Despite being a pretty optimistic person (nickname Bubbles), I tend to be hard on myself. Mostly, I struggle with being an overachiever. I worry about doing my best, over think minute details and try to be excellent at EVERYTHING.
If you’re anything like me, this pursuit of excellence can be exhausting.
That’s why I WORK HARD at...
And being mentally flexible.
By NOT being HAPPY 24-7.
Sure. Happiness can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But, I think the majority of people don’t talk about the DARKER SIDE of emotions because expressing fear, anxiety and disappointment OPENS you up to feeling vulnerable. It exposes your weaknesses (if there is such a thing).
Rather than adopting my typical SUCK-IT-UP mentality, INTERNALIZING my fears and PUSHING forward, I recently started scheduling a time to...
And ALLOW myself to feel my raw and often times confusing emotions.
Carrying unneeded negativity inside of you is incredibly draining.
It takes up precious energy (which is a finite resources…when you run out, you run out) that could be better spent on things you really enjoy –like running, racing or reaching your peak potential.
Research (Csikszentmihalyhi, 1990; Thelwell & Greenless, 2006) shows that people who learn to manage their inner experiences feel
…and at the peak of their abilities.
Living and performing your best, then, are something YOU can make happen.
Well, you CAN'T BE YOUR BEST until you let go of your shit. Honestly. You can try to suppress your fears, doubts and frustrations, but you can’t avoid it forever. Trust me, I tried for several years. What I learned is that I can learn all the positive skills in the world, but it wasn't until I was brave enough to explore why I was afraid of the dark that I really started to excel.
You got to understand what’s holding you back and release it.
This is peak performance.
This is fully experiencing health and happiness.
FACE YOUR FEELINGS EXERCISE:
Grab a pen and paper. Set a timer for 1- to 15-minutes and feel into your fears and frustrations. Listen to the silly, self-sabotaging voices in your head. Then, give it a voice by writing it down. Free form. No holding back. Try starting your statements with a feeling (mad, sad, etc). You might be surprised how peaceful you feel when you’re done.
Here’s how I write my statements:
We often think that holding back and holding it all in makes us STRONGER. But learning how to acknowledge and let go of negative emotions as they arise FREES us from any perceived obstacles or struggles that are in our way (fear of not performing up to our expectations, afraid of what people think of us and not being accepted).
With practice, you begin to see that undesirable thinking and feeling is NOT BAD. It’s not a weakness. It doesn’t characterize who you are. It just is.
Plus, if you didn’t feel the ups and downs of your thoughts and feelings, then sports –and life would be pretty damn boring.
As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyhi (1990) said in his book Flow,
““The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something we make happen.”
Let’s make it happen!
ALLOW yourself to let go of all the layers that KEEP YOU from living and performing your best by acknowledging and accepting your thoughts and feelings.
Then, share your experience with me. Take the courageous plunge and make a comment below or send me an email and tell me all about it. I look forward to hearing from you!