Episode 74: Goodbye Thoughts
Welcome back to the podcast! Happy New year! I love that you’re here with me. Can you believe we’re on episode 74 already?! I want to give you all a huge thank you for being here with me. I can’t wait to share all the fun new and exciting things I’ve got planned for you in 2021.
It’s going to be such an amazing year and I love that you’re coming along with me to learn and grow and to become more confident in yourself, in your relationships, and in the world!
So listen, before we dive in I want to take a minute to share our community spotlight! Yay! Today’s spotlight is from Neondione and she writes: MOTIVATED!
“I love this podcast! Hannah has shared so many tools that have helped me improve my life and work towards goals. I always feel motivated to get to work after I listen!”
Thanks Neondione! I’m so glad these motivate and inspire. Especially now, keep your goals alive and well and moving forward a bit each day. So, it’s January 2021.
Goodbye 2020, you’ve been quite a year. And hello 2021! New year, new goals, new opportunities. With all the newness and welcoming in of the new year it’s important that we also learn to leave some things in the past – more specifically speaking, some thoughts in the past that aren’t serving you and won’t ever serve you.
I’ve been reading quite a few books on minimalism this year, not that I have a desire to be a minimalist in my home although I love a clean, organized space but I absolutely love the mindset behind so many of the minimalist books and learning to declutter your mind and beliefs around your belongings.
If you’re looking for book recommendations on minimalism I still highly recommend starting with Marie Kondo’s books. I love her focus on sparking JOY instead of getting rid of for the sake of getting rid of. Another book that I’ve found so much insight in and has given me a lot to ponder on has been the book, Goodbye things by Fumio Sasaki
And as I was reading this I always apply it to mindset and one of the things he writes is that, “Minimalism is built around the idea that there’s nothing that you’re lacking.” ― Fumio Sasaki
And so often we feel lacking, like we fall short, that something or someone outside of us will make us feel better, more complete so we chase after things only to create stress, fear, scarcity, and doubt in our lives. Which could also look like creating or adding mental clutter in our minds. So today I want to kick off the new year and always clearing out our most precious space, our minds by saying goodbye to 6 unhelpful, not productive, won’t ever serve you thoughts.
1.) I don’t belong – With all the thoughts you might have a variation of the thought so pay attention to how this belief shows up in your life. It might look like, “I’m different”, “people don’t like me”, “ I don’t have many friends – or many close friends” – But all these thoughts fall under the same umbrella which is, I don’t belong and to add to that we think, I should be or I need to be.
I’m starting with our heavy hitter because this is a painful belief that is one of the most common limiting thoughts that we all share – like in humanity we all share which, just stop and appreciate that for a moment because we believe that we don’t belong because we’re different in someway, we don’t fit in, we don’t have things in common and yet underneath it all there’s a shared, common belief that to some degree or another we don’t feel like we really belong or fit in.
I remember years ago meeting this new girl that moved into our area and we didn’t have a lot in common. I think the only thing we did have in common was that we were both friendly and wanted another friend to hang out with but each time we’d talk or get together it was apparent just how different we really were, in our preferences, beliefs, lifestyle, food choices even.
So initially I was excited to get to know her and to have this new friend but the more we talked the more I found proof that, “yep, see? Here it is again. I’m different. I don’t belong.” Until one day she opened up and said she didn’t feel like she fit in or that she had a good close circle of friends and hearing her talk about it and articulate her thoughts and feelings it was an immediate bond. I was like, “you too?”
You know, C.S. Lewis says, “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
And after that that bond held the friendship. See, what I want to point out and offer to you is that what you look for, you find. If you look for ways that you don’t fit in, you’re going to find it. Your brain will filter out any other possibilities to prove your belief true and you have ask yourself, “is that what I want?”
Because here’s another belief you could try on instead, Maya Angelo said, “we are all people, and so much more alike than different.” Giving your brain that job to do, that belief to look for and find evidence of is going to be of a greater benefit to you than finding ways you’re different ever will. It’s an inclusive thought instead of the other which is focused on exclusion and separation. You’ll want to say goodbye that thought and all the mental clutter that goes with it.
