Episode 107: It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

 In Blog

There are moments when we just feel stuck. We might feel stuck in a story about ourselves or others, stuck in a feeling, stuck in a pattern of behavior, or a family relationship and it’s painful because there’s no growth or moving forward in stuckness. But there is a glorious, most freeing truth: It doesn’t have to be this way. Today, I share an easy, straightforward path to release you from your own bondage of stuckness and to move back into the power of growth!

Hello, my Catalyst friends!

Welcome to another week on the podcast. This month in the membership we’ve been thinking and working hard to add more JOY into our lives and it’s been amazing. Joy is so much more than just happy. Joy is lasting, fulfilling, and runs deep which is something we all want and need especially during the holidays. I’ve seen a lot of ads and marketing to beat the stress of the holidays but more so than that we don’t just want to eliminate stress, we want to be able to take life as it comes and through it all to be able to see and count it all JOY.

Life is 50/50. Opposition in all things. There are going to be ups and downs. There’s going to be messy family moments. There’s going to be things said and done and I love that you can learn tools to help you navigate through that but again, find purpose in it, find fulfillment in it, and overall find and create JOY throughout all of it.

So listen, if you haven’t joined yet – come join us. The membership is chalked full of classes, courses, workbooks, ideas, 1-1 coaching opportunities, group coaching opportunities, anonymous coaching options, and it’s all geared and centered on your growth as a confident, secure, joyful human being.

This could be the BEST gift you give yourself and others for the rest of your life. Coaching is life-changing and no man is an island. You don’t just change you, your changes influence and inspire everyone else around you to become a better human being. That’s one of the reasons why I love this work SO MUCH. I love that our main work is to become better, to feel better, which motivates us to do better and just to live better lives with better loves, better connections, better relationships, better growth, better capacity, just everything gets better.

Which btw, I’m really excited about it because you all know I choose a word of the year, and this last year for 2021 I chose the word LOVE – and wow…I can’t wait to share the immense and just phenomenal growth I’ve had this last year and I thought I was really loving it beforehand. This year was just astounding and I’m not quite ready to choose a different focus so instead, I’ve chosen the word BETTER. This is really love 2.0 because I’m going to learn how to love even better. Which means loving you, my podcast friends even better. Loving my clients even better. Loving my family, my cute husband even better which is hard to do because I’m to the brim and constantly overflowing with love. So more on that to come – that was a tangent but I’m excited to share that with you.

What is your word? Do you choose one? Do you let it become your lens for the next year? Do you let it guide your daily choices and actions? I love words, I love the intentional focus that this process brings. So share! I want to know what your focus word is for 2022!

Now, in today’s podcast, we are talking about a difference in perspective. Our brain’s really don’t like to entertain more than one possibility. We like to have a concrete story, a fixed image which can be good. It’s the fixed, stability of it that we build our confidence from. We can’t feel confident when we’re standing on shaky, insecure ground, right? So on one hand this is a good thing but not when that foundation is set with limiting beliefs or just flat out painful beliefs, a painful past. When that happens it’s a recipe for disaster.

So today’s episode I want to offer this truth, “it doesn’t have to be that way”.

These words are some of the most compassionate, beautiful, hopeful words in existence. It (whatever “it” is, doesn’t have to be like that). If you’re listening to this when it drops we’re 10 days away from Christmas and we’re in full holiday swing. My kids just went caroling yesterday. We baked Christmas cookies to share. We’ve already started the holiday gatherings and parties and while it’s so fun, it can also be really triggering.

Chances are you’re going to be triggered by something or someone this holiday season multiple times even. We’re triggered by gift-giving or receiving – because someone never likes the gifts we buy, or they give us the “wrong” things each year. You think you have to have family dinner and mingle with family members that maybe you struggle with. The gatherings trigger past lower case t traumas or even some capital T ones.

There are a great many things happening during this season and it’s not just confined to the holidays – we’re triggered on a daily basis just by the circumstances of life. So I want to offer you a simple yet deeply profound tool that you can keep with you always to help you navigate and find peace and JOY in your life.

Everything we see, everything we take in, every conversation, meeting, encounter all gets sifted through the lens of our own interpretation and perspective. This I believe we already know at least, logically we know this. But then we build this story around it or add to the story already formed in our minds that only perpetuates what we think we already know. 

We don’t come up with a new story each time we see someone. We already have a story for that someone and each time we see them we add to it. You already have a history with them, you already know the family well. You think you already know and so because you already know you just run with that and you don’t pause to question, to inquire, or to look within to see if that story is serving you or not.

