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Life Is Happening for Us, Not to Us

podcast Sep 08, 2020

Can't listen? Here's the transcript: 

Hey Dethroners!  Today, I want to talk about taking this concept that everything in our lives is actually happening FOR us. 

Imagine if EVERYTHING in your life as it is right now is the way that it is because it is actually a mirror to show you something about YOU.  See, this is the only way we change our lives---when we are looking at everything in our lives through the lens of personal responsibility. And I do mean EVERYTHING!  

The question to ask is: What is this current circumstance here to teach me and show me about ME? 

I know that is a hard pill for most people to swallow. The areas in our lives where we are dissatisfied, frustrated, unhappy, or overwhelmed are all there to teach us to be more of who we truly are. What this journey of life is really all about, is about waking up to the fact that everything that we say we want, we can only find WITHIN us--not outside of us. 

This is a lesson that took me many years to discover. I spent so many years seeking approval and validation from everything outside of me and I was completely unaware that I was even doing this!  

The decade of my early 30’s into my early 40’s was all about raising my three kids and growing my business. Not to say I wasn’t working on other things too, like my marriage and building friendships. But those two areas of my life consumed most of my mental and emotional energy.  And looking back, I can see that I often felt frustrated and overwhelmed that those areas didn’t match my pictures because I actually believed that there was something wrong with ME, something that I was doing or wasn’t doing, that was preventing those areas from being, well, perfect really.  

I never thought I expected perfection but looking back that is exactly what I expected. I expected my kids to always be happy because I worked so hard to prevent them from feeling the anxiety that I felt as a kid. So when my oldest son started showing signs of anxiety by the second grade, I blamed myself. When my daughter started having weight issues at 6, I blamed myself again.  When my middle son started pulling away from the family at 13, again I blamed myself. For the years in my business when I didn’t have the growth I expected, I blamed myself.  

And now it is so clear to me that everything that was causing me pain, I was blaming myself and feeling that these things didn’t fit my expectations because I just wasn’t good enough. I needed these external factors to match my ideal pictures or it was validation that I wasn’t good enough.  I didn’t see that it was my own feelings of not being good enough, that actually PRODUCED my pain.  

When my son was anxious, my first thoughts were that there was something wrong. He SHOULDN’T be experiencing anxiety, and because he was there was something not good enough about me as his mom, otherwise he wouldn’t be struggling. Same for all of my kids--and same for my business. These were the two areas of my life where “not good enough” was constant. And my Inner Critic mind will still turn to these areas as evidence to support her belief that I am not good enough. 

The work of dethroning your Inner Critic came out of my own struggle with never feeling good enough. NO matter what I had in my life, no matter my accomplishments, no matter how much love I had in my life, I was chronically not good enough and truly believed that my kids' pain or my slow business growth were the things that were making me feel that way.  

It is never the circumstances of your life that are causing you your pain. It is always your thoughts about those circumstances. My thoughts that I carried from my childhood that I wasn’t good enough caused me to feel overwhelmed, unappreciated, stressed out, and chronically exhausted for over a decade of raising my kids and building my business.  

But that is the exact shit stew that I had to eat over and over so that I could get to the point where I was so sick of my pain that I stopped waiting for the circumstances of my life to change.  

The quality of our life about knowing that our thoughts create our reality. Our thoughts create our problems. We are handed so many thoughts from living in the culture that we do. We don’t even realize how much we expect life to look exactly the way we think it should, and how much we see it as a problem that has to be solved when it doesn’t. 

 And what is so crazy, is that so many people think they are doing life wrong. So many people are completely unaware that they are a prisoner of their own mind. Your mind is either a powerful tool or a powerful weapon. We are the only ones that have the power to decide which it will be.  

Because we’re so conditioned to try to change the circumstances of our lives so we can feel good, most people have almost no access to their inner voice, which is the voice I call our authentic selves. Most clients I work with have never known their authentic selves before and didn’t even know it. They thought for their whole lives that the voice of their Inner Critic was actually the voice of their inner wisdom.  

The key to change your life is to have a compelling vision of the life you are designing, whether that is in the area of relationships, health, business, and to use every experience in this area as a tool for growth. This means that when you don’t have what you want in this area, you are willing to examine your thoughts instead of getting sucked into them. 

Here is how to use all of your life FOR you:

CALM YOUR MIND:  

You have to make room every day to sit with your mind. You have to do the work to calm your mind. You have to be willing to clearly see what automatic thoughts are actually creating your pain.  

When you give yourself time every day to sit with your mind, you will start to see something very interesting. And that is, you have the same thoughts over and over again. My “I’m not good enough” thoughts didn't start with my kids and my business. I had the same thoughts as a young girl, a teenager, in college, in my young adult life.  This is the theme song of my Inner Critic… You’re not good enough, and here’s why.  And then everything that isn’t close to perfect is seen through that lens.  

And now, whenever I am feeling the same old familiar emotion like frustration, anger, anxiety, guilt, shame, I know what it is--it is always my Inner Critic assigning that meaning and then trying to make me fix, change or control the situation so I can feel better, which of course does the opposite and leads to more suffering-- when I try to fix, change or control life, I lose-- ALWAYS!!  

STOP FORCING IT:  

My Inner Critic mind has this nasty habit of wanting all of my life goals to turn out yesterday. She wants my kids to work out their bad habits right now. She wants to know that they will be happy, healthy adults, when they are still kids trying to sort themselves out.  And if she can’t know that right now, she gets pissed and controlling and anxiety-ridden!  