2.) I don’t know – how many times do you find yourself saying, “I don’t know”? It’s such a believable thought and one that most are well practiced at. It’s convincing because a lot of times you really don’t know – or don’t know how to do something but here’s the thing, again…when you tell yourself this thought your brain takes that as a decision made. It’s like, “okay, we don’t know” shut that door and move on, what’s next?
And with the door shut you won’t ever know. But the problem is, most of the time, you really do want to know or have some direction so closing the door isn’t going to be productive, helpful, or of benefit to you. It’s just an easy answer that takes the pressure off your brain of having to figure it out and your brain likes that.
To you primitive brain it’s main operative is to keep you alive which means, stay away from anything painful – which includes expending energy with a challenging thought. It feels uncomfortable to sit with something we haven’t figured out yet but that discomfort is temporary and incomparable with the joy of having sat with it and made headway with it. That breakthrough feeling is one of excitement and relief that we can’t ever get to without wading through that discomfort.
And that relief from a mental weight being lifted doesn’t go away when we tell ourselves, I don’t know. We have a temporary relief but it’s very fleeting because you still have that pressure of not knowing and wanting to know. It’s like procrastination – you know you still have the project or assignment to do and watching TV in the meantime might feel like a good idea and like a form of relief but you can’t even fully enjoy it or be wholly present because a portion of your mind is still thinking about what you need or want to do. Same thing with, “I don’t know”. You really do want to know in most cases so don’t buy into your story of, “I don’t know” even if it’s currently true, there’s more helpful, useful, and productive thoughts that will serve you more than believing in limitations.
Some alternatives can be, “I don’t know YET” – yet is powerful in and of itself because it brings hope and a belief that it is figureoutable. There is a way if I just sit with it. If telling yourself you don’t know is like closing the door to a problem then adding the yet is leaving that door open even just a crack so your brain can continue working on it and processing it so you can figure it out.
Another alternative is, “I don’t know yet but I bet I could I figure it out” or “I’m working on believing that I could figure it out”, or even just, “I’m in the process of figuring it out” – see how each of those feels in your mind. I promise they all feel better than just, “I don’t know”.
3.) “There’s a right way” – there are several variations to this belief and it can show in sneaky ways sometimes. I had a client just recently tell me she was stuck in indecision because she had to make a choice and wanted to make the one that would be the best for her family. And that sounds good and noble, right? But what that thought really means is, “I need to choose the right way in order for us to be happy”. That adds a ton of unnecessary pressure to the mix and a lot of mental clutter.
When we’re looking for the “right way” we really creating fear of the “wrong way”. We go back and forth weighing things out, looking at all the variables, we talk to friends, we make pro and con’s lists, we expend a lot of unnecessary energy trying to find the “right way” or the “best way” out of scarcity and fear that we don’t want to choose the wrong way or the lesser way.
Here’s the thing with that one, there isn’t an either or. There are just choices you make. Right, better, good – they’re all subjective. What’s right for you won’t necessarily be right for me. So the easiest way is to drop the adjectives and just leave it as, “a way”. There is a way to do this. A way cuts through all the drama and opens it up to be what you want it to be.
So many people get into tiffs and arguments because they’re both believing that their way is the right way and if there’s opposition or a disagreement then we feel threatened in a sense and we go to work defending our position and afterwards we have a lot of residual clutter left over that we think about, ruminate on, have more conversations about with others looking for validation that we are right and they’re wrong but what if it didn’t need to get to that point?
What if you could both be right? What if there isn’t a set way but rather A WAY?
It’s okay if others don’t agree, they don’t have to. They’re functioning and operating from A WAY and you get to choose what your way is. It’s just a choice that you make right by deciding it’s right.
Have you seen the recent release, “The Soul”? Loved that Pixar movie! In the film his mother thinks that going with the dependable job offer is the right way. It makes sense to her. She can see lots of benefits from it but it’s not what he wants. It’s not the right way for him. But you can see that this differing of opinions creates a lot of tension between them because they both believe they’re right. How often have you seen this same scenario play out in your life?
