I recently created a spiritual book club in the city where I live. I did this for a few reasons. Since I left my job, my whole world has been flipped around, and filled with extreme highs and lows. I’ve had to break down walls, own my stories, and fall a lot while building a new foundation. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me.
Building your own business, and being successful is hugely related to mindset, and this process has forced me to face myself and look deep within.
My inner critic has a louder voice than ever. I’ve had to get deep and dark to understand what’s holding me back. I had to own up to the fact that I had so much fear and obstacles that I didn’t even want to face myself.
I realized we can’t do everything alone, and we aren’t meant to.
I wasn’t getting the support I needed from my environment, so I decided to create a spiritual community where we could all gather and really talk about how to free ourselves from these invisible barriers that we’ve created in our life.
My goal is to build a sangha where we grow through reading spiritual and personal development books, and can just talk openly about what we’re feeling, and elevate each other on our spiritual journey.
The first book we read was Rising Strong by Brene Brown.
I heard about Brene from her Ted Talks about vulnerability, and then when I listened to her on the being boss podcast it sealed the deal for me.
This book has a bunch of amazing nuggets of wisdom, so I won’t be able to go over everything, but I want to share the takeaways that helped to change my mindset, and how I continue to apply daily.
THE STORY I’M MAKING UP IS….
The rumble begins with turning up our curiosity level and becoming aware of the story we’re telling ourselves about our hurt, anger, frustration, or pain. The minute we find ourselves facedown on the arena floor, our minds go to work trying to make sense of what is happening. This story is driven by emotion and the immediate need to self-protect, which means it’s most likely not accurate, well thought out, or even civil. In fact, if your very first story is any of these things, either you’re an outlier or you’re not being fully honest. – Brene Brown
This happens whenever something goes wrong or takes an unpleasant turn. When I start to blame someone, that’s when I know I need to stop and just observe the story I’m telling. Then, what I realize is that my story has absolutely no truth to it. It’s just to compensate for the pain that I’m feeling, or as an excuse to not blame myself.
When I stop and say, “The story I’m telling is….. ,” I realize there is no one to blame – not even me. This is just the flow of life, and I have to own it, feel it, and move through the energy – whatever it is.
This has changed everything for me. I was telling a lot of stories and attached to them. I’ve been doing this for a pretty long time, and probably hurt some people along the way.
Now, when I find myself blaming or falling into a place of self loathing, I quickly say, “The story I’m making up is….”
Once I take ownership, I take control over my monkey mind, and can operate from a place of truth and love.
What happens in your life is all in your control.
You need to own your story. It’s uncomfortable, but the reward is worth it.
FALLING IS A PART OF LIFE
When we commit to showing up and risking falling, we are actually committing to falling. Daring is not saying, I’m willing to risk failure. Daring is saying, I know I will eventually fail and I’m still all in. Fortune may favor the bold, but so does failure. – Brene Brown
It’s liberating to know that falling is a part of life. Most of us have wounds from how we learned to handle failure, and the emotions that come with that, as children. When you have failures it’s easy to just put up a wall, and think you’re not good enough.
Now that I know I will fall, I’m liberated from trying to be perfect, or prove anything to anyone. I’m able to learn from it, and pick myself back up. It’s not an easy process. You have to face every emotion and wound that you locked away going as far back as you remember (or don’t remember).
Of course, my old emotional habits creep in, but once I feel the tightness in my chest, I close my eyes, and ask myself what I am supposed to learn, and ask how I can move forward.
EVERYONE IS DOING THE BEST THEY CAN WITH THE TOOLS THAT THEY HAVE
In the book, Brene Brown tells a story about how she goes on a speaking event trip, and she finds out that she has to share a room with another speaker. This speaker did everything to drive Brene crazy from wiping her frosty and gooey icing covered hands on the couch to lighting a cigarette in the hotel room.
Brene starts to get frustrated, judgemental, and totally self righteous in her thoughts and emotions.
Self-righteousness starts with the belief that I’m better than other people and it always ends with me being my very worst self and thinking, I’m not good enough. Even as I was standing there- knee high in judgement – I was curious about what was happening and I knew that I wanted to get out from underneath the weight of all of the negativity I was experiencing. – Brene Brown
So, she made an appointment with her therapist as soon as she got on the plane.
