NOTE (PLEASE READ THIS FIRST): Instead of spreading a message of revenge, fear, despair and hopelessness, we need your help in spreading a message of acceptance, understanding, love and HOPE! Please share/tweet/pin/insta/snap this resource to everyone you know, and let's flip the discussion on '13 reasons why' to- YOU are enough, YOU are loved, YOU do have resources to help and someone to always talk to, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Thank you!
We all get caught up in feelings of jealousy, anger, fear, worry, sadness and insecurity from time to time and it is only natural to lose sight of our innate awesomeness and resourcefulness during these difficult periods.
Yet this article will point to the inner resources you have…I have…we all have…by virtue of just being human that naturally equip us to deal with anything life throws our way.
All too often we are trained to believe the opposite: that we don't have what it takes. We are trained to believe either “we have it” or “we don't”… that some people are better than others, that we aren't good enough, or that we are forever doomed to struggle.
Let's reflect on 13 key concepts that show why you, me, and every human being on this planet are enough. Enough can be defined as sufficient for the purpose. This article will show that not only can we survive, but how we are actually built to thrive in a fast-paced modern world filled with challenges, setbacks, and even mean people. We really do already have all that is required to live an inspired life.
1. Emotions, by their very nature, are destined to change.
This does not make light of or take away from the fact that some emotions can be incredibly painful and scary even. Strong negative emotions can leave us feeling out of control and warp our sense of perspective and even time. It feels as if we can only ever remember feeling badly and thus we can only imagine ever feeling badly in the future. But emotions don't actually tell us anything about our future. Emotions, in and of themselves, can't cause any lasting damage in our lives. It is only from our making decisions and taking action from these stressful states-of-mind that produce tangible results in our lives.
It is helpful to remember that emotions, all emotions: good, bad, or indifferent, by their definition are temporary states. For, an emotion is defined as: any relatively brief conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a high degree of pleasure or displeasure (1). Starting to notice these natural, inevitable, and sometimes subtle emotional changes is a first step to recognizing the inner power that exists within us to craft our own life's destiny.
“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” — Sydney Banks
2. Thoughts also are destined to change, naturally.
Yes, we do have many repetitive thoughts, but we also have the capacity for fresh thoughts as well…you know, those “a-ha” moments when we exclaim, “Duh, why didn't I think of that before?!”
The ability to have an insight, a new idea or fresh thought, is not reserved for only a select few human beings. It is a right that we all have. No matter what happened in our past, no matter what our current personality or circumstances are. Insights uplevel our lives and they are built into the human system. Eureka moments (aka insights, lightbulb moments, a-ha moments) are “sudden realizations that expand our understanding of the world and ourselves, conferring both personal growth and practical advantage” (2). Ironically, insights usually occur when we are not working consciously on solving a specific problem, rather they occur in periods of distraction when we aren't ruminating on the problem such as when we go for a walk in the woods, take a shower, or go for a run.
3. Even better…we can change our habits of thinking and feeling on purpose!
Here is another amazing ability of human beings. If we don't want to wait for insights to arise naturally, we can give ourselves a boost, a head start, towards positive change by retraining our brains (3). This is great and practical news! Our brain chemistry can and does change over time (4). We can help ourselves along a more inspiring, positive path by intervening consciously in the process.
Mindfulness and meditation are other practices and tools we can utilize to start becoming more aware of disempowering thought patterns. This is important because when we start to gain more and more awareness of when our minds are running on auto-pilot: replaying the same old fearful, worrisome, and painful thoughts, it gives us a better chance to interrupt these patterns. This causes them to weaken over time and new neural pathways (habits of thought) are built.
4. Our life circumstances are destined to change too.
Are you catching on to the theme here? The nature of the human experience is that of change. That ironically, is one of the only things that stays constant in our lives. Change, we can rely on. We witness this in the changing seasons and we see it manifest in our own lives too. Just because you lost your job, doesn't mean you won't find another, possibly even more fulfilling position in the future. Same goes with love. After a heartbreak, it is common to believe we will never experience love like that again, and lo and behold, at some point, another person sweeps us off our feet.
Recognizing at a core level, that hard times come and hard times pass is immensely practical and hopeful. Almost all of the biographies of successful people include adversity, setbacks, and even ridicule from others. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Abraham Lincoln had two nervous breakdowns and experienced clinical depression. J.K. Rowling dealt with divorce, single parenthood, poverty, and lots of rejection. The first Harry Potter book was initially rejected from 12 publishers.
