For some compelling reason, many human minds are inclined to think negatively. And the target of those negative thoughts is often ourselves.
We’re fearful of what might happen if we stretch into the fullness of our life path. We believe we’re broken, damaged, and inadequate. We live in the pain of unworthiness.
These thought patterns hang like a dark cloud, distracting us from joy, well being, and the brilliance of our infinite potential.
The Core of the Problem of Inadequacy
Our modern culture tells us that these thoughts mean we don’t love ourselves, and the fix is to love ourselves more. But how do we actually accomplish that?
We’re encouraged to repeat affirmations, change our thoughts, and remind ourselves of our accomplishments. It’s wonderful if these strategies work, but often they don’t. They might give relief for a while, but they don’t sustain the sense of optimism and trust we all deserve.
Why? Because they don’t get to the core of the problem, which is that we identify with these self-defeating thoughts. We believe that they’re true—when they’re not, and we think that they tell us the facts about who we are—when these thoughts can’t begin to describe our magnificence.
9 Loving Ways
This identity of lack and inadequacy needs to be addressed head-on. Here are nine ways to do just that. Why would we go on believing a false identity when the truth of ourselves, which is so freeing, is right here to be realized and lived?
1. Form a friendly relationship with your thoughts.
Do the thoughts say, “I’m a loser, I’ll fail, I’m unlovable?” See how they limit you. When self-defeating thoughts appear, take a breath and say hello. Once you recognize them, be empowered to make the choice to live fully and not according to the limits they impose on you.
2. Be clear about what you really want.
Remember that what you pay attention to is what grows. Once you become aware that you’ve been in the grip of self-critical thoughts, you’re now able to choose where to put your attention. You can keep feeding the negative content of these thoughts, or try any of these supportive options in the moment.
- Breathe deeply and track the movements of the inhale and the exhale.
- Be still and meet your inner experiences with love and understanding—instead of believing them.
- Ask: How does life want to move me? How am I called to serve peace and happiness?
- Go do something that brings you joy and delight.
3. Be super willing to let go.
Letting go of the identity of unworthiness is like saying goodbye to a friendship that you know has reached its end. It might take some time, but be very willing to feel open in your mind and body, make space for new ways of being in the world, and see people and situations through the eyes of caring and not fear and need.
4. Know the truth.
Not one inadequate thought can possibly describe who you are. These beliefs are false descriptions that the mind comes up with, but who is the “you” they’re describing? You, who you really are, are way too glorious to be defined by any thought. You are unlimited, whole, free, and infinitely loving. And something in you has a sneaking suspicion that this is the truth. Know and live this truth. The world is waiting for you.
5. Don’t let your feelings guide you.
If you believe you’re unworthy, you’re bound to feel hurt, disappointed, and sad. As you probably know, these feelings pull you in and drag you down. Instead of following them, establish yourself in the intention to move beyond limitation. Stand up and feel your feet on the ground. Take a couple of breaths into your belly. Feel confident in your body as you take a few steps. Go out there and live the totality of what is true for you.
6. Be harmonious within yourself.
Believing the identity of feeling damaged or inadequate separates you from your own experience. Rejecting the feelings that arise within only strengthens self-hate. End the fight by being so very kind toward your own thoughts and feelings. Just welcome them from a place of friendly neutrality as if they were clouds floating in the sky. No charge, no drama. This is the most loving way to be with yourself.
7. Be here now—and not locked into the past.
Sometimes negative self-identities form because we internalize how people treated us when we were young. If you leave your mind unchecked, it will keep repeating this painful story forever.
Shift your attention away from the mind and step fully into presence, the aliveness of your being that has never been touched by brokenness or insecurity. Breathe in the aliveness, as this is the true medicine for the division and negativity you feel. Over and over, choose presence and not your thoughts—in the name of freedom, happiness, and love.
8. Act as if.
Take one situation or interaction, and approach it as if you felt whole, confident, and enthusiastic. How does it feel in your body? What thoughts would you be thinking? Embody this intelligent way of being in your own direct experience.
9. Rinse and repeat.
Don’t plan on eliminating all thoughts of unworthiness. Instead, commit to meeting them with loving presence. Notice them, acknowledge them, then turn away from them while you stay rooted in the fullness of unlimited potential. Do this every time the thoughts arise, and eventually they will soften.
What About You?
Have you found freedom from inadequacy? Still working on it? Do you live your true magnificence? I’d love to hear… And if you’re reading by email, please click here to visit GailBrenner.com and to comment.
Always in love,