"What we think determines what happens to us,
so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds."
- Wayne Dyer
We most often tend to think of "stretch" in terms of something physical, but there is another stretching exercise that is equally important, that being learning to stretch our minds... to consider new possibilities and ways of thinking. Not everything we believe to be true is true, or remains true forever. Our lives are constantly changing, and hopefully evolving; we need to be willing to stretch beyond our preconceived limitations, reevaluate what we know and what we've been told, and then determine what beliefs are the right fit for us now.
A good way to stretch our minds comes in the form of believing in ourselves. We tend to accept the labels that have been put on us, and the ones we've placed there, without ever going back to consider if they are still true, or were ever true to begin with. From the time we are small, we hear negative messages like "You are too __________", "You are not ________ enough", or "You can't ______________." (fill in the blanks with your most often heard put-down).
An example of the above would be my second husband who was the master of psychological abuse. He often told me that my caring for people was fake, causing me to question if I was deceiving myself and that was really true. He also told me "You won't ever leave me, you don't have the balls to leave." Was he right, I wondered, was I going to be stuck with him forever? Actually, no. While I didn't "have the balls" (I'm not supposed to have those, right), I did have a an overwhelming need to escape him, so when I finally got a pay raise at work that made it possible for me to house and feed my two children, we packed and left.
For most of my life I've been insecure about myself and my own worth, so I've believed the labels people stuck on me, and I've weighed myself down with plenty more... "I'm not good at this", or "I can't do that." The funny thing is that we can have ten people telling us we are good at something - such as writing, being a friend, or encouraging others, yet it takes only one person with a negative comment telling us we aren't good enough and the doubt creeps in. We hesitate, and sometimes we give up our attempts altogether because "they are probably right".
What I'm asking you to do, is what I have to remind myself of all the time... to not let one person's criticism be your excuse to fail. Find your inner strength, keep trying, and show them by your life how very wrong they were about you! I may not be the perfect friend, but I think I am a caring, decent one. I am certainly not the best writer in the world, but I'm not the worst either. Caring about other people, trying to encourage them, is important to me. Writing is also important to me, it is my passion! Am I going to let one person's remarks cause me to shut down and quit trying? NO!!
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion... of me, and of anything else, but that doesn't mean I have to buy into it. What matters is what I believe about myself, and how far I am willing to stretch myself to explore my own possibilities!
I'm linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
here this week's writing prompt is "stretch"