When we shed our old skin (or when we grow and change into a newer, “revised” person) we must be careful.
Sometimes, even though we have grown into a new body, we still have an old mind; and that old mind finds it hard to acknowledge that we have changed fundamentally.
That old mind will keep sending us a signal that we are still in our old skin, and sometimes we believe it. This is why we start to, unconsciously, do things that we used to do. We fall back into old patterns:
A woman who is overweight loses all that weight but still thinks she is fat. A writer who is terrified of criticism grows confident enough to let others read his work in progress, but is still convinced he is afraid of criticism. A blogger who used to have zero traffic to her blog, now has a dozen readers, and receives comments regularly, but she still thinks she is not a successful blogger, and that no one really cares about the posts that she writes.
Can you see how dangerous it is to let “the old mind” stay when a new body has arrived?
When the woman cannot see that she is now skinny, she will quit eating healthy and go back into her old patterns of eating unhealthy. Soon, this woman’s old mind, little by little, works to get her old body back.
When a writer is convinced he’s still afraid of criticism, he will put his work-in-progress back under lock and key after he has gotten the work back (from that reader he so courageously gave it to for feedback). Soon, this writer’s old mind, little by little, works to get his old body back.
When a blogger is convinced she is not successful, even though there is proof to the contrary, she will stop blogging, delete the blog, and abandon all her hard work, proclaiming it was of no use to her. Soon, this blogger’s old mind, little by little, works to get her old body back.
Now do you see why it is so important to beat back the echoes of your past self?
Beating Back The Echoes of Your Past Self
Shedding our old skin is not enough. We must shed the old mind that created that old skin, too, if we really want to move forward.
The best way to do this is to first become aware that our old mind is “nostalgic” for our old skin and will try, longingly, to recreate that old skin. We must tell our old mind: “No thank you. I’m happy with my new skin and, besides, that old skin wasn’t as lovely as you remembered it to be.”
Then, we must take notice of the facts. We must take notice of reality, without our mind’s internal commentary. We must take notice of the way in which we perceive things. We must take heavy notice of our progress. We must ask others to talk to us about where we were one, two, three years ago and see if they can show us how far we have come.
Do not listen to what your old mind says to you without first looking to see if there is any concrete evidence of what your old mind is saying. If the reality contradicts what your mind is telling you, then know that this is your old mind trying to get you back into your old body. What you have been hearing is not the truth, but the echoes of your past self still vibrating through your head. (It is the ghost of your old, dead skin coming back to haunt you.)
Luckily, your “old mind” is just the echo of your old self. If you do not repeat what those echoes tell you, the echo will soon die out.
In fact, if you start to echo thoughts that reflect your new self instead, this will drown out the echoes of your old self.
This ensures that you will keep growing.
Today’s Courage Exercise
Have you acquired a “new skin” but the old skin still echoes in your mind, encouraging you to return to the old ways? If this is so then, today, become aware of those old echoes. Then, create a whole new set of echoes to send through your mind: echoes that reflect your present reality, and not the ghost of your old self. This will help you easily recognize all the progress you’ve been making, and will keep you moving forward.
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