Do you Kiss Your Mother with That Mouth?
How We Argue for Our Limitations
I’m going to start off with a question – and perhaps you’ll ponder it while you read the rest of this article. Ready? What 3 kind things did you say to yourself today?
Did you look in the mirror and wink as you noticed how beautiful you are?
Did you acknowledge what an awesome job you did at work - or while making a meal - or while navigating crazy traffic and keeping your cool - or in how you noticed someone who needed a bit of encouragement today and you dished out just the right dose of acknowledgement and support?
What did you do today that made you feel pretty damn fine about yourself? – or did that action simply go completely unnoticed?
If it was the latter – I suspect you weren’t alone.
Most of us weren’t trained to notice the goodness in ourselves – I’m not talking about making everything about you – I’m talking about noticing that YOU are a gift, and you bring something beautiful to the world just by, being you?
So – when you looked at yourself in the mirror today – what did you acknowledge about yourself? Did you notice your beauty – your smile – your eyes? Or did you focus on a perceived flaw? Did you judge your hair or your curves or the lack of curves? How about your skin or your brows?
Did you notice what you didn’t get done – or what you did get done today?
Did you notice that you put a meal on the table – or did you judge it to be “not as good as it could have been”.
Did you mutter “I’m so stupid or silly or forgetful of scattered” under your breath today? If so – how many times?
Have you ever judged yourself for not being the right size or height? - And made that little sneer where your lip curls up just a bit on the side?
Did you declare that your memory is failing – or your eyesight is going – or your body isn’t as fast as it once was?
Do you tell yourself your timing is always off – or you’re not lucky – or you’re not good with money?
That’s a lot of questions I know – but I want to open your awareness on the language you use to describe YOURSELF – because I suspect that much of the thoughts or words you use would not be the thoughts or words, you’d use about someone else – am I right?
Do you wonder where it all began?
Perhaps you know exactly. Maybe you picked up on messages you heard from others when you were young and just continued thinking that was true. Maybe you were discouraged about taking pride in yourself or your accomplishments – because it was thought of as vane or prideful?
We can be programmed early to Argue for our Limitations instead or not noticing what we do well.
It is an interesting thing to pull apart, don’t you think?
Sometimes those judgements spill over into what we think we’re capable of too.
When do we say we can’t do something? Where do we talk ourselves out of trying something new because we assume it won’t turn out well? Where do we say there’s no point in trying because it won’t happen anyway?
I think most kids think they can do anything (and they’re right) – if they didn’t think that – they wouldn’t attempt to walk, talk or read. They know they can do it – because the people around them know they can do it too.
And then somewhere along the line – our caregivers may have put some limitations on us. Like, we’re not being practical enough – or our standards are too high – or our feet aren’t on the ground – or we’re not enough like so and so! And so and so was always placed on a pedestal.
So, I’m on a mission to get you moving yourself closer to understanding your limitlessness.
Because all of that stuff you’re currently telling yourself that’s negative - are Power Leaks – and you know our objective here is to get us to plug those right? – so we stand in our Authentic Power, right?
Now this may take some practice but it’s worth the work – and this is how it begins – we start noticing how we speak about ourselves and our abilities? Notice! That’s it!
SO – how do you notice? You have to BE in the moment.
Using past experiences as an excuse that this will turn out like that – or using the future as a prediction that everything will probably turn out poorly – is off limits!
Past and Future time zones don’t exist. Which makes it so surprizing how much time we all spend in each of them - doesn’t it?
I used to tell myself I wasn’t mechanically inclined. My dad taught me that there were repair people to fix things – like cars and dishwashers and leaky pipes. So – I never picked up the interest and assumed that the reason he handed it off was - it was too complicated for us mere mortals.
My mate had the opposite instruction as she spent her bonding time with her older brother taking apart and fixing everything – even car engines – and she learned there was very little she couldn’t figure out and fix.
Now – if you’ve been with me for a bit – you may recall the story of me ending up on a remote piece of property – alone – a thousand miles from home. So, during the 3 years I was on my own there – my washing machine broke down. I didn’t have a truck to take it into the city and there were no repair companies close to where I was living – so what would need to happen?
I needed to step up and I needed to get this fixed – and I was the one who needed to do it.
I called the manufacturers 1-800 number and explained my predicament. The repair guy was pretty terrific and thought it was likely the fuse.
He was willing to help me go through the process of getting at the fuses. It was ridiculously complicated. It took over an hour and nearly ten steps of instructions to get to the burnt out twenty-seven-cent part.
I replaced the part – reversed the order of me disassembling the washer and got it put back together – and it worked – and kept working.
I did something that I assumed I couldn’t do. That belief was a lie – and that belief was a Power Leak. I may choose to hand off future repairs – but not because I can’t figure it out with the right guidance and a bit of patience.
The first thing I learned from this experience was that if I were designing washing machines, they would be far more user-friendly, and you wouldn’t have to take the whole machine apart to find a fuse.
