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  • Writer's pictureMichael McEntee

Getting past the "No"

In these current isolating and challenging times, we may recognise a growing desire for change. To allow things to go back to normal. For our old life to get back on track as to how it was. But what did "normal" look like? Did it serve us well?? If we allow ourselves to take a step back, especially now, in this time of recommended self-isolation, and allow ourselves time to reflect on how we were in our day-to-day lives. We could allow ourselves an opportunity to recognise how we consistently allowed the manipulating forces of our mind’s inner critic (or as I like to call the inner Chatterbox) to take charge of our thought processes, our mood, and ultimately our lives. This internal Chatterbox has the annoying power to pester you - morning, noon, and night - with negative thoughts such as, “No, you can’t do it; No, you’re not good enough; No, you’ll never be able to achieve that.”

The renowned author Deepak Chopra views that getting past the idea of always reverting to No means you need to step away from your inner critic. In fact, we need to take time to consciously step away from ourselves and review what is (negatively) influencing our day-to-day behaviours: both internal and external influences. To get beyond the power of No is crucially important. No is very convincing. People reject all kinds of experiences because they believe it’s right to reject.... it’s safer to reject. This self-sabotage will only serve to allow your mind's Chatterbox to remain a dominant force in your day-to-day life. Deepak recommends that you must break the spell of No when your thought patterns are:

Telling you that people don’t change - If other people can’t or won’t change, we’re fated to live in the status quo. As the say goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got."

Keeping you trapped in rigid habits - Life’s everyday struggle is dominated by our inability to think and behave in a new way. A habit is nothing more than a useful shortcut, an automatic pathway imprinted in the brain. In the grip of saying No, we find reasons to keep being stuck in habitual thinking and behaviours when they no longer serve us. To break any habit, you need to reclaim your power to choose.

Trapping your mind in obsessive thoughts - By definition, an obsessive thought is one that’s stronger than you are. That’s where the power of No does its damage. Placing the inner critic aside, thinking can be an expression of freedom. The mind isn’t compelled to prefer one thought over another. What keeps us trapped in repetition is the belief that “I must think this way…. “Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.” There is an unfortunate irony that, should you have the impulse to choose a different path, you’ll subconsciously allow hurdles to block your way. The bricks and mortar which make up these emotional barriers are your fear, prejudice, self-doubt, and guilt.

Creates cravings that cannot be appeased - When cravings keep returning, they force you either to give in or resist. Once again, a repetitive pattern imprinted in the brain overrides free choice. Your craving takes on a life of its own, and if taken to extremes, it becomes an addiction.

Puts up fear as a threat if you try to break free - The power of No uses fear as its enforcer. Under the spell of No the mind finds any and every reason to be afraid.

Forbids you to have certain thoughts - Denial and repression seem appealing as short-term solutions. Under the spell of No, you fear your shadow and believe that you should never go near it. When the mind is free thoughts come and go spontaneously. Whether good or bad, you don’t hold onto them. As long as the mind is allowed to flow, no thought is dangerous, and therefore nothing is forbidden.

So, put this time of self-isolation to good use. Allow yourself to become more self-aware of your thought patterns and instinctive habits. A starting point in challenging the mutterings of your Chatterbox is simply to stop and say, “You’re not me.” Furthermore, Deepak Chopra offers a four step plan that can allow you to bring in a new and empowered response:

Remain centered - Panic is the ultimate state of not being centered, but there are many milder ones, such as distraction, restlessness, confusion, anxiety, and disorientation.

Be clear - Many people who are confused and agitated, suffer the futility of warring with themselves — hating themselves. The breakthrough, in the form of clarity, comes when they accept that the thing they hate has no real independent existence.

Expect the best - By letting go, you aspire and have faith that something good might happen.

Watch and wait -The moment you let go of some old debilitating habit, the manipulating power of your inner critic shifts and diminishes. In essence, whenever you let go, you are subtracting something old and adding something new. In the time that you patiently wait for the new shoots of growth, take time to be aware and recognise that you allowed the ‘something new’ to be of a positive nature. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a vicious circle of one negative habit being replaced by another in another form.

If you enjoy what you’ve read, take some time to review our other blog posts. They’re short and packed with useful information.

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