The River of Misery

cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance
noun
the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

In coaching, I call the process of changing your beliefs The River of Misery. Sounds fun, right?! 🤪 Hear me out.

It is when you recognize that a belief you’ve held, that feels more like a fact rather than an optional opinion, is not serving you and you begin the process of unlearning and cultivating a belief that will serve you. You begin to hold two inconsistent beliefs at the same time.

An example is going from ‘I hate my body’ (belief that doesn’t serve me) to ‘I love my body’ (my desired belief).

I have believed ‘I hate my body’ for so long that it just feels like truth. It feels like home. And even though it hurts emotionally to think it, it’s familiar and easy. It’s who’ve I’ve ‘been’ for 25 years. Giving up being that women feels like I’m abandoning myself. My brain is freaking out because I’m basically getting out of my cave and things like loving myself seem like scary lions waiting to eat me. My brain is like “No! You absolutely should hate hour body! We have only ever known this and it’s true! Look around as to why! What are you doing?”

Most humans cannot go from one belief to the complete opposite belief overnight. That’s why just saying a positive affirmation you don’t believe will do nothing for you. Your brain’s job is to seek answers and proof. And when you’ve hated your body for most of your life, your brain has already ‘proven’ why you should. Repeating ‘I love my body’ will do nothing for you because you don’t actually believe it right now. It doesn’t create the feeling you need to make the ‘belief connection’ between your mind and body. You’re saying this lovely thought, but it creates a feeling of hopeless in your body. It’s not aligned.

The process of shifting your mindset involves finding a new thought that feels less like punching yourself in the face, something you can believe right now, feels better in your body, and gets you closer to your desired belief… Then you have to internationally practice that thought like… All day. Until it becomes your new belief.

This work feels awkward. It feels hard. It feels unnatural. It feels like you’re losing yourself and you’re not quite sure who you’re becoming (because you’ve never been her before). It feels lonely because everyone you’ve attached yourself to up to this point most likely has similar beliefs that you had, knows the old you very well, and can even be put off by your new way of thinking/being.

But that’s the point.

Growth and evolving, finding your light, waking up and remembering your greatness, investing in genuine self love and care, and remembering that you’ve been in there, waiting patiently to remember, for your entire life….it’s all the hardest work you’ll do. It’s what will determine your experience as a human being.

Your willingness to question all of it, remove judgment, lean into curiosity and belief, and allow yourself to wake up and remember, and then purposefully decide what you want to believe… That is the work. That is the lesson. That is the reason you’re here. You have to talk to your brain more than you listen to it in order to accomplish this. We are not taught or encouraged to do this, so you’ll probably feel like you’re leaving ‘home’ and joining a cult.

On the other side of this river, you’ll find your purpose.

Keep going.

You’ve got this.

Embrace the in-between person that you are right now. Let those who don’t get it fall off. Let those who mock you have their own beliefs. It’s not your job to convince people to encourage or support you. That’s your job.

Keep swimming through the River 🏞️.

When you stop resisting your desire to grow, the process of growth itself, and the work it takes to grow…you’ll see that the swim is actually really beautiful… Even if it feels like drowning sometimes.

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