I saw this card today in WH Smith (other greetings cards retailers are available!) and just couldn’t resist either the picture or the message.
It set me wondering, when did I last experience that puppy’s exuberance and energy? What would I do differently if someone left the gate open? And just who do I think is keeping the gate shut?
None of us live in isolation, we most likely have family and friends and jobs that mean we put some constraints on what we feel we can or should be doing. But is it really other people who are holding us back? Or is that just our excuse and do we actually keep the lock firmly shut on our own gate?
So often fear of the unknown, worry about doing or behaving differently to what has become expected of us, or a sense of obligation to others can hold us back. But where do those feelings come from?
We live by rules that we have set ourselves – I mustn’t relax; I mustn’t waste time; I mustn’t say no; I mustn’t make mistakes. I must put others first; I must be the best at everything I do; I must be efficient; I must be sensible. The list of potential rules we live by goes on and on.
And sometimes these rules can be helpful, but very often they hold us back from dreaming about, let alone achieving, what we most long for. They may be rules that served us well for a time, but perhaps that time has now passed and some new rules might be more appropriate.
Changing those rules or beliefs which we have held dear and lived our lives by for so long is not easy. Often, we learned them as a child from the (probably unintentional) messages we heard from parents, from teachers, and from other important people in our lives. However, just noticing and questioning them is a good first step.
What self-defeating irrational belief do you want to challenge and maybe give up? Try asking yourself:
· What is the logic to support this belief?
· What evidence is there that this belief is the truth?
· What evidence do I have that this belief is not actually the truth?
· What are the worst things that could really happen to me if I don't behave in this way?
· What good things could I make happen if I don't behave in this way?
If you think you might want to challenge some of the rules you live by, open the gate and explore the possibilities waiting for you on the other side, contact email@example.com for a no-obligation conversation to see how coaching could help (re)awaken that exuberant puppy within.