determined to change my self-destructive thoughts and find some peace of mind. It has been a process of unwinding my fear-filled, critical mind and reprogramming it for love. Over the years I have created new filters and downloaded new programs. I remind myself every day to love and accept myself. I made a conscious choice for love over and over again until it began to feel easier and more natural, and my internal programming shifted from fear to love. I admit it is still a work in progress, but I align more with love than I experience fear, and when I do experience fear, I have the tools and awareness to shift my thoughts back to love quickly and with more ease. If I can move from such intense self-hatred to this depth of love, anyone can. I will share one tool that really helped me. I call it “The Five A’s to Change.” Awareness The first step is awareness. We can’t change what we can’t see. The moment we become aware of something; change has already begun. The more we practice present-moment awareness, the better we see the truth about what is helping and what is harming, whether that be our thoughts and beliefs, our unfelt emotions, judgments, projections, or physical symptoms. The best question to ask is “What is happening now?” This opens our minds to be curious about what is happening at this moment. Be open to becoming aware of your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, physical symptoms, triggers, anything at all. Be open to exploring anything that you become aware of. Acceptance This is the main step most people miss. Instead of accepting their negative thoughts and beliefs or accepting how they feel, they pass judgment on them. We may judge ourselves or project our judgments onto someone else. Projection is a clever tactic of our ego-mind. I share more about projection on Day 5 in “What We Can’t See, We Can’t Change.” Accepting “what is” allows us to move from judging to being curious. Acceptance softens and opens our minds to another perspective. It doesn’t mean we have to like what is, we just need to accept it. If we resist what is, we are holding on tightly with judgment and fear. I am sure you have heard the saying “what we resist persists.” When we practice acceptance, we soften the resistance in our minds. This allows us to take ownership of how we feel or for what is happening in our life. It is okay to feel what we are feeling and at the same time be willing and open to feel differently. When we accept “what is,” we become open to change. Here are some examples of ways to practice acceptance: “It is what it is, and it is okay.” “I am where I am, and it is okay.” “I am feeling anger and it is okay.” “I am feeling sad, and it is okay.” Allowance Another step most people will skip, which only leads to frustration or self-doubt, is allowance. Give yourself permission to feel how you feel about what is happening. Remember that your thoughts and beliefs have been programmed and operating most of your life. Allow the thoughts to rise up and imagine you could forgive them for healing. The process of forgiving allows us to set an intention to let go and offer over our thoughts in exchange for another perspective. Make space to feel your emotions so that they can rise up and out. Emotions are meant to be felt not held or stuffed down inside. Feel your feelings to free yourself from them. Allow your thoughts to rise
AT FORTY FIVE MAGAZINE /25 up into your awareness so they aren’t hidden tapes playing in the background. It is our hidden thoughts and beliefs that create most of our pain. Practicing awareness and allowance is like running a virus scan on a computer. Once you know there is a virus (a negative thought), you can run a program to remove it. Unfelt feelings are also like viruses causing us to react to life instead of responding to it. Allow space for your thoughts to be explored and your feelings to be felt so they can be cleared and healed. Action Action is the step most people jump to when they become aware of something they want to change. They go from awareness to taking action to change what they become aware of. The challenge is that, if they skip acceptance and allowance, most times the action they take to change something is not sustainable. The other aspect to consider is whether the action we take comes from our head or our heart. When we follow the directions of our heart, our gut instinct, or our intuition, we will feel a deeper commitment to the action. It becomes inspired action, instead of forced reaction. Intentionally aligning our mind with our heart, our gut instinct, or our intuition becomes a powerful recipe for change. The key is to quiet the mind and listen for the inspired action that comes from the heart. This means we follow the directions of the heart as well as its timing. This is what I refer to as inspired action. Appreciation Practicing gratitude and appreciation is great, especially when it comes to change. Gratitude opens our minds and allows us to see what is "Allow space for your thoughts to be explored and your feelings to be felt so they can be cleared and healed.". working and what is right instead of what is wrong. When we practice seeing what is going right by focusing on what we appreciate, it helps reprogram our minds for more gratitude. We can be grateful for the awareness related to the process of change or we can have an appreciation for something we are learning or for something or someone we love. It is great when it is related to the current process but not necessary. Remember: focusing on just the words of gratitude and appreciation is not enough to shift your mindset. When you practice appreciation, invite the feeling of gratitude to warm your heart. Stay tuned next week for chapter 4 ~ The Judge, the Jury, and the Judgment ***This is an excerpt from Sue Dumais' book "Stand UP Stand OUT Stand STRONG ~ A 30 Day Guide to Navigate Life When the SHIFT Hits the Fan" (published 2018) Published on atfortyfive.com with permission from © Sue Dumais
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