I was raised by a mother that began every sentence with 'Be careful'. She still does. For instance, if I mention the Dalai Lama followed me on Twitter she says 'Be careful! It might be a cult'.
Some might perceive this as cute and my mom just cares...a lot. 'Be careful' is thoughtful and comforting to hear when it comes from a caring place but when it's uttered out of consistent fear, it can be plain paralyzing doing more harm than good. Unfortunately the latter scenario is my mother.
Needless to say I grew up with anxiety, irrational fears, and abundant self-doubt. Thinking twice about everything I did. Not taking chances I should have. Finding fear out of nothing at all. Luckily I recognized this maladaptive pattern in my 20's. I worked hard to counteract all the 'be careful' clutter in my brain. I wanted to live...really live my life.
Perhaps I had my own voice. I was determined to find it. I ignored the 'be careful' influence that plagued me and ate away at my endeavors before they began. Often times this meant ignoring my gut instinct, which was scary. But because my gut instinct had been ruled by the 'be careful' queen for so long, I had to reprogram myself completely.
It was tough at first. Every time I did something out of my comfort zone (which was a lot), it always began with warning bells going off in my head and a thousand 'be careful' phrases greeted me with a vengeance. But I learned that was my mother's voice. Not mine.
Every Christmas season there's a movie on called Christmas Story. I know you've seen it with that atrocious leg lamp and the little boy who wanted nothing more than a BB gun for Christmas. Remember what his mom says...and everybody else was saying it by the end of the movie, 'Don't shoot your eye out'!!!
Well ironically the boy did (almost) shoot his eye, but the BB ricocheted off his glasses- no harm done to his eye. So why do I bring this up other than the boy's mother reminds me of my own? There are going to be people who will tell you about your possible failure. They'll warn you whenever you set your ambitions on something and you know what? Sometimes they're going to be right.
Even my mom has been right. Perhaps a 1 in 1,000 chance she's right about her persistent 'be careful' warnings. It would only take one time of being right for her to justify the other 999 useless fears and worries. That's how she operates. Not me!
We all have a phrase of negativity that haunts us and holds us back in life. For many of us, we adopted certain phrases from our childhood. These phrases that burden us often get overlooked because they could've come from people who truly cared about us. It could've been something else we heard throughout our lives enough times that it became a part of us. What was yours? Have you ever wondered? Does it propel you forward in life or hinder your happiness?
I don't know about you but I have a very persistent little voice in my head that raises doubts and fears with every new step I take, both personally and professionally. It's crucial we identify this phrase(s)whether it's 'Be careful' or 'Don't shoot your eye out'! These well-meaning warnings should come with a warning label of their own!
As an adult we need to reflect upon the original context in which we ingrained the phrases that changed our lives. Those phrases that still influence us will look a whole lot different if we revisit them with mature eyes. The 'Be careful' phrase has stolen my joy more than a few times. A little less the older I get though.
I'm passionate about no-nonsense self-improvement. Too many of us are plagued by faulty thought patterns- I aim to change that!