Many of us are raised to be anxious, fearful, insecure people. These emotional aspects have a lot of pull over us, and it feels like an uphill, losing battle when we try and improve. Eventually, we begin to believe that no matter how much we do, we just can’t change.
Hopelessness is created and sustained by self-bullying.
What if instead of exhausting ourselves with doubt, we listened to the parts of us that encourage? You know the ones. We forget them because it takes quiet and safety for them to come out, and bullying ourselves doesn’t make us feel safe.
But these benevolent parts do—very much—exist. And when they are heard, they’re powerful.
They give you energy, rather than make you spend it. You feel nourished, not judged. Sustained, not drained. They show you that you’re all right—maybe even good. You’re at ease, able to pause instead of quickly reacting. They show you that you may even be mostly kind and honest.
Discover your best parts
You may have felt these parts when you’ve:
- supported a friend even if he’s disagreed with you
- expressed patience with a challenging colleague at work or school
- allowed yourself to smile at someone despite your angry, defensive mood
- laughed so hard at a joke that you remembered it all day and laughed every time
- asked someone else how they were feeling even though you felt extremely sad
- paused and noticed if you were about to create unnecessary personal drama
- had a good idea for a project that you didn’t care if others approved of
- written something—a line, an article, a blog post, a note to a friend that made you smile
- held back and given guidance only when your child asked for it
- pushed yourself to learn something small you didn’t think you could learn
- felt the sincere kindness of a stranger that made you feel grateful
- went to a meeting even though you felt nervous to contribute
- walked outside in the cold in a big puffy cozy coat alone or with your dog
- completed a task that weighed heavy on your mind for weeks
- had a memory of someone you once loved who taught you something about yourself
- washed the dishes or made dinner even though you really didn’t want to
- stayed calm for even a minute during an intense situation or conversation
- felt lonesome and sad and instead of drinking beer or smoking, ate carrots
- shared your second idea even though everyone hated the first one
Sometimes you really make an effort and things work out great. Other times things turn out only okay. That’s fine. Even though you may feel like a hopeless, sleepwalking, nervous fool, these parts show you are not. You are not. They are proof.
You are more than your hungry, habitual parts. Remember that one time you did that one thing? You were super strong and kind and creative and powerful then, so we know what you’re made of.
Before we go deaf listening to the noise, let’s realize the power in listening beyond our fear to the parts of ourselves that matter. Today, take a moment to pause and listen to your special, good parts since they’re there.
If you don’t listen, who will?
Ishita Gupta is the publisher of fear.less magazine. She worked at The Domino Project, runs the Potential Project, and helps people overcome fear and design their best lives. She also consults for authors and businesses on marketing and publishing.