Have you tried all sorts of ‘formulas’ in order to live a fulfilled, successful, optimistic, positive, and happy life?
Are you a die-hard optimist?
The ‘sound bite’ goes something like this: “Think positive thoughts and you’ll experience a positive outcome.” We believe that if we think only good, high vibration, positive thoughts, we’ll always experience only good, high vibration, positive outcomes. And if we aren’t manifesting what our heart desires, we get discouraged or think there’s something wrong with us and that we aren’t doing things the right way.
We’re taught that our thoughts create our reality. We’re trained that if we simply think ‘positive’ then we’ll have a good outcome or experience. What if this isn’t exactly 100% true?
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE New Thought principles and ideas. It is the path of my life. However, there’s more to it than just positive thinking.
For one thing, only thinking positive can help us avoid dealing with core issues and feelings. Feelings of unworthiness, abandonment, rejection (or fill in your own issue you want to avoid talking about or thinking about at all costs) often get covered over and never healed because we pile a ton of affirmations into our day.
For years, I resisted ‘sinking into my heart’ during deep meditations or healing sessions. I was convinced that inside I wasn’t ‘love and light’ but ‘darkness.’ I had a lot of fear about discovering the real me and worried that if I did discover the real me (dark, phony, impostor, flawed, and unworthy), I’d get stuck there and never be able to pull myself out.
So I put on a happy face and followed the positive thinking formula. I fooled myself (or maybe not). I fooled others (or maybe not). And I told myself the story that this was the path to authentic, fulfilled, and joyful living.
Except I was never quite fulfilled. Or happy. Or joyful. And this pretending to be fulfilled, happy, and joyful only cemented the belief that I was filled with darkness inside. Because, after all, I was following the formula but wasn’t getting the life-transforming results I was looking for.
Maybe it’s about the story we’ve been told.
In the masculine model of the hero’s journey, our hero is facing a life challenge. He goes through an experience that creates tension and disruption in his life. Then, after experiencing much suspense, temptation, and friction, our hero experiences a climatic “show down” of sorts. He then dies to his old identity and is reborn into his new identity.
Our self-help industry is full of leaders who tout this formula. They’ve had their hero’s journey and say, “If I can do it, you can do it, too!” As a matter of fact, I’ve said the exact same thing myself.
But what if we don’t experience the transformation we desire as an outcome of our hero’s (heroine’s) journey? Are we failures? Did we do it wrong? Of course not.
You are not a formula.
Here’s an alternative way to tell the story from the feminine point of view. The feminine model teaches us that life has challenges and cycles. There’s always birth, death, and messy stuff in between. Our life is cyclical and those cycles involve sacrifice, learning, growth, blood, expansion, aging, and retreat and we often have to revisit these cycles again and again as we up-level on the spiral of our lives.
The feminine model of storytelling is a spiral. The masculine model of storytelling is simply one slice of the feminine spiral.
The feminine model isn’t about fighting, slaughtering, or defeating our monsters and dragons once and being transformed forever. And it isn’t about fighting, slaughtering, or defeating our monsters and dragons at each and every spiral in our cycle, either. The feminine model is about resiliency, holding on for the long-haul, and making peace with the monsters and dragons because you know you’re going to have to meet them (again and again).
When we are resilient, we’re able to use the twists and turns of our stories as a springboard for growth and expansion. And this helps us to use change as a way to grow our influence and be better able to not only take care of ourselves, but to also take care of the world.
In the feminine model, we are not conquering, we are sustaining. We are not screwed up, broken, stuck, blocked, unworthy, or insignificant.
When we can see our personal story as a spiral that allows us to fulfill our soul’s purpose and longing and that we are unique, vital, and irreplaceable, then no formula is needed. There is no getting it ‘wrong’.
My goal is to stay flexible, resilient, and lean into change. My goal is to listen more to my inner guidance and less to my monsters and dragons. My goal is to follow the course of each day with the expectation that, in the end, my life has meaning and purpose and that, in hindsight, I’ll see the lessons, experiences, and adventures I’ve had through wise, experienced eyes.
I hope you’ll join me.
If you need help or guidance exploring your own spiral or your own story, let's chat. If the formula you've been using hasn't been working exactly the way you wanted it to, I can help.
Say 'YES' to yourself by following your own path
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.