What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about “softeners”? I thought of stool softeners (akin to my focus on nutrition and the body). My husband thought of water softeners. Maybe fabric softeners or something else came to mind.
But what about softeners that we use in language. One could argue that our culture is addicted to softeners. “Don’t feel bad about not making the team, lots of people didn’t make it.” “You don’t fit into your jeans anymore, it’s okay, I think they’re making clothes smaller now.” Or how about “You had a bad day; I’ll buy you a drink.”
What are some softeners that you use in your life? The reality is softeners cover up a problem or a pain.
And don’t be mistaken – I love them and am guilty of using them, too... but to what consequence? On the flip side, what if you were to eliminate them from your life. The things that mask the true feelings, the true pain, physically and emotionally. And what if you could use that pain to catapult yourself forward, out of the mediocre, into something greater, bigger, better?
Softeners make us feel better... but they also keep us from living the most fulfilled life. Softeners often reinforce our limiting beliefs. “I know girls aren’t as good at math,” or “If people see how I really dance, they won’t like/love me,” or “rich people aren’t nice, I’m nice so that’s why I am here.” All beliefs carry consequences, especially limiting beliefs. What are yours? Write them down.
How do these thoughts limit your life today. Now imagine that it continues on the same path for another 5 years. What are the consequences of continuing to use softeners? What will you miss out on trying, enjoying, becoming if you let these limiting beliefs guide your emotions and ultimately your actions.
Now, image if you remove all the softeners from your life. Do you feel pain? Good. Dance with your pain, feel it, lean into it… then search for the root cause. What if you found the source of the pain, and you repaired it? What if your pain is tied to a limiting belief. What would you do different if you never had that limiting belief. What softeners are you using to tell yourself that it’s okay? And if you solved just one pain (where there is no more need for softeners), what would that mean for your life? What might change in the next 6 months? 1 year? 5 years?
I did this exercise last week – I listed my softeners: “It’s okay most people are carrying a few extra pounds, I’m a mom” and “business owners don’t have a life”. I danced with my fears, my limiting beliefs: “If I can’t stick to a weight loss plan, then how will I ever be successful in other things I pursue” and “Starting my own business means I will be a workaholic, better to work for someone else.” If I continue this belief, I’ll likely never launch the business that I have been dreaming up. I’ll stand in the corner and miss the opportunity to meet new friends and potential mentors. I realize that I will always be working for someone else and therefore the time I spend with my children will be less. I will miss more moments, adding on those already missed: the wonder of flames before she blew out the candles, wobbly handlebars as she careened down her first hill, soaking wet clothes and endless giggles from running thru the sprinkler, a night ski by moonlight with my husband (as tears roll down my cheeks). I feel the pain, I embrace it. (The lower I feel, the higher I can rise and the more emotion I can put behind the lasting change I want to create).
But then, the fun part; imaging life without that limiting belief (past/present/future) and WOO-HOO! My heart is leaping! Exhausted as we lay in our tent and count the mosquitos outside, chilled but laughing about how we tipped the canoe, loved as our house fills with kids squeals of excitement from a powder day. The relationship with my husband has grown deeper & stronger. We have more time to serve, to give back. We are fulfilled – we dance silly – we laugh – we love completely.
Then I imagined this new life, this wonderful life, slipping away. Sinking into limiting beliefs. And now, I choose to use my pain for power. So powerful that I am sharing this journey with you. I have committed to change, leaving limitations behind and embracing my AWESOME!
We all have our emotional home, a set of emotions we are used to. The place that is most familiar – that we keep going back to no matter if it’s good for us or not. What if you barricaded just one entry to that home? What if you burnt it to the ground?
I myself find guilty pleasure, and temporary relief, in using them, ... but to what consequence? Now, imagine what would happen if you were to eliminate them from your life. Remove the language that masks the true feelings, the true pain; both physically and emotionally. And what if you could use that pain to catapult yourself forward, out of the mediocre, into something greater, bigger, better?
Maybe today, you will think a little bit differently about “Softeners.”