Two years ago, I wrote this chapter in my book, Big Girl Pants, and I still find it incredibly important in both my life and that of my clients’. Read on…
The morning I finally decided to publish my professional life coach page on Facebook, I literally felt like I was going to be sick. Putting myself and my business out there for the world to see felt like standing in the middle of a freeway, waiting to get run over by people’s judgments. Yes, becoming visible in my business felt like I was intentionally making myself a target for the naysayers.
Yet, I promoted it anyway.
That morning, I told my fiancé I was going to be publishing my new business page and was scared to death. He had been my biggest fan, so I wanted him to know I was going to be curled up in the fetal position when he got home if no one had “liked” my page. Intermittently throughout the day, I would check my computer to see if there was any action on my post. By about 11:00 am, I had received almost 200 likes. Yet, I noticed that my fiancé hadn’t.
By 1:00 pm, he still hadn’t. Same with 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. I was steaming. The one person who knew my greatest fear wasn’t supporting me.
Instead of being thrilled that so many people had already validated and encouraged my endeavor thus far, this is how my thoughts went:
He must not really love me.
He thinks I’m not good enough to coach.
Is he embarrassed by me?
He is going to be a terrible step-dad to my kids.
He doesn’t love me.
He doesn’t respect me.
He doesn’t care about my feelings.
I don’t like him anymore.
I have made a grave mistake dating this man.
He never really loved me in the first place. I’m breaking up with him when he gets home.
If he can’t support my Facebook post, how going to support me throughout our lives?
At 7:00 pm, he walked through the door, and gave me a huge hug, and kiss just like every other night. Still fuming from the day’s thoughts, I shimmied out of his embrace and walked into the other room, huffing like a protesting child.
Confused, he asked what was wrong and I gave him my standard answer when I am pissed.
Even though I was mad, I knew this behavior was ridiculous. I questioned if it had anything to do with my boyfriend or everything to do with my own insecurities. As I sat alone in the other room pouting, I went through each of the thoughts I had all day, seeing each one for what it was: a judgment of myself. I decided to find the truth hidden within my story and to get out of my own head.
I took a breath and marched my butt back to my man and told him I was sorry. He didn’t understand what I was apologizing for, but again, this was more about me than him. I let my sad girl story of rejection and failure go, and I let the love back in.
Mindsets, or the way people are naturally predisposed to think, are powerful. They can control, persuade, and hold people back from doing things in life. Mindsets are dangerous whenever you feel worried, scared, or uncertain, but only if you remain unaware and make decisions based on limiting beliefs you carry. Anytime you think about stepping outside your comfort zone, the body naturally tries to fight off whatever is deemed a risk.
There is good news, however: You have the power to stop this madness.
When thoughts kick into high gear, you can change the way you think and feel about any situation. Cool, right? Inner dialogue is meant to keep you safe because rejecting your ideas and dreams before you act helps you avoid failure and rejection from others. But the truth is, many people avoid following their instincts because they are too afraid. Why? The list of reasons is endless, but here are a few things that keep them from putting on big girl pants:
- Embarrassment, humiliation, or unworthiness: What if I speak to an audience and my message doesn’t resonate with people?
- Guilt: Will making a different choice upset my mom?
- Fear of failure: What if I start my own business and don’t make any money?
- Fear of the unknown: Will I ever be happy again if I leave my husband?
- Fear of rejection: What if my co-workers don’t support me when I share my thoughts at our next meeting?
- Fear of judgment: What will our neighbors think when we sell the house?
- Fear of abandonment: What if I tell my best friend how I feel and she doesn’t want to hang out anymore?
How then, do you end this self-sabotage? By getting comfortable feeling discomfort. Being uncomfortable in a situation means your body is trying to tell you something is off. When you feel this, it doesn’t automatically mean you need to turn and move in the opposite direction. Instead, follow these processes:
First, you must notice your thoughts. My guess is you go about your day without acknowledging you have hundreds and thousands of thoughts. But when you start to listen to your inner voice, you can meet it with understanding and compassion.
Think of your internal dialogue as waves in the ocean. They ebb and flow, some negative and others positive. The secret isn’t in trying to stop the waves but to start riding them. Notice when they support you and when they don’t.
Second, begin questioning your thoughts. Ask yourself if what you are thinking and believing is true. Every time a thought wreaks havoc with your soul, ask yourself this:
Is it true?
Was it true that my fiancé wasn’t happy for me when I started my business? No, it was a story I told myself.
Once you learn to decipher between truth and your story, your life will begin to change. I promise. Reality is a much better place to live.
When your mind is working with you rather than against you, your options moving forward will expand. In time and with practice, you will see a supportive, growth-inducing way through life’s changes. You’ll figure out these changes won’t hurt you, but ignoring them—which is a common societal misstep—does. Instead of hiding from a new existence, allow yourself to align your thoughts with the potential positive outcomes.
Let your story go and let a new perception in.
Are you ready to break the dead end cycle of dream-excuse-dream and commit to making serious changes to your life? Women have heard for years that sometimes they just need to put on their Big Girl Pants and deal with it. But what if putting on your Big Girl Pants wasn’t about dealing with your life as it is, but creating the life that your soul craves? It’s so easy to pull on that same pair of familiar and lived-in pants. They protect you from extraordinary failures, freak-outs and criticism. But don’t they feel restricting and oppressive? What if changing and leaving the excuses behind meant you could have what you want? You don’t have to feel trapped, unsuccessful, or silenced. You deserve the life you desire.
In my book, Big Girl Pants, I’ll help you transform yourself into a self-assured, honestly happy person who is unapologetically herself. Order your own copy of Big Girl Pants today!