When exploring various inspirational materials, it’s often a surprise to me when there is a coincidence in the topics. Is the Universe telling me something I really need to focus on? Last month, this occurred with a Chopra Meditation Series on Empowerment and my reading a Rachel Hollis book (Girl, Stop Apologizing), which was also about personal empowerment. This blog post captures my synthesizing self-empowerment thinking as it pertains to living my ideal retirement lifestyle and my focus this year.
What I love about the Chopra meditations are the new affirmations that emerge, which I will include in this blog post.
I have the power to change my life.
I am unconstrained by habits of the past or worry about the future.
Chopra indicates that Empowerment means going beyond the Ego Self to the True Self. Since part of my personal spiritual journey is trying to identify my authentic self, separate from societal expectations, this definitely resonated with me.
Most of the time our subconscious Ego Self is running the show. It’s in our reactions to situations, our unconscious habits/behaviors, and our beliefs of who we are and what we can/can’t do. The current thinking pathways, formed over time and repetition, are well-established highways. To change, we need to become conscious of our subconscious.
Neuroplasticity is the power to create new pathways in the subconscious and conscious parts of our brain – it is the key to any deep and lasting shift in our habits and thinking. The starting point for change has to involve an honest appraisal of your current thought patterns and behaviors. It takes intense honesty and deep thinking to unearth deeply held, sometimes irrational and self-limiting beliefs. Some ways to do it are:
- Become aware of how you (unconsciously) react to triggers. The more you become aware of your beliefs and reactions, the more you can change the behaviors.
- Identify what you think about who you are. How do you complete the “I am”, “I am not”, or “I’ve always been” sentence? You’ll hear it in other people’s words about themselves – I’m not athletic. I’m not a deep thinker. I’ve always been bad with saving money. I always get defensive when someone criticizes me. I’m stupid. I can’t dance. I’m not worthy. What are your own statements?
- What was your “role” in the family? Were you the risk taker? The athletic one? The smart one? And more importantly, what role(s) were you not?
But, where did Ego Self come from? As children we had to quickly learn the language, social norms, how to communicate, and what was expected of us from our caregivers. Our Ego Self created a set of beliefs, patterns, and ideas so we were secure, we felt like we belonged, and we were worthy of belonging. We established internal beliefs around relationships, achievement, intelligence, preferred emotional states, other people, and our own capabilities. These beliefs and patterns are still there today to maintain a sense of security and belonging/acceptance.
But some of these beliefs and patterns are now our mental constraints. The Ego Self continues to reject any idea or behavior that conflicts with these beliefs. The Ego Self is that inner voice that says, “Who do you think you are?” when trying something new. These beliefs and patterns have become pathway barriers in our own minds that are holding us back!
Rachel Hollis speaks a bit more down to earth and directs her messaging towards women. She insists, “You are not a little girl anymore”. I would add, nor an impressionable tween or an overly sensitive teenager. She encourages you to stop blaming your past (I’ve never…) or living your life for other people’s approval (I’ve always…). As she says, there’s no more gold-stars being given out and now is the time to start living for your own approval. She encourages you to recognize that you have the power to control your thoughts, reactions, and behaviors; to stop believing the lies you’re telling yourself. She also encourages you to “claim your True Self”.
Beyond the Ego Self is the True Self with a self-acceptance that “I am enough and this moment is enough”. Self-acceptance prevents us from chasing acceptance from others (external validation) or trying to meet others (real or perceived) expectations so we can belong. There is an awareness to live in the moment. There is no judgment, just compassion, acceptance, appreciation, and gratitude of the moment that is, and the people in that moment.
Be in the now – fully aware with all your senses.
It is what it is.
Self-empowerment is creating new mental pathways for reactions and behaviors – beliefs and behaviors that do not constrain us. The True Self “Lives in the Now” with acceptance of the self and acceptance of the moment.
Some more practical ideas on how to LIVE IN THE NOW, where the authentic, True Self can shine through:
- Shift internal beliefs from “I’m not enough; others are better” and/or “I need to conform to belong” to “I am enough. I can be my unique self.” Use these statements as daily affirmations.
- Be aware your Ego reactions/habits – dwelling on the past, fearing the future, focusing on status, comparing to others, judging others, and judging yourself. Awareness is the first step to making changes. Challenge your self-limiting beliefs with some reality checking.
- Be more accepting of others – less judgmental. Non-judgmental is opening your heart and mind to those different than us, and supporting them on their own path.
- Have the courage to be imperfect, to try, to engage in something new (without the need to achieve mastery).
- Spend more time in nature and appreciate beauty surrounding you.
- Practice gratitude daily. Do not feel guilt for your blessings.
- Do not connect with people who diminish you (make you feel smaller/weaker) to increase their own ego. Just walk away.
- Find people who are like you want to be – one’s who are open, accepting, appreciative, confident, creative, kind-hearted, inspiring, and have a sense of humor.
Every day is full of choices – some conscious, some habitual – choices that create your current reality and your path forward. Awareness to make changes in that path is the first step towards heading where you want to go. Persistence is second. By raising awareness again and again, we recognize the pathway barriers that are holding us back in our own minds and forge a path toward positive change. Persistence comes from doing this again and again, to create new mental pathways that at some point become the primary pathway.
Look back forgivingly. Look forward prayerfully. Be present gratefully.
I open my awareness to the Universe’s creative power and allow my life to unfold.
The elements on empowerment from these two sources sync well with my focus on RELEASE this year. Releasing self-limiting beliefs. Releasing ego-driven behaviors of judgment, approval seeking, & comparison. Releasing the need for perfection & meeting perceived expectations.
RELEASE so I can be the true me – active, connected, creative, contemplative.
I’m not there yet, but as I’ve learned, awareness is the first step!
Are you aware of your own self-limiting beliefs or ego-driven behaviors?