Day 29: YOU ARE NOT YOUR THINGS
Welcome to Day 29 of Confidence Boot Camp. Wow—this is the day before the last day! Are you ready to stand up on the Confidence Camp podium to collect your medal tomorrow? We are so impressed and proud of your commitment and endurance to hang in there with us for an entire month. Here’s the good news: Because you enrolled during this past month, you will have lifetime free access to all 30 episodes of The Villa’s 2017 Confidence Boot Camp, with all the videos and written posts and exercises. You can go back anytime you want to review and refresh your confidence-building skills.
Today’s topic is brought to us so eloquently by our dear friend and colleague, Maggy Faddoul. If you’ve ever met Maggy, you knew instantly—as we did--what an amazing treasure of a human being she is. Maggy lives in Montreal, Quebec, but she is originally from Lebanon. If you like music, you’ll love listening to Maggy speak. Her beautiful French accent is engaging and her message today will affirm the subject of our post, “You Are Not Your Things.”
In The Chemistry of Confidence, one of our lessons from the Spiritual domain is usually called, “Become less attached to material things,” and we talk about “unhooking” from the parts of our life in which we compare ourselves to other people and often have our Not Enough Button pushed. We all know about this button that sits right over our solar plexus—it twists when we believe we are not smart enough, not thin enough, not rich enough, not pretty enough, not funny enough…shall I go on?
Because the main reason we want “things” is because we believe they will make us happier or our lives will somehow be better—or at least as good—as the lives of the people around us. (Don’t worry—there’s no blame or condemnation here. It’s part of the way we were designed to make the social order work and keep us striving for improvement. But that’s for another day, ok?)
You see, once upon a time, we were all born. When we came into the world, our purpose was just to “be”--to exist. Our existence probably made someone happy, but the point was just to start somewhere, and the rest of the meaning and purpose stuff was ours to figure out later. But guess what? Our first stop was likely in The Land of Other People. (All aboard!)
Because humans are social animals, we most often live in and grow up in The Land of Other People, which consists of Other People’s Agendas, Other People’s Opinions, Other People’s Expectations, and Other People’s Needs. From that first day we opened our eyes and took our first breath, we started learning how to respond to Other People, and how we should live and work and play in this place. Because—bottom line—our survival depended on it.
I hope you’re following this, because I could make it longer, but it’s a pretty simple story. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for “wanting” things. It’s our nature. We have neurochemicals in our brain that do the happy dance when we acquire stuff, achieve stuff, or accomplish stuff. But the part that’s really important and has to do with being confident is related more to that Button we just described that makes us collect and feel connected to our “things” in order to feel Enough.
You are not your things. And your things do not, and will never, define who you are. It’s a big lie—a story we started believing as we grew up in The Land of Other People while we were trying to figure out how the world works.
Here’s what’s kind of funny about this whole thing. I’m writing this post on a sunny afternoon, looking out the window as cars race by on a busy street. In the last hour, I’ve had these thoughts (among many others):
“I need to check my bank account balance.”
“I need to pick up some dog food and milk from the store on my way home.”
“I should definitely schedule an oil change for next week. Oh, and I need to get the rock chip repaired in my windshield before it gets cold.”
“I hope it’s warm this weekend so I can paint the deck.”
“I should follow up with my new customer to see about our invoice.”
(All this, right smack dab in the middle of a post about, “You are not your things.” What’s going on here?)
This is the human experience, my friends. We do live in The Land of Other People, and we need to know how to unhook from The Land on occasion, to remember who we really are. If you find yourself struggling to feel confident, ask yourself some simple questions:
What am I afraid of losing?
Who am I concerned will reject and abandon me?
What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen?
If the worst thing happens, how will I handle it?
Sometimes we’re not really afraid of the “thing” that could happen—losing face, embarrassment, looking foolish—but more afraid that we won’t be able to tolerate our own feelings about it. But most people don’t die from their feelings, and we have many natural resources available to us in these human systems to recover from negative feelings. (Namely: time. And all those Other People in the Land who actually love and care about you, and will be there to pick you up if you fall flat on your face.)
Your practice for today is designed to help you “unhook” from your Not Enough Button with a very simple exercise.
- Get your headphones on and turn down the lights in the room.
- Listen to Maggy’s recording in this post while you do nothing else. (I’m serious! No multitasking. Your email will still be there in 15 minutes, and the food picture your friend just posted on Instagram can wait.) You can watch the beautiful nature photographs while you listen, and thank Carol for her amazing gift of capturing them.
- Reflect on this question: “What is my bliss?”
That’s it. Just do that, and observe how you feel at the end. Unhooking from the Not Enough Button takes practice, just like all the other tools we’ve shared with you this month. If you liked today’s practice, do it again tomorrow. And the next day...and the next…and…
Sleep well, tonight, Campers! The celebration starts tomorrow. Thanks for joining us.
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