And this is a good thing most of the time. We only have so much mental energy per day and your brain is so highly developed and efficient that it doesn’t have to start from scratch every time you see something or someone. It already has learned that and filed away that information so when you see a rose you don’t just grab with hands because you already know there are thorns and proceed with care and caution, right? 

Okay but sometimes this backfires and it works against us. Say you’ve had a rough encounter with someone in the past and your brain has filed away that that person is danger. They aren’t nice, they are mean, they are scary, tread with caution so just imagine what the new interaction is going to look like: you on guard, showing up inauthentic/ protective/defensive and your brain is on alert looking for any new “evidence” to prove the previously set story true.

And I’m not entirely knocking that. While we don’t want to be naive and put ourselves in a position that isn’t for our good we also don’t want to write someone off ahead of time. I don’t know about you – actually I do, because I know human nature but we are constantly changing. I’m not the same person I was last year or three years ago and definitely nowhere near what I was in high school so if I see people from the past I’m hoping they’re able to see me with new eyes and not a younger, messier version. And if I want that from them, if I hope they see and experience the Hannah I am now – who I love and worked so hard to create then I need and want to offer that same gift to them as well. 

And it’s not for them. You thinking thoughts about another person really isn’t for their benefit. It’s for you. It’s for your benefit. It’s for you to be able to clear away all the mess and past drama, old stumbling blocks, and challenges and see them in a potentially new light and perspective.

I’ve shared this before but it’s a really good example of this. Years and years ago I was in this class where the teacher was someone I knew really well and kind of struggled with. It was someone that you could say we had a history, right? I knew her for a long time. I saw her being judgmental and just not kind. So here she was getting ready to teach this class and my brain was full of this story like, “oh great. This is going to be fun” – right, total sarcasm there. And as things started and I’m sitting there arms crossed pretty closed off. I noticed how uncomfortable I felt. How uncomfortable I was making myself with this story in my head and as I started to just hold that self-accountability I looked around the room at all these smiling faces and engaged people listening to her teach and I had the thought, what would happen if I didn’t believe all the things I believed about her?

What would change if I didn’t see her through the lens of judgey or mean? (and always a catch-22 because what I didn’t like about her my brain was eager to mirror back to me in that moment, right?) So I just sat there toying with the idea that things didn’t have to be the way they currently were for me. I didn’t have to believe that story that I was telling myself about her. I didn’t have to sit there with my arms crossed closed off and uncomfortable. 

So I started to tell myself a new story. I started by just asking myself, what if I were new? What I didn’t have a history with her at all? What if I didn’t have a story for her and I just came in 100% new? What would that look like? What would that be like? What would I be thinking in this moment? 

And we did have new faces in the room and so I looked over at them and they were smiling and engaged and laughing because she is funny. She was just a light in that moment. And I realized that it wasn’t her at all but rather my story about her and I didn’t have to experience things the way my brain initially thought I did. I had options. I had a choice. It didn’t have to be that way. 

So I chose a new thought. I listened as if I were new. I loved her class. I loved her stories and examples and I took pages of notes when I finally allowed myself to be open enough to learn and to see things from a new perspective.

This is just one facet of this incredible tool and no, I’m not suggesting that we just “forget” everything. Especially in times where we feel unsafe. I’m offering to you that at any given moment you always have a choice to decide how you want to experience things and what lens you want to see things through.

It had been years since I had seen that woman and my brain was still holding her to her past. Who was I to say that she didn’t work through that? Who was I to say that even in the past I may have gotten that wrong about her? The past story only created pain for me and I didn’t want that. I decided to believe that I didn’t need to know her background for a class. I didn’t need to have a history with her to enjoy her lesson. Things could be different and because I entertained the thought, it was different.

When we allow ourselves step back and see that we have more of a choice than we initially realize – that we can move past the whole, “it’s always been that way” kind of story then we can start to see that just maybe it really doesn’t have to be this way.

There’s so much freedom in this. Possibility is endless and you start to feel encompassed by this comforting feeling. This is more than just changing your thoughts. I know I’ve shared with you that for a really long time I thought that if I just changed my thoughts then I’d feel better and that’s right to a degree – but it’s less about just thinking new thoughts and really allowing yourself to let go, to see that it’s your tight grip, your lens, your story that’s creating the pain and resistance in the first place. So once we realize that, hey, we have a part in this and that I don’t have to believe this if I don’t want to – we reach a bit of freedom.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

It doesn’t have to feel like that.