She wants all of my business goals to happen immediately. She does NOT allow life to unfold. She has no tolerance for trusting the process. But, luckily I don’t take guidance from her anymore. I have stopped forcing my life to look the way my Inner Critic demands it should. And this is really the key for me.  

Everything, and I mean everything, changed when I stopped buying into my Inner Critic’s demands that life should go how I want it to go. It is so crystal clear to me now that the more you try to force something, either it happens more slowly or it doesn’t happen at all because you continue to create the same anxiety, the same overwhelm, the same conflicts with the same people.  

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am in action every single day to create the abundance, joy and richness of my life. Action is VITAL to creating the life of your dreams. But as I am taking these actions, I am no longer attached to my Inner Critic’s expectations and demands. Any time I feel a painful emotion, I use it to spot my Inner Critic’s attachment, and I let go right then and there.  

Forcing life is all about fear. If your Inner Critic is worried about what might go wrong, she is trying to fix an imaginary problem that doesn’t even exist. That is fear-- and when you are stuck there, you are in your survival mechanism of fight, flight, flee. Your actions are from your survival mechanism, not from your authentic self.  

If you can lean into not needing to know where life is going, you can relax and only attempt to control what is right in front of you, which is all you ever can control. You can only make the very next choice that is right in front of you, at that specific moment.  

PATIENCE:  

My Inner Critic always wants to win. She never wants to lose and is in constant competition. So when she is in control of my mind, I can’t see the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is a life of peace.  

Peace is about patience. It is about allowing other people to have their pain, their judgments, their criticisms. It is about letting go and unhooking from your life long struggle to find approval and love and value from anyone other than yourself. Even letting go of trying to find that from your partner or kids. Patience with yourself is about accepting YOU.  Let go of trying to do this life “right”.   

We get so used to thinking that to worry or stress about our life, our kids, our loved ones, our path, is how we care. If we stop stressing and worrying, we think it will all fall apart.  We think that stress and worry mean we are DOING something to get life to go where we want. This is one of the biggest illusions in life.  

True freedom is leaning into trusting that life has a way of working itself out-- we can be right here right now, and be at peace. We can take actions in alignment with the beautiful life we’re designing, but at the same time have the patience to let life unfold in the direction that it is going to unfold.  

Your fear, worry, pain, anger, and frustration won’t get you a job faster, won’t get you a relationship faster, won’t have your loved one struggle less. Your journey is your own and other people’s journey is theirs. If you can have the patience for the unfolding of your own journey, maybe you can let go of your attempts to control how other people’s journeys unfold. 

STOP MAPPING OUT YOUR LIFE: 

I had a client yesterday who debated this point with me. She is a planner and wanted to plan out how her business would unfold over the next 5 years. I think many of us believe that we need to have everything all planned out for it to go how we want.  

Here is the thing-- it is important to have goals.  Five years ago, when I created Dethroning Your Inner Critic, I had goals-- I wanted to write a book, I wanted to have thousands of people in a community of support, I wanted to teach as many people as I could how to use their minds to alter the course of their life.  And my carefully mapped out plan had so many twists, setbacks, failures, and pivots, that I would have a hard time now seeing the path that led to where I am now.  

The stress and anxiety come from your Inner Critic’s attachments to a timeline and a clear map. See, it’s always your authentic self that will provide the map as you go. Your goals will provide the structure, for sure. My book will be launched this October, one month before my 50th birthday. I have been working on this book for YEARS!  My online programs have gone through 5 different versions. I had my first Dethroning Your Inner Critic retreat canceled because of COVID.  

None of this was the plan and if my Inner Critic had been the one in charge of my mind, all of these unexpected pivots would have caused me unimaginable pain. But instead, all of these experiences happened FOR me. They have strengthened my ability to let life go wherever it is going to go. All I have to do is keep taking actions towards my goals, and let go of needing to know how life will unfold as a result.  

SET IT AND FORGET IT.  EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT EXACTLY THE RIGHT MOMENT.  

When you can let go of your attachments, you can flow with life.  If you are attached to something you really, really want, and the moment of that thing happening is NOT right now, your Inner Critic mind will create all of your suffering, which will actually prevent your life from moving in the direction of change and growth.   

Your Inner Critic mind won’t like this, but designing your life has to come with what I call “SET IT AND FORGET IT”. This means that you have your wish, goal, desire, and then you give up the NEED to have it. You learn to feel good about yourself and your life right now, without this thing.  This is when magnificent magic happens.  

And sometimes you’ll realize that you didn’t quite get what you asked for – you got something better, instead!

The same rule applies when good things fall apart, too. These things always happen for a reason. They might be painful moments that change your entire world, but the key to getting through them and out the other side is realizing that there’s always a bigger picture.  ALL OF Life happens for you. ALL OF IT is there to help us grow and expand our consciousness and become better versions of ourselves.

When you live with the belief that things really do happen for you and not to you, you can create miracles in every moment. You can move from feeling angry or hurt or sad to feeling good. When you recognize the moment for what it is – a lesson, a test, an opportunity to see how your Inner Critic keeps you stuck, then you win--always.

Change is inevitable– in fact, it is the only thing in life that we can count on, so we need to learn how to ride the wave. When you know, trust and understand that everything happens for you, you can be ready with open arms to receive the best in life.

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