There she was, my daughter, a miniature version of me both in appearance and spirit. And she had just uttered the words 'I hate myself because I am damaged.' At that moment, I knew I had to make a change. My children would NOT learn this from me; instead, that they would see someone resilient and determined in her efforts to be the best version of herself. To break the stereotypes. To dismantle the limiting beliefs.
When I last sat down to write my story, we left off with my promise to share about the work I did. That to simply say, "I made a decision to start loving myself, and now I do," would not only be doing my journey a disservice but would be disingenuous to you.
The work is not easy - it's not easy because it's not surface level. Trauma affects us DEEPLY. Its roots are long, thick, and entwined into so much of who we are and what we do. And so, to move forward, I had to make a decision. A decision that the discomfort of stepping into the unknown was better than staying in my current situation.
So now, let's start talking about the work.
I had to get brutally honest with myself - challenging my thinking and my internal dialogue. I had to re-learn who I was, who I wanted to become, and how I wanted to live. In short, I had to learn how to dream again.
Remember when we were younger and encouraged to have an active imagination? We were actually praised for it. Somewhere along the line, we started to hear "pull your head out of the clouds" or "be realistic, how are you ever going to do that."
What happened to me happens to a lot of people. We become re-conditioned to ignore our dreams, to make them smaller, more realistic, based on someone else's perception and limiting beliefs. We stop dreaming and only pay attention to our current circumstances and the conditions surrounding us. We chastise ourselves when we spend time "dreaming" and deny ourselves time spent in imagination.
One day we wake up in a "funk," wondering how we got there. More importantly, though, is how we get out of it.
The greatest thing I did for myself was learning how to dream again and make it part of my everyday routine. It empowered me to completely reshape my life, my identity, and my happiness.
To build a life that I love, by design.
When we dream, we create a visual picture. This is very important because our subconscious mind, the part of us that powers 95% of our thinking and actions, operates on these pictures - it's visual.
When we spend time daydreaming, we create visuals, pictures, or movies, that play in our minds. Because we are spending time on things we desire, things we would love to have, do, or be, we experience feelings alongside our daydreams.
Typically, it would be feelings of joy, excitement, happiness, contentment, success, pride, love. We allow ourselves to "escape" our current conditions and transport ourselves to our ideal outcome.
This has an extremely powerful impact on our subconscious mind. What we focus on is what we create. Daydreaming, or visualization, helps us reshape our subconscious paradigms because we connect our pictures and feelings to an experience that has not yet happened.
Often, we make our past more real than our future, which is why we repeat things we do not necessarily want. Remember when I talked about not being able to spend Christmas with my son?
Instead of focusing on years past, I went all-in on visualizing special activities and things we could do as a family to make this year's celebration just as wonderful. That visualization turned into planning, the planning became tangible action, and you know what? We had a blast.
We create the same powerful experience for our future through daydreaming or visualization as our memories do for our past. In fact, we can make our future more real to us than our past could ever be when we see what we desire, who is there with us, hear what is around us, what we or others are saying, when we feel the emotions of it; this is how we co-create with the Universe.
It can feel a little silly when we start incorporating daydreaming back into our lives. I suggest starting with 10 minutes, preferably in the morning, where you sit quietly and just imagine. Visualize your life, family, career, business, really see your next level self. See it clearly. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Have that picture, or movie, so vivid in your mind, as if it is happening to your RIGHT NOW.
Do the same as you drift off to sleep. Allow the visions to embed into your subconscious mind; it is responsive to commands and repetition, what it acts on.
This process is actually a component of what we do in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). We replace those limiting beliefs with powerful thinking that does align.
Stop looking back. Forgive any decisions from the past. Release what no longer serves you. And build forward - YOUR future that you desire. Dream big and then dream even BIGGER. Our potential is limitless.