You don’t have to show up that way.

You don’t have to believe that.

Dr. Joe Dispenza talks pretty frequently about the possibility and option of creating a new being. His book even called, “breaking the habit of being yourself” is so fascinating and again hopeful because it’s less about just thinking new thoughts and more about breaking the negative thought habits, the past limiting story that creates a painful present.

He says, “If you want a new outcome, you will have to break the habit of being yourself, and reinvent a new self.”

When I sat in that classroom with that teacher and I knew I didn’t want the current outcome trajectory. I had to break the habit of who I was in that moment. I needed to stop thinking about the thoughts that created the judgment and pain. I needed to reinvent a new self for that setting.

When I stepped out of my habitual thinking and into curiosity – notice not the opposite – oh I love her! You can’t go there yet. Your brain will reject it. It doesn’t fully believe it so you have to merge out of the old and into the new with curiosity. Curiosity is the vehicle by which change is made possible.

So when you think about this new self – who is that person? What would they think? How would they feel right now? What would they do? And because of those actions, what would that create?

We can’t keep thinking the same thoughts, holding onto the same ideals and beliefs and expecting something new to happen. In order to start that change, we need to be curious of what’s possible and open to the truth that you have everything you need within you to make it happen.

This process isn’t limited to our connections with others. This is meant for anything, any circumstance, any setting, and goal or dream, or prospect. It’s meant for anything your brain is thinking. If it’s not in alignment with who you are and who you want to be then it doesn’t have to be that way. There are other options.

But to get to those other options you have to stop thinking the same thoughts that created your current situation. You have to think differently which means asking questions. Good insightful questions. Like I mentioned earlier, What if I didn’t believe those thoughts about her? What if it wasn’t true? What if THIS is who she really is and not a glimpse of what I thought I saw in the past?

Then you can move into possibility and it’s possible that I can feel something different. It’s possible that I can be open to the idea that over time she or I have changed. It’s possible that …

Those are some power words right there because anything IS possible if we allow ourselves to entertain the belief.

Dispenza says, “if we want to change some aspect of our reality, we have to think, feel, and act in new ways; we have to “be” different in terms of our responses to experiences. We have to “become” someone else. We have to create a new state of mind … we need to observe a new outcome with that new mind.” 

Did you catch the model in there? Think, feel, do, become – right? There is power in our agency to choose one thought over the other. To give energy to it that makes it real for us. 

I love the thought and truth, it doesn’t have to be this way.

You don’t have to be the same person you have always been if you want more for yourself. You are capable of change. You are capable of so much more than you give yourself energy to think and believe even. 

One of the most limiting things we can say to ourselves and others is “I’ve always been that way”. Just because you were a certain way for a while it doesn’t mean that it will always be that way. You can choose to be different at any moment, any time, any place. You can just choose because there is power in your confident decisions.

Change is a choice it’s not a reaction to our circumstances.

I see this change in my clients again and again as they learn how to use and implement these tools. You are more powerful than you realize and capable of all the things that you really want and I don’t just mean things – I’m talking about who you can become, what kind of relationships you have, what you can create for yourself.

Instead of creating from the past – which is just information not a story unless we make it one – why not create from the future? Why not tap into your future you and see what they’re creating 3, 5, 10 years from now. There is so much wisdom in that  – this untapped source of potential and encouragement. If we’re always taking from past experiences, seeing others from the past, ourselves and what we can do or who we are from the past how do we ever expect to create new memories or a new outcome?

You reserve the right and have the power to think at any moment, “it doesn’t have to be this way.”

You don’t have to think that thought.

You don’t have to continue with that behavior or attitude.

There are going to be times in your life when people are going to misread you. They’re going to misinterpret how you’re showing up and it’s in these times that we tend to get defensive and upset and create a negative outcome but it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can let others be wrong about you.

You do not have to conform or defend or even explain.

There doesn’t have to be a long conversation about it either.

The only work that really needs to be done in any moment is the work that you engage in in your own mind. You need to realize, “wait, it doesn’t have to be this way.”

And then from that space of freedom and infinite possibilities, “What do I want?”

If it’s not that, then what is it?

And then decide.

You don’t have to be offended.

You don’t have to mirror what others are doing or how they’re showing up.

When others are cranky or rude or wrong – you don’t have to participate.

