by Kavita Battula, VPG Contributor
Sometimes, to make room for something new, we must let go of something that exists. For instance, if you want a new couch, you will have to get rid of the old one. This is an easy concept when talking about physical things, but not so easy when it comes to personal change. Most of us have patterns, habits, and behaviors that we wish to change. At the New Year, we make resolutions to join a gym, finally becoming a member of the 5 AM club, only to “fail” in the first month. We blame ourselves for not having willpower, however, we cannot force habits by sheer will. To truly enact change, we need to undo the old stories, and the limiting beliefs that keep us stuck.
Our brain is busy. In today’s world of massive information overload and triple-booked calendars, the ability to automate tasks, like brushing our teeth, is essential. Our brain evolved to do this, otherwise, we might never get out of our homes (or our caves, evolutionarily speaking). Have you ever tried brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand? Willpower will not help you accomplish that task and the same applies to getting up early, going to the gym, or changing your diet. First, you must change your programmed thought patterns and beliefs. This means you need to identify those old beliefs, and consciously program new ones. Like re-programming your garage door opener: erase old code, input new, just slightly more involved.
For myself, I am working on being more measured in my actions; I want to be responsive and supportive rather than reactive and judgmental. Unlearning old behaviors is not easy. To accomplish this, I need to release my expectations/beliefs of how things are supposed to be and accept them, and other people, as they are. For instance, when the person in front of me sitting at the green light should be accelerating, but he’s not, instead of calling him an idiot and assuming he is asleep or on his phone, I can recognize that he is a human doing the best he can, and I don’t know what might be distracting him.
Whatever it is that you wish to change, whether it’s starting a fitness regimen, eating more wholesome foods, or setting clearer boundaries at work, you first need to change your beliefs. If there is one universal mantra that can help us all make positive change, it is the recognition we deserve of something better for ourselves. We are healthy, we are strong, and, yes, we ARE GOOD ENOUGH. When we embrace this truth, we feel empowered to say yes to our healthy, strong, worthy selves. We say yes to making time for self-care (the gym, the healthy meal, the early wake time so we can start our day more centered), and perhaps no to the last-minute meeting when we have other plans.
As we approach 2024, I challenge you to let go of old stories that you are lacking in any way. It’s time to delete that old soundtrack. Leave it in 2023. Ring in the new year with the unshakeable truth that not only are you worthy of love and belonging, but you ARE also loved, and you DO belong. Most importantly, you ARE enough. You always have been.