You crack open the latest goal-setting or time-management or personal development CD. You follow along with your workbook. As you listen to the motivating stories your energy level and excitement soar to new heights. In this state of emotional bliss you set your goals… “I’m going to work out four mornings each week and lose these 60 pounds once and for all!” or “I’m going to write at least two pages a day until I finish my book, and within eight months I want it to be in the hands of a publisher…” or whatever the case may be.
Perhaps your inspiration came not from a new book you’ve read but from a conversation with a friend, an epiphany you had, or just the changing of the calendar from December to January. Regardless of the motivation for setting new goals for yourself, everyone knows what it feels like to be excited to make a change, once and for all.
Generally for the first few days or weeks your excitement continues, and because your emotions still support you taking action, you move forward.
But then it happens… one morning when your alarm clock goes off to remind you to go to the gym. Only this time your body is sore, and the emotions that were once supporting your goal have been replaced by feelings of drudgery. Without the excitement, you are no match for your tired, sore body. You hit the snooze button and roll over again.
When you finally do wake up, what happens? Many people at this point take the event as an opportunity to torture themselves. This is your chance for self-manipulation and shame! You seize the opportunity like it is never going to come around again, and begin the painful self-talk:
“I can’t believe I let myself…”
“Why didn’t I…”
“What’s my problem…”
“Here I go again…”
“Who was I fooling when I decided to…”
“I do this every time…”
the list goes on and on. With a little bit of shame and some self-manipulation techniques, you are able to get up early exactly two more times to work out before you slip back into the old original habbits.
The cycle can then continue the next time you feel a burst of inspiration, read an inspiring story, or the calendar turns to January again. Because almost everyone goes through life in an unconscious state (interrupted of course periodically with flashes of enlightened brilliance), we can continue this cycle for years or decades and continue to get the same results.
So what was happening? More importantly, how do we change?
In an unconscious state (emotional, but unconscious nonetheless), you made a commitment to the emotions you were feeling at the moment. You perceived that your commitment was to the success, but the commitment was actually to the emotions you were feeling in the moment. If your commitment was really to the end result, you would have awakened and worked out despite how you felt emotionally.
Here is the critical lesson and takeaway:
You did not know that your commitment was to your emotional state, so give yourself a break! Yes, there is a higher level of living, an enlightened state, which we will continue to talk about in great detail. But if you really want to arrive at that higher plane of understanding, the self-manipulation and shame need to be allowed to go away.
In an unconscious state, you made a commitment that was supported by your emotions. If you haven’t learned yet how to commit to something other than emotion, then you have no chance of succeeding after your emotions change. When you catch the negative self-talk, remember that you are still kindof figuring this stuff out. Everyone goes through the same learning process to figure it out, so there is no reason to belittle yourself. Your thoughts should be more along the lines of “I guess I’m still learning how to feel and follow inspiration, and that is pretty cool that I am now aware enough to realize what is actually happening. It is fun to grow!”
Of course your emotions reflect your energy level at any given moment, and your energy is created by your beliefs. You create your beliefs (most people do this unconsciously, but we can certainly teach you how to take conscious control), and so you are absolutely the captain of your own life. However, we must start at whatever level of understanding and awakening you are at now, and if there are lower vibrational tendencies like manipulation and shame, that needs to stop before genuine progress can be made.
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