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Day 24. Exploring Your Desires & Needs To Connect To Your Inner Voice Part Three


6. Think about how you want to feel.

So, taking the example from yesterday, "I want to improve the way I feel about me as well as I how I interact in my relationships by being more assertive and more connected to my inner voice", feelings that might illustrate that improvement could include:

  • Feeling much calmer due to reducing the amount of anxiety I feel.
  • Feeling more in command of me due to knowing that I am able to respond to feelings of anxiety and discern their source.
  • Feeling more self-assured because I no longer feed my worries with more anxiety.
  • Feeling positive about me and my prospects due to talking back to my inner critic.
  • Feeling a sense of like from feeling as if I can respect me because I know that I have my own back.

When you write about how you want to feel, think about how you will 'sense' these changes - how will you as a whole, feel these changes?

A friend of mine knew that she was evolving when her skin problems and headaches and a variety of other ailments, gradually disappeared coinciding with dropping the sources of torment out of her life.

A BR student started sleeping better than she had been in over a decade.

Another student knew that something dramatic had shifted when she said no to her bullyish colleague and rather than experience the old mounting panic, she smiled, walked away and then hugged herself with glee when she was out of sight.

Looking back, I knew that I was making a very positive difference when I found myself being more present-based and when I suddenly started seeing certain people so much in 20:20 vision that I would laugh at the absurdity of me ever having been terrified of their opinions/criticisms or admiring them, never mind having blamed myself. I also heard myself not only increasingly asking for what I wanted (and it being no biggie if it didn’t happen because at least I knew I’d put it out there) but also speaking up if I didn’t like something or it didn’t work for me rather than suffering in silence and then berating the hell out of myself along with my inner critic.

How do you want to feel and what will that feel like?

7. Plan for evolved outcomes.

Due to your inner critic’s chatter, you have typically planned for failure and pain and then adapted your responses accordingly in order to pre-empt this. This is because the inner critic when it’s running riot is the epitome of catastrophic thinking - always assumes the absolute worst and treats whatever it’s making noise about and its basis as a permanent statement of the future.

In the past you’ve responded to your inner critic on autopilot or semi-consciously so you haven’t really had a chance to strongly consider your own desires and whether what you’re listening to and complying with is taking you towards your desires or even your own values, or whether it’s taking you away from these.

Inner critics make you plan for the worst. You end up living in the past, making you anxious in the present, and then projecting the past experiences or your perception of the fear into your now and the future.

Planning for success is not about planning for the perfect outcome where people do exactly as you need, want, and expect or you feeling happy classy 24/7 but it is about planning to do better by you and about being conscious, aware, and present so that you can spend more time coming from a place of love, care, trust and respect.

You're planning for evolved outcomes.

You have gotten a sense of what does and doesn’t work for you whether it’s from your inner critic or any outer ones. That is not how you want to live anymore and what you have been working on is taking steps each day to evolving out of that pattern so that you can see you more clearly and love and like you more clearly.

All the journaling and exploring - it’s about evolving your typical responses to certain situations, feelings and thoughts.

We often think about how we want to feel a certain way, be a certain way and do certain things but what we don’t always give enough due consideration to, is how we will get there and we have to be conscious about those different things we need to think, feel and do because otherwise, we will keep using the same thinking and behaviours that are attached to the old way of life.

How will you get there?

Remember that it's not about changing others; it's about changing how you feel and reducing the amount of actions and thoughts that bring about even more unloving feelings, thoughts, and actions. If you remember this, it can calm any panic and resistance you may experience.

Make your steps specific and actionable.

You will know that you are doing them and this is a form of self-validation.

One of my best examples of this is one that I have been sharing for most of my BR journey and that I still employ to this day:

I used to feel almost imprisoned by my mother's calls. I felt drained and very triggered as she essentially dumped everything and then got charged up. I would experience veiled and direct criticism, guilting, goading and all sorts. Ever since I was a little girl, my mother had been telling me that “good girls” and then “good daughters” listen to all of their mother’s problems (even inappropriate ones) and take responsibility for sorting them out. Internally, aside from being conditioned to think I was a bad daughter if I felt remotely uncomfortable with any of this carry-on, I also continued to listen to the backing track of my inner critic because I was still being dutiful. My acupuncturist asked me what I was going to do about the calls and I said that I couldn't do anything because this is what she's like.

"But what are you going to do about being a party to these experiences?"

Eek, lightbulb more like punchbulb moment!. My mother had woeful boundaries but mine were crap too. I was removing my choices and victimising me time and again while also maintaining a position of complaining about her.

So (and it was bloody excruciating initially) I set time limits for calls, established a mental list of danger words that signalled the direction a call (or conversation) was taking, and I stopped answering every call and screened. I felt awful initially followed very quickly by feeling empowered. She has attempted to guilt me at times, claiming that surely it's the job of a daughter to listen to her mother. Actually, it isn't. I could easily remind her of a few of her own 'jobs' that she didn't and doesn't do but I don’t. I choose being emotionally and mentally boundaried which makes it easier to be boundaried in other ways. These 'simple' but at the time quite scary changes for me, have had a dramatic impact on my life and because I became more aware of my body responses in these instances, the information was useful in other situations where I felt similarly.

To work out my steps, I identified the typical scenario and how it usually played out.

I looked at what I could do differently at various stages and worked out the various steps and key moves. e.g. Limiting calls to 10-15 minutes, having a ready-made set of exit reasons. "Is that the time? Gosh, sorry. I'm going to have to go. I hope it all gets sorted out" and buh-bye. Or how I could remove or distance myself out of these situations. I identified triggers and kept a running list. These are feelings, things that the person does or says etc, that alert me to the pattern.

I tried them out and payed attention to how I felt etc as well as the overall outcome.

After each experience, I grounded me with some reassurance about having done something good and basically didn't guilt me. I felt a complete panic the first few times and then when The Apocalypse didn't happen, I realised that most of the drama was coming from my imagination and dialed it right down, reminding me of what I was

I tweaked as I went. I can do longer calls with my mother but I don't do long annoying calls. I just get off them.

I only owned my own behaviour and feelings which hasn't always been easy but most definitely necessary.

I noted the positive differences in my life and self-validated by basically saying, "Well done!” especially when my inner critic was inclined to want to say otherwise…

Note that the changes had a very positive impact on my relationship with her as I became a grown-up and she had to redirect some of her critical energy in other directions and this taught me something that really validates why what you’re doing is so critical:

You’re taking a two-pronged approach of getting conscious about the thoughts that you feed you and the way that you treat you while also responding to outer critics differently. Doing this changes the backing track and in fact, removes a hell of a lot of it because you’re now in the present. The more you respond to outer critics differently is the more you respond to your inner critic differently.

JOURNALING: This is one big journaling class but if you’re on a roll and you’ve got lots of feelings and thoughts coming up, write about these as well as what it feels like to be a person who is allowing desire and allowing his or herself.

TASK: Take a typical outer critic scenario (which will be one where your inner critic will no doubt want to invite itself along and put its feet up on your mental coffee table while spouting off! Break it down into bitesize stages of what tends to play out - rewind your mental tape on a past similar experience and be the observer. What do you see now about where you can alter your response and limit their impact on you?

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