I felt stressed trying to think of something that I thought was 'worthy' of saying. If you also felt that way, it's normal and I'll tell you why.
Our brains are hardwired to look for FAILURE! The reason it does this is because of a built in mechanism that we have for it to try to keep us safe. Now that was all fine and dandy when I was a toddler and I wanted to touch that hot pan on the stove or when I just had to pull the dogs tail just one more time. At that age we were learning and processing how the world works. As an adult, I know a little better now, and don't really need that type of intervention.......my safety concerns are a tad different and that is where my gut/intuition kicks in. Our brains don't know the difference. It will remember an event that caused you pain, whether physical or emotional, and when a similar event is presented to you, it will tell you what ever it has to, to try and convince you NOT to do down that road again.
Ever had a job that you really wanted to go after, or saw that handsome man/gorgeous woman across the room that you really wanted to talk to, or wanted to say something in a meeting, but just couldn't? What went on in your head when you were presented with these? The majority of us, whether we want to admit it or not, had this negative reel going on in our heads with the likes of, "you can't do that", "you're not smart enough", "you're not pretty enough", "you're not good enough", "you're worthless", "no one wants to hear what you have to say", "people are going to laugh at you". 9 times out of 10, we most likely will listen to that reel because it just seems SO loud!! So we figure that it MUST be right. Well you know what? IT'S NOT!!! It's ALL lies!! It's your brains self preservation mechanism to keep you within your comfort zone because that is a safe place. The unfortunate thing is, that is also the place where NO growth happens.
There is a theory that 80% of who we are is hard wired by the the time we are 8 years old. 8 YEARS OLD!!! Wow, when you sit back and think of that, that is astonishing. If some sort of traumatic or emotional event occurs during that time period (and for an 8 year old it doesn't have to be a big event), this will forever hardwire your response in similar situations. There is an area of my life that I have been struggling with for a long time, and I have had more than my fair share of that negative reel rolling on and on in my head. When I started to look back to where it all started, I can pinpoint the exact event that did in fact occur when I was 8, and I can perfectly see how it has clouded and manipulated me when ever a similar situation came up, and that pissed me off! When I think now of all the possible experiences that I missed out on because of it, it's shocking. Now that I am aware of it, at least now I can fight it. Awareness does not guarantee that negative reel will go away, it may even become louder, but now you know the root of why it's there and you recognize that what it is saying is lies, and you can over come it. When you start hearing "you're not good enough", you turn around and say, "YES I AM!" You counteract it with the TRUTH! It may be uncomfortable to do this, because we are so use to being 'our own worst enemies', tearing our selves down, using self deprecating humour, but we need to become our own biggest cheerleaders!
Something that a group of us have started is having a SUCCESS JOURNAL where each and EVERY day we write 5 successes that we have had in there. I know what you're thinking, as I thought it too! 5 SUCCESSES? How in the world am I going to have 5 things that are going to be considered a success each day? This is where we start comparing our selves to other people and that negative reel kicks in with, "that's not a success" or "your success won't be as good as so and so's success". Again, toss that way of thinking out. Any single thing that you accomplished each day is a success. "I made an awesome dinner tonight" YEAH, "I finished all my homework" WHOO HOO, "I lost 0.5 of a pound" AWESOME, "I didn't choke my annoying little brother today" WAY TO GO!. Remember these are YOUR successes, not any one else's. There is no comparing. Yes your successes may not mean anything to any one else, but who cares? It meant something to you, and that is all that matters. By doing this you are exercising that wonderful muscle called our brain and we are re-training it to search out success. It will be tough to start, but as your brain gets used to looking for success instead of failure, it will become easier. Success also breeds success, in that you will subconsciously be thinking all day, I need 5 successes, that in turn will push you to have more successes. Then each day you can answer that question that I posed to you today's title. When we feel successful, we can not help but feel happy.
So get out those pom poms and start cheering yourself on!! Let's start focusing on all the amazing things that we do each and every day and celebrate them!!! You ARE worth it because you ARE amazing!!