If you’re feeling lost, stuck, or unsure of why you’ve ended up wasting your time doing things you don’t want to do and feeling unfulfilled in life as a result…
…you are not alone.
Most people run into this issue. Way too many of us are caught working jobs we hate in order to survive. Or maybe you’re stuck in a toxic relationship and don’t see a way out.
You’ve probably sensed that there is more for you. You want to love your life and feel excited about what you have to offer the world. You want to experience a healthy relationship where you feel safe and loved and able to create that same nourishing container for your partner.
But how do you get there?
How do you create a life where you feel connected to who you really are and your purpose?
Being a human is tough, and you may have found yourself living a life that doesn’t feel like your own. Like you were forced into a certain situation or felt like you were never really in control. And if we are free to make our own choices, why do we feel so trapped? Why don’t our choices leave us feeling connected and empowered to live the life we always dreamed of?
It may come down to whether or not we are actually using our Free Will, or we just think we are.
Are You Exercising Your Free Will?
The truth is, you may not be using your free will as much as you’d like to think you do!
Most people think this is a no-brainer: we all make many voluntary conscious choices every day. Some really bad choices may even land you in jail or worse. But it’s always your choice – your free will, right?
Society is structured around this very idea of free will.
Supposedly, humans only ever do anything because we either want to or we’re forced to.
But we can’t actually choose what we don’t want or desire. If it seems like we have chosen something that we don’t want, it’s only because we want something else more.
As long as we are living on ego autopilot, all our life experiences made no other choice possible than the ones we have chosen.
That means we don’t always act with free will.
Hear me out.
If our ego is comprised of patterns that have formed due to our life experiences, it follows that certain things will play out according to the ego’s unconscious beliefs.
We are slaves to our coping mechanisms and automatic reactive patterns of thinking, believing, feeling, and behaving.
No “free will” to be found there.
UNLESS we become aware.
UNLESS we wake up from the ego and realize that we don’t have to act from those ingrained patterns.
Only then can we consciously exercise our own free will.
We can reprogram our brains to form new, healthier beliefs that will better serve us so that we can make informed choices and take care of ourselves. Even if we can’t make the choices we would prefer, we will be looking at our choices and our lives from a grounded and level-headed perspective.
It seems that most everyone is doing the best they can with the information they have at the moment. If “I” was born in someone else’s body, I’d be them and therefore, make the same decisions. Because the “I” is only a collection of beliefs and patterns formed through a specific human experience.
That is how the ego develops.
Take the experience of being born in a slum to a widowed mother with 3 other kids. That person will look at life very differently than someone born in Malibu with parents that have millions of dollars and a mansion. Different choices will be available. We are all prisoners to our body-minds until we learn how to free ourselves by becoming aware so that we can act from our free will or higher consciousness. Our higher consciousness is what Christians would call “God’s will.”
We only have a Choice or Free Will when we become aware of our patterns and come into the present moment. When we are fully conscious then we can actually make a choice. Otherwise, we are just running on the autopilot of the subconscious mind, trauma responses, and conditioned false beliefs.
This is not your fault. This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. It only means you are human.
But, of course, we all want to be free and to feel peace.
So how do we become conscious so that we can actually use our free will and stop letting our monkey mind run our lives?
There are 4 steps to help us reprogram! Recognize, Identify, Flip, and Act.
1. We have to RECOGNIZE when we are caught in a pattern or cycle.
When you feel anxiety, depression, boredom, insecurity, or anger, recognize it. Name it. Feel the sensations in your body. Don’t try to repress, deny or escape it. Are these feelings familiar? Do you find yourself feeling certain emotions more than others? What’s the pattern? Do specific types of situations come up in your life repeatedly? What types of people are involved in them? What are the specific thoughts and feelings you are having that are attached to these situations? Be in the moment and observe. Stay with the feeling and give it your full attention. What is it trying to tell you? It will start to dissipate once you have put all your focus on it and released resistance to it. When we surrender to our emotions we learn lessons hidden in the body.
If you have a hard time feeling your emotions or naming them, I recommend writing down a few words to describe the sensation in your body and the feeling every time you do recognize something coming up. Practice!
2. Next we need to IDENTIFY the false beliefs that are fueling these patterns.
What is the story you are telling yourself about these emotions? Are you blaming yourself or others? Are you constantly finding yourself drawn to certain types of people that make you feel the same way you felt as a child? Are you labeling yourself as the victim? Are you setting up limits for yourself? Do you find comfort in clinging to certain emotions, thoughts, and beliefs?
When you recognize and name your emotions, identify the thoughts and deeply ingrained beliefs that are keeping you in this cycle. I’ll write more about this in detail in a future post.
Now comes the reprogramming part! There are 2 essential steps to reprogramming your brain and changing your reality and behavior.
3. First, we FLIP those beliefs into something that is closer to the truth.
Turn the belief around. If you found that one of your false beliefs is “I’m not good enough,” then make it “I am enough,” or “I am worthy.”
Don’t force yourself to write a positive if that’s not what you feel authentically yet. Go for neutral. For example, if you struggle with shame and feel like something is “wrong” with you, don’t jump straight to “I’m so perfect in every way!” Your ego will fight that statement. Instead, start by saying something like “I’m learning about all the great qualities in myself that I have overlooked.”
Write your old beliefs down on one side of a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle and write the flipped neutral and truthful belief on the other side. Cross out the old one and repeat the new one as much as possible. You can write your new beliefs on post-it notes and put them all over your house or keep them on a poster in your bedroom. Set a timer on your phone throughout the day with a special message.
4. ACT accordingly. We reprogram our subconscious mind by practicing our new beliefs.
Reprogramming is more than just repeating affirmations. Now it’s time to make NEW choices. This will reinforce the new beliefs and actually give the subconscious evidence to support its new growing identity. Because we have to actually change our idea of who we are.
We are building a new person.
Who do you want to be?
That’s it! Recognize and surrender to your emotions, identify the story or thought patterns and beliefs that are attached to those emotions, flip the beliefs around into something you would like to use as a stepping stone to your new programming, and then act according to that new program!
Boom! You’re creating a new you!
Remember to celebrate every time you become aware of your unconscious behavior. That’s the moment when you can tap into your free will, your higher consciousness, unconditional love, god, source, or whatever you like to call it.
It’s all your Choice.