Why you had no choice but to be unhealthy, unhappy and unfulfilled
by Heather Thatcher
This article takes 8 minutes to read
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It’s not your fault.
Sure, you’re not happy with where your life is right now. Maybe you feel like someone else is in charge of your life, or that your circumstances are keeping you stuck.
Maybe you feel at the mercy of your nasty Inner Critic who keeps making you feel small, worthless and alone.
Maybe you feel lost, unsure of your life purpose, but have no idea how to find it.
You find yourself thinking ‘surely there must be more to life than this!’
And then you turn to the internet and social media to find all kinds of ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ telling you that YOU made all this happen.
That you are 100% responsible for creating the life that you have now and for experiencing the trauma and struggles you’ve endured.
This leaves you feeling that it’s your fault that you’re so unhappy, unhealthy and feeling unfulfilled.
But that’s not true.
You have not consciously chosen to experience all the trauma and struggle in your life.
It’s not your fault.
You were living in stressed-out default survival mode, with your Inner Critic making all the decisions, following your pre-programmed habits and behaviours and following what society and the current trends say you should be doing.
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Your Inner Critic’s job is to keep you safe, and your life right now, even with all your struggles and unwanted habits is safe because it is known.
Your body doesn’t like change and responds to change with fear and by turning on your stress response – even if you’re creating positive healthy change.
There are three main obstacles that stand in your way of creating positive change in a way that doesn’t trigger your Inner Critic and activate your stress response.
Learn your common emotional triggers by discovering your core values
#1 – Your body wasn’t designed for modern-day stress
Your body is incredible and has this amazing stress response that is setting you up for success. When you’re being chased by a bear, your body responds by making you breathe faster, have your blood pressure go up and your heart beat faster to get the nutrients you need to the strong muscles of your body.
Instinctually we prioritize what we need for survival and put everything else on the back burner.
But the truth is our body doesn’t know the difference between running away from a bear and the aspects of our lives that contribute to our chronic stress. We are staying in this constant stressed-out state of being for much longer than our body was designed for.
The stress response was to help us get away from the danger and then turn off.
But our stressors don’t go away, and unless we learn how to control our stress response our health and wellbeing suffer.
When I met Leslie she was stressed out, burnt out, and ready for a time out from her life.
She was working two jobs, volunteering, and being the go-to person for friends and family. If you needed anything, Leslie was there.
On the outside, it looked like Leslie was living the dream – she was in a successful career, was volunteering in her community, and had a network of family and friends. But no matter what Leslie did, she just wasn’t happy.
It always felt like something was missing and so she kept pushing herself to do more, to be more and she reached a point where her body finally said “no” and Leslie crashed.
She was exhausted all the time, she had terrible digestive issues, she was struggling with concentration and memory recall, and started to experience chronic pain that her physicians couldn’t find any reason for.
Her body had lost its ability to cope with the consistent, high level of stress she experienced on a day-to-day basis.
But using some simple, but effective stress management techniques that we talk about in the Ultimate Life Survival Guide membership community, Leslie was able to regain control over her body’s stress response. Leslie learned how to turn the switch off and change the chemical balance within her body to allow it to heal.
Within weeks of Leslie starting to use these techniques, her indigestion and food intolerance disappeared. Her chronic pain became less intense, and her ability to focus and remember things came back to her. Leslie achieved all of this by making the conscious choice to get out of default survival mode and significantly lower the negative health effects of her stress.
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#2 – You’re in default survival mode with your Inner Critic calling the shots
When we’re living in default survival mode, like Leslie, our Inner Critic is the one making the decisions. Our habits, programming and survival instincts are the “guidelines” our Inner Critic uses to keep us safe and getting by.
But there comes a point when ‘just surviving’ isn’t enough anymore and we start to ask if there’s more to life than this.
That’s exactly what Sharon was thinking when we met.
Sharon was struggling with multiple things in her life. She was overweight, she was broke, she was beyond stressed out and it seemed that every time she had a little win in her life, she would get knocked down again with another big setback.
Anytime she tried to change her lifestyle or habits, her Inner Critic would jump in right away and be absolutely nasty, calling her names, telling her she was stupid and that she’d never be successful with whatever she was trying to change.
Shortly after the Inner Critic letter-writing exercise, Sharon reached out to me to share her experience:
“A month ago my negative self-talk was constant. But now, I mean it’s still there, but so much less loud. And I can notice when I start to listen to those thoughts, I can stop them. I don’t have to keep listening to Janette [her inner critic]. 3 months ago I couldn’t do this. I didn’t know how. But now I can. This whole experience has been life-changing!”
Prior to working together, Sharon had been trying for over a decade to lose weight and take better care of herself. She’d be okay for a few days or a week, but then would just fall back into old habits and never lose the extra weight.
But after she took back control from her Inner Critic, Sharon went on to lose 60 pounds and counting, all without requiring massive amounts of willpower. She told me “I actually WANT to take care of myself. It’s crazy. I never thought I’d be craving vegetables and actually want to exercise instead of watch TV.”
When you get back in the driver’s seat of your life, and you’re the one calling the shots, you’re creating space to shift into the identity of the person that you were always meant to be. Once you do this, the beautiful change in your life starts to happen rapidly and you start to live your life purpose, feeling aligned with your authentic self.
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#3 – A part of you is holding you back from achieving your full potential
Connecting with her aligned purpose was something that Jess has been struggling with her whole life.
When I met Jess, she had already been focusing on her personal development for over a decade. She had read books, attended workshops and taken courses to help her reach her full potential.
But despite all the yoga, the meditation, the self-reflection and all the inner work she’s tried – Jess still felt stuck.
Jess had reservations signing up for my Mindset Reboot program, given that she had already done so much personal development in the past without any significant results, but she wasn’t even half-way through when I received this message from her:
“I feel that I’ve always been searching for my life goal or purpose since I was 18. I didn’t feel that I ever fit the mould of what society expected of me, what I expected of me and what my parents expected of me. I felt like a leaf blowing in the wind, never knowing where life was going to take me or what I should do. I’ve done so much personal development prior to this I was worried that I still wouldn’t find that internal drive, that I would still feel lost, unfulfilled and without a purpose. But in discovering my identity goal and the role of the inner critic in my life, everything is “falling” into place. Now, after all of these years of searching, I know what I’m meant to do, and why I’m here. I went for an interview today at my dream job and normally my inner critic would have led me to self-sabotage – but instead, I didn’t feel those fears and insecurities and trusted in my ability to figure it out. Even if I fail miserably, I can actually trust in my own ability to be successful because I know I will keep trying. I never knew this level of confidence existed or was available to me, but now I truly feel unstoppable!”
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It’s your turn to feel unstoppable.
I believe that life is full of beautiful possibilities, yet sadly most people are going through life in default survival mode and miss out on the wonder and joy of life. Because of stress, negative self-talk and a distorted view of life, many people hold themselves back from reaching their true potential.
It’s my mission to show people how to live with conscious intention so they can lower their stress, feel in control and confidently go after anything they want for their life.
If you’re nodding your head and you’re feeling all fired up about this – the next post of this series is for you.
I’m going to give you the exact road-map you need to get the transformation you’ve been craving. See you there.