Truthfully though, the fact that it was a little complicated was what gave me such pleasure in the accomplishment. Often challenging work is more satisfying than easy work. Remember that - when you start to dig in on some of your Power Leaks.
So - when you are in a new or uncomfortable situation, do you argue for your limitations? Do you sound something like this, I’m not good at these types of things, I can’t do that, that won’t work, that’s too difficult or it’ll never happen?
Have you ever used those types of phrases? The truth is most of us, can figure out nearly anything, and most of us can do, nearly everything. The key is to break things down in stages and then take it one step at a time.
Sometimes it’s not so much about accomplishing something as it is about valiantly making the attempt, a serious attempt. Not a whiny little “I’ll try,” with no true-intention-of-following-through. You know – defeating ourselves before we even begin?
Are there places in your life where you argue for your limitations?
Perhaps you talk yourself out of taking on something new because you think you will fail, or someone might laugh. Have you ever thought about going to the opposite side of those thoughts and consider what would happen if you succeed? Or what if you inspire someone else to try as well?
Flip your initial reaction over in your head and come up with a new intentional belief. For example:
- “I’m afraid,” can become “It will feel amazing when I get through this.”
- “This is difficult,” can become “Here’s an opportunity to learn something new.”
- “I’m not smart enough,” gets turned into “If I break it down into smaller steps, I can figure anything out.”
And then there’s that nasty little duo Never and Always? When you notice these words coming out of your mouth – get ready to do some more flipping. So, statements like:
- “I NEVER win at anything,” becomes “I’m ready for my luck to change.”
- “I ALWAYS fail,” can turn into “I’m open to recognizing what I’m particularly good at.”
- “I NEVER get promoted,” switches to “I’m going to learn to articulate my abilities and contributions and ask to be compensated for them.”
- “I ALWAYS get the flu” becomes “my body is a virtual healing machine, and it can support my good health when I support it in doing its work”
This is about feeling comfortable and confident to make a case for your capabilities instead of arguing for your limitations.
Can you think of one way - that there is a downside to this perspective? I can’t!
Alright, so you’re ready to pay attention to this area of your life. Fantastic!
Begin by asking yourself to become more sensitive to where you put yourself down. This may seem a bit silly but - many of us have become desensitized to when we do this. So - it’s important to learn to recognize it.
Okay – so you notice that you’re putting yourself down, or not recognizing your accomplishments or telling yourself you can’t do something – now what?
Ask yourself - what would be a more positive and liberating thought in this situation? Right in the moment! I am beautiful? I am smart? I am capable? I am strong?
Or how about - I am far more than I’ve ever allowed myself to believe – until now! That last one is my favorite.
Then, turn that new thought into an affirmation statement for a while. Keep saying these types of things to yourself over and over until you begin to believe the truth of it, or at the very least, the possibility of it.
Next - Try something - that you have not done already- because you thought you couldn’t - or shouldn’t. Now try to keep this legal – I’m not encouraging you to rob a bank or light something on fire – okay?
So back to your attempt at taking on something new – be conscious not to get hung up on what the finished product looks like. Spend more of your energy appreciating the fact that you stepped into a new experience. You did something different. You changed your mind about something. No matter what the outcome. That is something worth celebrating.
Now – remember your ego wants to keep you in the familiar energy of speaking poorly of yourself or telling yourself there are things you can’t or shouldn’t do – so it’s going to get chatty right? It’s going to come up with all kinds of excuses NOT to do this – you’re going to fail – this is silly – you’ve got better things to do – what if someone judges you and thinks you’re wasting your time?
What are the types of things your ego tells you to keep you playing safe?
If that was a bit of new information for you – go back to Blog 6 to get a handle on the Familiar = Safe scenario your subconscious mind is working from.
Now - What have you been wanting to try or learn – but have talked yourself out of? Taking a class – learning a new language – reading instead of watching TV – walking more – dancing more – mastering a new software program – or understanding the basics of how your car engine works – so you can be more informed when you take it in for repairs? The list is endless.
Where do you need to muster your commitment to make a case for your capabilities?
Do you think you’re the only one who does this – making a case for your limitations I mean? Could it be true for someone you know? Perhaps someone that you encounter each day - but have never been bold enough to speak with. These are common human experiences. It is a part of what can make us cohorts and advocates for each other.
Now isn’t that a lovely legacy - loving ourselves and loving those who come onto our path?
This is another take on what we’ve been learning - another way to expose our hidden inherited beliefs. Learning to reframe a negative into a positive is a powerful way to train our brain to think differently. It allows us to more easily see a challenge as an opportunity.
Choice is another transformative tool we have available to us. I would encourage you never to waste it.
So – as this blog comes to an end – let me leave you with this – notice your power leaks in your language – where do you need to learn to tell a different story?
You’re way more brilliant and capable than you may know at this moment – but you’re getting it. And you and the world will be better for it!
Let’s quit wasting our energy Arguing for our Limitation and start filling up on our power – our Authentic Power - by trying new things – being curious - and making an argument for our Capabilities, okay?
By Layne Smith-Brown