Over a three month period I eliminated the things from my life that didn’t represent or reflect who I am. I replaced them with activities that I loved to do.
This process, as simple as it may sound, sent me through extreme highs and lows. During the elimination phase I felt lost and was overwhelmed by fear, panic and depression. During the replacement phase, when I explored, discovered and incorporated activities that I loved into my day-to-day routine, there were periods of pure joy and bliss.
However, despite all the positive changes I’d made and the emotional release work I’d done, old fears about practicalities such as – How would I pay my bills? – endured. Deep down I didn’t believe that I could make a living doing things that brought me joy.
Sadly, my old, unhealthy model of a successful life had always equated to hard work and didn’t include enjoyment or fun. Instead, I worked so that I could experience pleasure through material things such as a luxurious home, designer clothes, decadent hobbies and extravagant social occasions. I was of the belief that unless I saw progress for the effort I’d put in, I considered the activity self-indulgent and a waste of my time. As a result, work had become my life.
However, this was all being challenged. On one hand, seeking happiness and fulfilment through material things had left me feeling empty. On the other hand, embracing the things that I loved brought with it feelings of both pleasure and pain. For example, whenever I spent time in my local park knitting and listening to lectures I found inspirational, it felt great to be alive. I would become so absorbed in the moment that I lost all sense of time. However, the moment it was time to pack up and go home, feelings of guilt and anxiety would begin to take over because this activity hadn’t generated any income and I couldn’t see how they could do so in the future.
But, experiencing such bliss and aliveness in those moments, made it difficult for me to return to the hollow life I’d been living. However, I didn’t know how to overcome my fears and negative self talk in order to move forward.
Coincidently, many of the lectures and books I’d been drawn to were centred around the power of the subconscious mind and provided me with a deeper understanding of the mental anguish and inner conflict I was experiencing. By listening to these types of lectures, I learnt more about how the human brain and mind works and began to develop a deeper understanding of the notions of the conscious and subconscious minds.
I was introduced to the concept that our ‘perception’ of life is based on our early childhood experiences and learned behaviours passed down from our parents and caregivers. This provided me with an insight into my own patterns of behaviour and why my life was unfolding in the way it was.
For instance, my father was a workaholic. He was a full-time teacher, held down a part-time job as a projectionist at the local movie theatre and ran a photography business on the side. When he wasn’t teaching, he spent all his time either in the darkroom, or away from home photographing weddings or pursuing one of his many hobbies (which included making home movies, flying and horse riding).
I realised that I had unconsciously followed in his footsteps. I, too, had worked full-time (which included on call and weekend work), whilst holding down a part-time job and running a small business on the side, which was based on one of my hobbies.
I could see too, that my feelings of guilt which arose whenever I enjoyed myself, stemmed from my mother finding my fathers hobbies self-indulgent and a waste of time and money. My fear about not having enough money in order to survive (regardless of how much money I earned or had saved), was a direct correlation to my mother’s fear of not knowing how she would make ends meet when she suddenly became a widow and single mother of four.
My teachers (listed on the right) helped me start to understand and see that my experience of life was a projection of my childhood experience and learned behaviour. They helped comprehend that my day-to-day reality was simply a reflection of the story I’d created about my life. What I ‘believed’ to be true about life. Not what was true or indeed possible.
What I found most exciting was the concept that the story could be changed. I learnt that by changing my beliefs, my reality would also change.
This was a significant moment for me. A turning point in my life.
I embarked on a journey to re-program my subconscious beliefs. I discovered tools and techniques that allowed me to interrupt my habit of spiralling into negativity and depression. I also began using methods to seed more uplifting thought patterns into my subconscious mind. I found practices that helped alleviate my fears so that I could take actions that were more in alignment with the person I am at a core level.
Over the coming days and weeks I’ll share how I became mindful of the words I used and developed a new level of thinking. I’ll reveal the process I studied to quickly and effectively reprogram my self-limiting subconscious beliefs in just minutes. I’ll discuss the actions I took to create new habits in my day-to-day life. I’ll explain how I learnt how to practise emotional self-management. I’ll also describe how embracing these methodologies changed my life.
Photo by Hailey Bartholomew