It is so common to want to give up. To doubt oneself and question if you will ever reach your goals or if life will ever get any better than this, but those thoughts and feelings don't actually tell you anything valuable about your future.
Which brings us to the next point…
5. Human beings are horrible at predicting the future.
Even in the slight chance we do predict a future scenario with accuracy, human beings across the board, are notoriously bad at predicting how they will feel at that given time (5).
“Studies have shown that in forecasting our responses to events ranging from receiving a gift to being granted tenure, from being mildly insulted to learning of a serious illness or experiencing the death of a family member, [we] typically misjudge how good or bad we will feel–and for how long.” — Siri Carpenter, American Psychological Association
We just can't predict what we will think in the future. We may have a spontaneous insight that rocks our world or we might be in a particularly low-state of mind and take something personally, even though we have laughed about similar statements in the past when we were in a better mood.
“We underestimate how quickly our feelings are going to change in part because we underestimate our ability to change them,” states Harvard Psychologist Daniel Gilbert. “This can lead us to make decisions that don't maximize our potential for satisfaction.”
6. Memories aren't what we think they are.
Similarly, as bad as we are at predicting future events and how we will feel, the way we think about and value our personal memories can at times, be just as unhelpful. We like to imagine our memories as these picture-picture videos of what has happened in our life. But we are mistaken! That isn't how memory works. The human memory is incredibly flawed. Not only do we not represent past events accurately in the first place, but our memories change over time (6). They change based on our current state-of-mind and for other biological reasons.
One common cause of human suffering is the replaying of painful memories. I know memories are convincing. They provide us with “proof” of just how useless we are as human beings, why we aren't good enough, and why other people don't like us.
These notions are very common, but paradoxically people are apprehensive to talk about their insecurities. So we walk around thinking we aren't good enough. That everyone else gets “it”. But we don't realize almost everyone else is doing the same thing!
Indeed it can be hard to stop these painful, warped memories and thoughts from replaying in your mind's eye. But starting to see memories (and even some thoughts) for what they are: largely inaccurate and irrelevant to the current moment, significantly reduces their power.
7. Separate realities, really exist.
With that, every single person on this planet is biased. There is no such thing as a truly objective perspective. This is because every single person has different thoughts, beliefs, experiences, and memories, not too mention different physical bodies and biochemical reactions going on at different times.
Recognizing the truth of separate realities, that even though we can empathize with one another, even though we may share similar values and thoughts, we can never really walk in someone else's shoes and vice versa. We will never be seeing exactly the same “movie” of life sort to speak as anyone else on this planet.
Every human being is living in the feeling of his or her own thinking, from a unique perspective. So, a person can only take action from the quality of unique thinking he or she has in a moment. Knowing this can be very helpful in helping you not take the opinions, advices, and worldviews of others so seriously. No one knows what's best for you better than you. Period.
8. Outside circumstances or people can not control us.
Ok. This one's a doozy, but hear me out. Of course we each have our own reactions to things that happen in life. But reflect for a moment on how this process happens. Feeling is always created inside of our bodies. Another person can not get into our brains and manipulate our biochemistry to make us feel something. (I know, I know we say things like: “You make me feel stressed” all the time, but is that really true? Or is it our thinking about that person, the meaning we've made about what they did or didn't do, that makes us feel bad?)
Seeing the inside-out nature of life, deeply and insightfully, can be very freeing. When we investigate our human system without the need for blame or judgement (of ourselves or others), our decisions and actions are less influenced by things outside of us. Our “thought storms” characterized by resentfulness, blame, helplessness, anger, and hopelessness begin to subside more quickly. We feel more confident in our ability to face any difficult circumstance or person. Of course, this doesn't mean we will never experience negative emotions again, but seeing the inside-out workings of the human condition creates space for responsiveness and this is immensely practical in bouncing back more quickly and gaining more helpful perspectives.
9. We have access to supportive communities.
With that, we are a social species. So even though we all experience the world differently, we need one another.
One of the benefits of technology is that it allows us access to bigger circles of people. So if you don't feel your family is supportive or you don't have many friends you trust, you can always join a support or community interest group. This is so easy to do nowadays with the advent of things like Facebook and Meetup.com. You can start to meet non-judgemental people. People who are interested in lifting others up, instead of putting others down. People who value growth, learning, and friendship over competition and gossip. These groups of people exist all over the world, whether in meditation groups, spiritual circles, three principles communities, singing organizations, or even here on our very own Intention Inspired Blog.
