Sessions With Self: Volume 2
We all have a “theme song” to our spiritual journey. Most of us have several.
These show themselves when we repeatedly experience the same familiar challenges, feelings, thoughts, and behavior patterns throughout our life. They play subtly in the background as part of the soundtrack to our human experience.
One of my lifelong themes is feeling like I am always viewing the world from the outside looking in, specifically when I’m in a group setting. It’s as if I’m an observing outsider, completely removed from the interaction.
Call me the eternal people watcher.
Recently, I got together with some long-time friends I haven’t seen in a while. Amid all the banter, those same ol’ “outsider” feelings began to come over me.
And right on cue, that’s all it took for my mind to start affirming these familiar feelings.
Having explored this extensively throughout my life, I know these thoughts are mere projections. Cognitively, I know no one is judging me, but rather it’s me who is judging myself.
And this is because:
It’s all part of a conditioned state of being memorized since childhood.
It starts with working to recognize when I’m purposely sabotaging myself to reinforce these limiting beliefs. I try to be mindful of anything I am doing to create that narrative.
A good practice that has helped me is setting the intention of how I want to experience a particular social event before it actually happens that I know might cause me to go unconscious.
I either do this with visualization exercises or by journaling. I ask myself
In addition, during these actual social situations, I do my best to stay present and notice when I have any limited thought patterns of “I don’t fit in.”
I’ve slowly learned to come to terms with these feelings and thoughts. Instead of trying to push them away or even change them, I accept this as part of my human journey.
It doesn’t mean I stop trying to work to be better.
It means, rather than being hell-bent on trying to break the pattern, I work to change my relationship with it—by trying to understand these struggles more deeply while letting them be.
Psychologist Carl Rogers refers to this as the “curious paradox” which says
“When I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
When we stop focusing our energy on trying to change and simply learn to accept who we are, flaws and all, ironically, this is what creates space for personal growth.
Additionally, sometimes feelings can run so deep and are so conditioned that you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to fix them — because it can feel like you are fighting an uphill battle.
When you spend your time lamenting over a part of yourself you wish was different, you begin to miss out on living the parts of your life you cherish.
Thinking something is wrong with you is never the answer to healing.
Your soul came here to learn certain lessons. Many of these come in the form of struggles. You will keep experiencing these same struggles repeatedly until you fully learn the lesson.
These themes and difficult patterns are part of your spiritual journey and make them beautiful in their own right.
They are unique to your path.
And maybe for me, the ongoing experience of viewing the world as an “outsider” is part of mine. And I accept that.
It’s could be something my soul needs me to keep exploring and maybe for the entirety of my current physical life.
Next time you hear that familiar “theme song” of your life playing in the background, consider these questions.
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