There isn’t a set way. There are just ways. So next time you’re struggling to find, “The right way” or you’re defending your position because you belief you’re right just pause and instead tell yourself, “that is A WAY”. Pay attention to how it feels. There’s no pressure, weight, overwhelm – it just is. And you get to decide what way you’ll choose simply because you want to.
4.) I’ll never – obviously this is a fragmented sentence because it’s usually followed by what you believe you’ll never have/do/earn/become/ be like etc. But it’s a thought you might want to say goodbye to because it won’t help you create, experience, or feel what you want to.
It’s such a limiting thought because it’s completely contrary to hope, to possibilities, and to growth. It, like the, “I don’t know” thought cuts off your mental energy to solving for it. It’s serves as a command almost. You tell your brain, “I’ll never have that” or “I’ll never be that” or “I’ll never create that” and it becomes true – not because it is, but rather because that’s what you’ve decided to use your brain power on.
It’s incredibly limiting and it’s one of the most painful thoughts you can keep because it’s puts at bay what you really want. Say goodbye to that thought and in it’s place try on curiosity instead. Curiosity doesn’t blindly believe it’s possible and in the bag but it does allow you to widen your perspective to see what might be possible, how it might not be so far away and all the while, finding evidence to prove the possibilities as an option.
I love asking myself, “how might it be possible that…” instead of, “I’ll never”
5.) I should be (happy, more productive, grateful) – oh this thought ensnares so many goodhearted, wonderful, well-meaning people (myself included for a number of years.) It just sounds so beautiful and what you think a “good” person would think but it’s anything but beautiful and it’s terribly limiting.
You don’t have to be anything other than what you are. As a human I believe we want to experience the full spectrum of mortality and includes our feelings. Happy is great but there’s so much more than happy. I think of happy like I think of candy. It’s a rush a delight, a sugar high that just feels fantastic but then as quickly as it came on, it’s gone again. It’s fleeting and temporary. It also doesn’t hold much substance. There’s so much more that we can aim for, that we can experience, and that we might want to create for ourselves.
I love aiming for JOY. Joy encompasses both the ups and the downs, the lights and the darks, all of life and adds depth and meaning to our lives. We can be sad, allow ourselves to be disappointed and it doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong or that we shouldn’t be feeling that. The Savior himself described himself as a “man of sorrows”.
Happy isn’t the end goal. You owe it to yourself to create and experience so much more.
Be careful with the shoulds. In short, the should’s are our own made up rules – which is really just masked limitations. There is nothing you should do or should be or that others should either.
There are only decisions. What you want,, who you want to be, how you want to show up, what you want to do with your time. This isn’t a hedonistic view point. This is using your agency to choose who you are and who you’re becoming.
I don’t go to service projects because I should. I don’t go to church or read my scriptures because I should. I do it because I want to. Because I want to be the kind of person who loves savoring and studying the word of God. This is what Heavenly Father wants from us – for us to choose Him, not because we should but because we really want to.
Drop the shoulds. Give yourself the out and see who you are, what kind of a person you are. From that transparent place, you can then evaluate yourself, “is this who I want to be?” I remember for a time I struggled with visiting teaching – this was before it was called ministering. It wasn’t anything to do with the wonderful people that I got to visit but rather the looming checks and “shoulds”. The month would get busy and I’d forget and then the last day of the month I’d panic because I believed, “to be a good visiting teacher I should go see them”.
I cringed at what my sisters thought of me, because I knew that THEY knew that it was last day of the month and that I was coming because it was the last day of the month and I was going to need to report if I did it or not. I had people do it to me too and I made it mean that I was just a number or a check box and I just really struggled with it.
So when I finally gave myself permission to drop the “should’s” I realized that I missed my sisters on my route. I wanted to see them and when I changed the belief from should to want to, everything shifted.