You don’t have to engage.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

And the beautiful, most amazing truth is that this concept applies to everything. I’ve talked a lot about this through a relationship’s viewpoint because we’re in the season right now of lots of family time, holiday gatherings, more people and shopping and events and such but this applies to everything.

When your brain is worried about money and you have the thought, “I’ll never have enough.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. I could be wrong about that.

Because you know what happens when you indulge in the first thought – I’ll never? You brain finds evidence of that and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You don’t see opportunities before you because your brain blurs those out to focus on the lack because it thinks that’s what you want. That’s what you’re choosing to focus on. It doesn’t make it true though.

So when you pause and interrupt that limiting belief you can again think, “Wait, it doesn’t have to be that way”

And start to engage in curiosity, then possibility, then a decision to think a new thought. That new thought will create a new feeling which will result in a new action or new actions which give you a different outcome.

It’s not magic but it sure feels like it sometimes.

In positive psychology, they’ve studied and researched extensively the difference in positive thoughts and our negative thoughts. Negative thoughts lead to really predictable feelings which create predictable actions which lead to predictable results.

When someone is angry for example, they might yell, snap, fume, or react which creates contention, disconnection, and a close-minded perspective.

But when someone is feeling joyful for example, there’s a vast array of actions they might take – it’s unpredictable because when we open ourselves to positive emotions it broadens our perspective and range of possibilities unlike when we feel negative emotions that narrows our perspective and range of what’s possible for us in that moment. And it’s not that it becomes not possible, it’s that we, ourselves can’t see possibility. We limit ourselves when we keep negative thinking or when we indulge in that negative thought.

Which is why that truth is so incredibly powerful and beautiful. It (whatever the it is in that moment) , It doesn’t have to be that way.

And it’s true. 

Again, you don’t have to think that way.

You don’t have to keep reliving and recreating that story, that memory, that belief.

Let me give you one last example of how powerful this concept can be. One area that many struggle in is in their relationship with their body. We live in a world that targets our physical appearance. The beauty industry is actively looking for new ways to target your appearance to trigger your insecurities so that you’ll buy into their products, their program, and keep funding the cycle.

So it’s easy to see how the majority of people struggle to be content with their body, their size, their appearance, their skin, their weight, their eyelashes even, right?

Drs. Lindsay and Lexie Kite founded a non-profit organization that targets this specifically and I highly recommend going and learning from these two powerhouses. They’re amazing but one thing they teach is something called, “disruptions”.

Anytime you find yourself thinking about your appearance and you start looking AT your body instead of being IN your body this is a disruption. It’s limiting your view and experience of who you are and what you can feel and create in this moment. For example, when you walk passed a mirror or a window and you glance over and see your reflection and you have a quick thought or make a gesture of disappointment, like, “ugh…” followed by a negative comment about your body – this is a disruption.

It’s disrupting your ability to be IN your body because you moved instantly from feeling your body move and being in your body to looking AT your body and believing outside or other’s thoughts about how a body “should” look. 

In these moments apply the following statement, “It doesn’t have to be this way”.

I don’t have to think those things about my body.

I don’t have to look AT my body – my body is not to be looked AT but to be lived IN.

I don’t have to conform to other’s beliefs about how my body should look and be like.

I don’t have to chastise, punish, or feel negatively about my body.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

And then move into curiosity, which can look like questioning the negative thoughts. Instead of focusing on how your body looks, go inside and instead focus on how your body FEELS. Your body doesn’t feel your wrinkles or your gray hair, it definitely doesn’t feel cellulite. It feels capable and strong and able.

You body is amazing but we limit ourselves because we’re tied to a limiting, false story about our body. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to buy into it. When those disruptions come bring it back to these three things:

1.) awareness – it doesn’t have to be this way.

2.) be curious – what do I want? What’s possible for me in this moment? hint: infinity – infinite possibility is available to you in this moment

3.) decide to move forward

And to make this even easier on you think of your abc’s

a: awareness

b-c: be curious 

d: decide


Okay, my friends, this is a huge game-changer for your life, for your connections, for your present and future, for what you can create, do, become, and have. I can’t wait to hear how you’ve started to implement this. Try it out immediately so that you can see how incredible this power is.

On a daily basis anytime your brain offers you a non-productive, or limiting thought bring in your abc’s. It doesn’t have to be this way and then find out what you’re capable of, what new direction things can turn into, what new opportunities you create.

Have a wonderful week my friends and I’ll talk to you next time!

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