10. We can harness the power of focus.
With that, whatever we put our attention on, we will experience more of (7). Where attention goes, energy flows. This is an amazing power we have at our disposal that supports immense change in our lives. Our beliefs are extremely powerful, so powerful that they often make us blind to things in our environment that question our current beliefs. This prevents us from growth and from garnering a more accurate picture of what's going on in our lives.
This is where setting intentions comes into play. By choosing what desired experiences we want to have, we take back control of our lives. From this place, we can begin to see that we are enough and become more aware of all the good things we do have going for ourselves.
We don't have to be “perfect” to feel our desired emotions. We don't need the perfect career, the perfect partner, or to be the perfect body weight. This fixed mindset actually keeps us stuck and doesn't really provide the motivation we think it does (8).
When we choose what we value. When we choose what we want to focus on, we feel more resilient. Not too mention, we tend to lighten up on ourselves, enjoy the process of growth more, and ironically achieve more.
11. We are innately connected.
We really are never alone. Yes, it does feel that way sometimes, but the same energy that your heart is using to pump blood throughout your body is the same energy that allows flowers to bloom, children to sing, and your best friend to breath. We are all connected not only in our shared humanness, in our shared experience of having inevitable up's and down's with our moods and life circumstances, but we are also energetically connected (9). This knowing that you are connected to something bigger than yourself can be an immense relief.
12. Our true nature proves we are enough.
We are not the labels we give ourselves and one another. We are not our behaviors. We are human beings. At the most fundamental level, we are living energy moving through form. It is immensely practical to begin differentiating who you are from what you do, what you have, what other people say, or what you achieve.
So often we fall into the trap of mistaking our emotions or achievements for our inner sense of worth. Our culture is quick to reinforce this.
But what if you are good enough just for the mere fact you are human? What if you always have been good enough, but since a young age have been force fed the fearful beliefs of those around you and the culture at large. A culture that ever since you were a young child bombarded you with messages that you aren't good enough the way you are. That you need that new toy, or that new lipstick, or this new diet plan to be happy. What if none of this is true? What if it just an effective way to sell products?
At our essence, we are energetic beings having a human experience. To take it even further, what if no one was even more spiritual than you.
Eckhart Tolle makes an important distinction in his work between the thinker and the observer. He is highlighting the nature of thought. Some people experience this as a “voice” in their head. The beautiful truth is that we are not the voices in our heads because we are able to hear that voice at times. That makes us the observer. We are not our thoughts, that isn't who we are. We are not even our job title, we are way bigger and more powerful than that. We are neither our bra size, pant size, or our IQ.
Keep stripping down the layers of labels and concept. What are you left with? Just a human being. A beautiful human being. A vessel through which energy flows through. A being that can experience the world around it through sensation and interpretation.
13. We have a natural capacity for resilience.
You know what the primary factor was in whether or not a person bounced back from stress was? Whether or not that person thought they were resilient. In study, participants that thought they could deal with stress well, did in fact physiologically deal well with stress. (10) Whoa, mind blown!
The point is. You are enough.
In closing, you are enough. You always have been. You are more powerful than you ever imagined, we all are. Just by our nature of being human, we have access to a plethora of inner resources that even though we don't always see, absolutely support us in coping, overcoming, and thriving. These inner resources equip us with everything we need to deal with anything we come across in life. You and I are hardwired to be sufficient for the purpose of living. And the more we look in this direction: of our own brilliance, “enoughness”, and intuitive intelligence, the better life will start to look and feel.
With that, sometimes we can't see these resources for ourselves. Difficult situations do exist. People say and do horrible things to one another sometimes. This is where our collective power comes into play. When we use our inborn skills in accordance with others.
The best gift we can give to one another is to deeply listen and be present for each other. This is love in action. This is our most powerful inner ability. We don't need to try to find the right words or advice or even to say we understand what it's like for someone else, because the truth is, we don't know what it is like to be him or her. We just have to show up with love. We just have to show up as we are, that is always enough.
Thus, seeking professional help may also be the best option at times.There really is nothing wrong with utilizing the collective power of human beings in this way.
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, reach out to The Suicide Prevention Lifeline (a safe place to share and ask for help) or dial 1-800-273-8255.
There are many reasons why being human rocks. Our capacity to imagine the impossible and make it happen through invention. Our ability to connect deeply with others, to love, to learn, to grow, to laugh, to have adventures, to experience a wide variety of emotions and situations…all of that is what leading an inspired life is all about.