The past couple of weeks, I’ve been offering a 40-day program to help people move to a different mindset. At the core of the program is the awareness of our thoughts and where they come from.
It’s worth asking as you go through the day: Is that my ego talking? That said, here are three common ego thoughts that can keep you stuck in fear.
“I feel so guilty.”
These feelings and thoughts are part of being human, of course. But mistakes aren’t meant to be lifelong burdens. If you allow your mind to go round and round, revisiting the same guilt feelings or regrets about the past, you’ll completely miss the gifts of life right now.
As you go through the day today, become aware any time your thoughts linger in guilt or regret.
Then ask yourself, “Is there anything I need to apologize for or any amends I need to make?” If so, take at least one step toward doing so today.
Equally important, be open to the idea that you may be carrying guilt over past mistakes that no longer matter to anyone else, or that you’ve long since been forgiven for. Be aware that the primary person who needs to forgive you is you.
To support yourself, use some variation on this prayer:
“Please heal my fear-based thoughts about my past actions and thoughts so I can forgive myself, knowing I am worthy and free to receive all the gifts of the present moment.”
What if I make a mistake?
Just think of all the ways this ego thought impacts you. It could keep you from experiencing the most significant aspects of life…falling in love, having a family, starting a business, booking a trip, buying a house…even something as simple as ordering a menu item you’ve never had before.
If we give our power to this one thought, we can end up completely paralyzed.
The fear of making a mistake may disguise itself in different ways. For instance, it may look like the fear of being judged by others (or yourself). It could be the fear of looking silly or being ashamed. Or it could look like conformity to a family code that has always governed your behavior, maybe without your knowing it.
The truth is, we all make “mistakes” and take detours. Sometimes we have to regroup and chart a new course. And sometimes we find ourselves in a delicious new place that we wouldn’t have discovered if we had listened to our fear.
As you go through your day today, become aware any time the fear of making a mistake gets in your way. Then try this:
“Please heal my fear-based thoughts about making a mistake so I can move forward with joy, knowing that every experience is working toward my good.”
What if I disappoint someone?
True story: I married my first husband out of a lot of fear—fear of being alone, of not being able to support myself…and of disappointing him.
This was not a good idea.
“What if I disappoint someone?” can cause chronic unhappiness by making us think we’re being noble or dependable…but at the cost of our own joy. It can mire us in “shoulds” and convince us that everyone else’s feelings are more important than our own.
The ego does this to make itself feel important and indispensable, but the truth is that you’re important and indispensable by being the unique and genuine child of God that you are, not by trying to please everyone around you.
Pay attention through the day and see if some form of “What if I disappoint someone?” shows up in your mind. If so, try this:
“Please heal my fear-based thoughts about disappointing others so I can focus on what brings me joy and share that with the world.”
It’s not selfish to do this. In fact, it’s the most generous thing you can do.