I remember my grandfather saying “Put can’t in your pocket and try” when I was faced with a challenge or I was deliberating over attempting something new. As an adult, and from what I know now, I can see his point! Saying “I can’t” was blocking me from the opportunity of learning something new, of having fun working out how to do something and even of joining in!
However, as a child I developed the pattern of saying “I can’t” for a very good reason. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that at the time and as I dithered between resisting the new opportunity and having a go I often became overwhelmed.
Vulnerability can initially feel a bit like excitement….. However, it can also feel like fear
The emotion is vulnerability. Whilst vulnerability is the threshold for expansion it is not a comfortable emotion to experience and that’s because it signals a belief or behaviour (or old coping strategy) which has been limiting us, is being challenged.
For some, vulnerability can initially feel a bit like excitement because it is a step towards expanding our comfort zone, to reaching a new height or a greater level or achievement. However, it can also feel like fear and if we deny or supress our feeling of vulnerability it can escalate into anxiety, panic, confusion, even rage and we can become overwhelmed! I know, because that’s often what used to happen to me!
Vulnerability signals a limiting belief is being challenged –
it can be scary – it’s a time when we don’t know what’s going to happen next
The good news is that there is a gift in every challenge and now I know the importance of ‘mining the gold’ in my patterns of belief and behaviour and not to discard them, it’s transformed my ability to be vulnerable, to grow, expand, learn and have more fun in my life!
The good news is that there is a gift in every challenge!
For example: In the above example, saying “I can’t” gave me more time to consider how I was going to approach the new task or opportunity. In a group situation, as I was deliberating, someone else often went first and showed me how, at other times I might ask for more information or for help. All of this gave me more confidence before I tried myself!
So, before I “stick can’t in my pocket and try” it is important to know that I have a choice!
Now, when I’m faced with a new opportunity, a challenge or something I haven’t done before I can pause and decide whether I want to try, have a go, work it out for myself or experiment and have fun in the process. Or, I might ask for more information, a demonstration or simply take more time to consider how I approach the challenge. As I do this the feeling of vulnerability subsides on its own!
Vulnerability can be scary – it’s a time when we don’t know what’s going to happen next or how things might turn out and our minds can go wild trying to work out the answer, in a desperate need to know and often imagine the worst case scenarios.
The current situation of the Coronavirus has affected us all and I imagine that many of us have felt vulnerability. No matter what our circumstances we do not know what is going to happen next or how things are going to turn out. However, there is a desperate desire to know when things will ‘get back to normal.’
Making a limiting belief conscious is a step towards expanding our comfort zone, to reaching a new height or a greater level or achievement.
The first step to moving through vulnerability (and any other emotion for that matter) is to allow ourselves to feel the feeling, to acknowledge the increased heart rate, the sweaty palms and other signs and then to recognise the ‘voice in our head’. We can then ask the questions “What is the belief which is coming up to be challenged?” and “What behaviour does it create” and then “What can I do differently?” and the answer will come.
Some of my own limiting beliefs and those of clients are “I’ll never be able to do it”, “I always make a mistake”, “I should be able to manage” and “I should be able to work it out on my own”. These create behaviours such as procrastination, self-criticism and giving up, but have also led to pushing through and achieving against all the odds. As to what to do differently some answers have been “take your time, “just give it a go”, “get more information, and “ask for help”.
Mine the gold in your limiting belief and behaviour and know that in each moment you have a choice of how to respond.
There is a lot of pressure in our society to think positive and to look on the bright side and it certainly is very important to cultivate positive neural pathways and it’s now scientifically proven how this can support our health and wellbeing. However, if you simply do not resonate with your positive mantra there is an internal incongruence. In this case it could be your body reminding you to ‘mine the gold’ from your ‘less than positive mantra’ and to allow your authentic positive belief to emerge.
Now, when I feel vulnerable, am faced with a new challenge and hear the voice in my head say “I can’t”, instead of pushing myself to try (even though I know my grandfather was only aiming to encourage me) my authentic voice is “I have a choice”.
In the past week this has saved me from overwhelm on numerous occasions because I volunteered to work in the local food store. As I grappled to learn how to use the till and to remember the prices of some of the unmarked products, I chose between trying to work it out and asking for help and I’ve been amazed. I have felt vulnerable, of course I have, that’s normal. But I haven’t escalated into overwhelm, despite the busy atmosphere in the shop, as I would have done in the past!
So, before you “put can’t in your pocket and try” – take the time to ‘mine the gold’ in the limiting belief or behaviour, don’t discard it, and know that in each moment you have a choice of how to respond.
If you are struggling to cope with feelings of vulnerability or anxiety and would like support to understand and move through the emotion then please contact me to find out more about my coaching.