Every moment is a new beginning, right? The ability to refocus where we place our attention is available to us now. Shall I continue to see myself and my situation, my relationships and my status in the same way or is it possible to see and do things differently? How we see ourselves, what we think and believe, will have everything to do with our flexibility and resilience. It determines if and how we will evolve, what we will change and how.
How can you create something new and better in your life if I don’t deeply believe that you deserve it. How can you risk the investment in a new you, or the career or relationship you want, if you can’t see it happening? The new beginning of any new beginning is your mindset and your focus. So what could possibly stand in the way?
Fear of failure, fear of success and a negative relationship with the unknown can build formidable mental border walls against positive change. The fear of failure and its cousin, performance anxiety, have stood in the way of many dreams. In all fields, sports, academics, etc, those who succeed can see it. They can see themselves performing successfully. They believe it. They don’t focus on their weaknesses, they focus on their strengths and their vision of success. Without inner chatter or criticism the mind is clear and can choose the best moves. Fear of failure will ruin everything from orgasms to finishing a dissertation. Your self image and esteem can tolerate failure when failure is viewed as a learning experience necessary for greater successes in the future. Humility needn’t be humiliation.
Fear of success is a little different. Instead of imagining failure, fear of success imagines negative consequences attached to success. Your success can be resented, envied, preyed upon. Success could redefine what you believe about yourself and may threaten others. Success also means you will be more visible and available to others. This can be scary when ‘others’ represent a threat, perhaps as a result of past traumatic experiences and attachments. You can’t hide from success. The easiest example is a person with a history of sexual abuse who loses weight. They will draw attention in a new way, sometimes sexual. Visibility will bring change and change requires an emotional and psychological adjustment.
Finally, being able to start anew and create a new way of being in life also requires a certain kind of relationship with the unknown. Our thoughts about the future and the outcome of our efforts can be negative and worrisome. I have a memory that exemplifies this. It took place when I last set out on a new beginning in 2013. I was moving from Alabama where I’d lived for five years to help my mother through her decline and her final transition in life. I was moving back to Bucks County, PA, where my son had just become a father for the first time. I had planned ahead and was freshly licensed to practice psychotherapy in NJ and PA. I had found a place to live and movers had already picked up my belongings and were to meet me in three days at a storage unit near my new apartment. On the night before I planned to leave on my next new adventure, I totaled my car.
It was my fault. I was about to make a left turn out of a parking lot and a woman in a truck approached from my left with her right turn signal on, slowing down to obviously make a right turn. I assumed she was turning into where I was pulling out from. But I was wrong; I pulled out and she rammed me. My Kia Forte was totaled. I had one day and diminishing funds with which to buy a new car and make the 900 mile trip in time to meet the movers.
As that day began, I was in a very bad mood. I was angry at myself for the accident. I was living on savings. I imagined that because I was a woman alone with no mechanical expertise that any used car salesman would take full advantage of me. And then I had a moment of mindfulness. I reviewed my thoughts and beliefs and the effect they were having on my body and my mood, dark, fearful, negative, tense and painful. A moment of mindfulness is a moment of freedom and choice. This time, I took it. I decided to shelve the negative thoughts and beliefs about the unknown outcome of the day which left me with not knowing. Then, as an experiment, I decided to imagine and intend that I would get what I wanted and I would have fun getting it.
And I did. I bought a 3 year old Honda Accord with 35,000 miles from a young hippie car salesman. My monthly bill turned out to be less than I was paying for the same year Kia. I named her Princess. Now, 7 years later, I call her Tank. She’s still humming along at 134,000 miles. Some would say this is the Law of Attraction in action. It taught me a lot.
My point is that our thoughts and beliefs about the unknown affect our emotional and physical well-being as well as the outcome. Changing our lives requires a belief in a positive outcome and the courage to move into unknown terrain. We need to visualize and allow a new reality. On the way, you may total a car or fail a test but that can’t demolish your dreams if you learn from the experiences. Wake up to the thoughts and beliefs that may obstruct your new beginning and positive change in your life. Be open to something new and beautiful down the road, and step on the gas.