When she met with her, and told her the story. Her therapist said, “Do you think it’s possible that your roommate was doing the best she could that weekend?”
It got me thinking about the people I’ve been struggling with and judging. I asked myself – are they doing the best they can with the tools that they have?
But, even before I answered that question, I thought about myself and my struggles. I thought about my reactions, mistakes, and day to day communication. I asked myself, “Am I doing the best I can with the tools I have?”
I’ve been so hard on myself trying to be perfect, and live up to an expectation.
I’m honest when I say that I’m doing my best with my current tools. Sometimes I react emotionally, and I know I screwed up the moment it happened, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t trying.
I also know I’m working hard to get rid of the old rusty tools, and replace them with more efficient ones!
If I’m doing my best, I have to believe everyone else is too.
Once I took this mindset, I stopped judging people on how I wanted them to be, and started loving people for who they are. It doesn’t mean that you can’t feel angry or frustrated by a situation, or that you shouldn’t confront someone about something that upset you. But, it means that when you do it, you do it free of blame and expectation because you know they are doing their very best.
I am an eternal optimist, and I firmly believe that most people out there don’t have the intent to harm. But, let’s talk about the ones that do. I still think they’re doing the best they can with the tools that they have.
I think that anyone who has the intent to harm must be hurting inside, and they’re just reflecting their pain and learned behavior. It’s not an excuse, but I can’t help but believe that they are doing the best they can with the tools that they have, too.
Since I’ve read this book, I’ve been able to implement these few things, and it’s improved my friendships, relationships, and whole perspective on the world.
But, the main thing I’ve started doing is being totally open and vulnerable. When I notice that I’m having some sort of emotional crises, or a problem with a particular person, I stop and say…
- The story I’m making up is….
- They’re doing the best they can with the tools they have….
- I’m doing the best I can with the tools I have…
- What’s the next right move….
Most of my issues with people revolve around my own insecurities and miscommunication. In the past, I would have put up a wall. I might have said – this person fires me up and I can’t have this in my life. I didn’t understand that this was a wall at the time, but I was putting up a lot of them!
This book was a pivotal turning point in helping me to see my blocks, how I’ve been stunting my emotional growth, and that the only way I’m going to grow is to let down these walls.
It’s not easy to be vulnerable, but it’s turned out to make huge improvements in my confidence, most of my relationships, and my business.
I stopped blaming. I started using my pain as a force for good, which means I show more compassion and listen more since I know everyone is just doing the best that they can.
I open to the person I’m having a conflict with about my triggers, issues, and even create boundaries if I have to because I want our relationship to be built on honesty and love.
I can’t control how people react, and I have to go into this knowing that, and being ok with that. Some people can’t handle openness and vulnerability, so you have to be prepared for that.
It can be one of the most painful feelings when you take down your walls, open yourself up completely, and it’s not received or worse – used against you.
But, just know – they are doing the best they can with the tools they have! They are trying their very best!
So, thanks Brene Brown for writing this book. I’m grateful that it found its way into my hands, and helped me break down these walls and barriers, so that I could learn to love unconditionally and start to live the life I’ve always dreamed about.
We can rise up from our failures, screwups, and falls, but we can never go back to where we stood before we were brave or before we fell. Courage transforms the emotional structure of our being. This change often brings a deep sense of loss. During the process of rising, we sometimes find ourselves homesick for a place that no longer exists. We want to go back to that moment before we walked in the arena, but there’s nowhere to go back to. What makes this more difficult is that now we have a new level of awareness about what it means to be brave. We can’t fake it anymore. We now know when we’re showing up and when we’re hiding out, when we are living our values and when we are not. – Brene Brown
If you’re interested in reading Rising Strong, you can find it by clicking here! It’s fabulous. I highly recommend it!
So, tell me what insights you had from this. Can you think of a time you blamed someone, and how you can use one of these methods to accept them a little better? Were they doing the best they could with the tools they had? Were you making up a story about them? Tell me in the comments…