Give yourself permission to drop the shoulds and replace it with wants. It’s here you’ll see who you’re really becoming and from there you can decide if you like your current trajectory or if you want to readjust. It makes life so much simpler and more beautiful this way.
Okay last belief we’ll talk about today:
6.) Happiness comes from outside of me – this is like the first one where we don’t generally think that specific saying but the idea is still the same. It’s masked as things like, “I need to lose weight so I can be happy”, “I need to be in a committed relationship to be fulfilled and happy.” “I need to earn more money so I can realize my potential and be happy”. “I need a better house”, “I need better friends”. “I need a better support system”, “I need a better income”, “I need a better, more supportive family”, “I need people to understand me”, “I need my spouse to connect with me”, “I need people to see me”, “I need more savings to feel secure and happy”, “I need to get out of debt so I can feel relief and feel better” aka happy. “I need my parents to approve of me so I can feel happy”. “I need a better job then I’ll be happy”. “I need my spouse to notice me and appreciate me, validate me so I can be happy”. “ I need my friends to agree with me and see things the way I do so I can feel supported and happy.”
What are you currently telling yourself? How are you looking outside of yourself to find happiness?
It’s such a sneaky thought because we do have needs but when we place our needs in the hands of others we put ourselves in a very tight and limiting spot. We become needy. It changes the way we show up around people, what we say, and the meanings we attach to things.
It’s a limiting space and one that for sure invites in scarcity, fear, insecurity, and doubts. This is a belief we must say goodbye to in order to create authentic peace, joy, and fulfillment – notice I said, JOY not happiness. Because happiness is fleeting but JOY endures and lasts and appreciates everything.
The quality of your life is not contingent upon your circumstances which includes the people in your life and those that are around you. One of my favorite sayings is, “Maybe all that’s missing lives inside of you” and it’s true.
When we outsource our emotional well-being, when we look outside ourselves to find peace and joy we put ourselves in a victim role. We wait and look to others to treat us a certain way. We show up and share of ourselves from a place of expectation and give and take. This is not the place you want to be in. It’s too contingent upon something outside of you. Something you have no control over.
You can’t create confidence and certainty from something you don’t have control over. So take your control back. Control the only thing you can control – you, your feelings, and your overall experience.
The best way to get out of victim role is to take responsibility. Own the way you’re feeling is because of a thought and what you made your circumstances mean about you. Let other people be themselves without having to walk on egg shells or in fear that they’ll disappoint you or let you down in someway and visa versa.
The best relationships are those where each party takes responsibility of their own emotional well being. Then from that confident, secure space they can show up together and just have fun. They can be there because they want to be there not because they’re afraid of how you’ll feel or what you’ll make the circumstances mean.
Say goodbye to outsourcing your emotional well-being.
Happiness and joy is an inside job. Take responsibility for that sacred and powerful truth.
You’ve heard the saying, “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” and that’s just not true. While I don’t choose to be happy when others are suffering around me, I also don’t take ownership of it. When I come from a supportive stance, filling my own bucket I can let them be human without adding my interpretation and should’s to the mix. I can let them experience what they need and want to and ask them if I can help in anyway but knowing that they can’t hurt me.
I can be open and honest and authentic because I know that’s the best gift we can offer another person. I love people who are transparent even if sometimes we don’t agree or we clash. I love it because I never have to question what they really mean or if they’re just saying that or doing that, if they’re being passive aggressive, if I have to guess what they want or participate in mind games.
Don’t outsource your emotional wellbeing and this is true for your health, your weight, your body image, your job, your income, your relationships, everything. You are the best person to create happiness for you because you’re the only one that can.
It’s not their job to meet your needs, it’s yours.
Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” This includes living how you think they think you should or wasting time over thinking what they think of you. Choose authenticity. Choose radical honesty. Choose to take control over your emotional wellbeing. I promise it’s a beautiful place to operate from.
Okay, there you have it. 6 beliefs to say goodbye to immediately to help you cultivate an authentic, confident life. There’s a lot more but this will get you started.
Okay, all have a great week and I’ll talk to you next time!