I saw this image below recently and loved it! I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about the rules we set for ourselves that sometimes we're not even aware of. They are very powerful and can dictate our decisions and behaviour, particularly if they remain in our unconscious.
Some of them come from childhood and some from life experiences.
I realised recently that a rule I had made for myself over the past few years was, "I am worthy and OK if I am strong".
I come from a family of strong people. My brothers and parents are all very resilient. I admire them all so much. My mother, through her illness and death, was remarkable and courageous in how she dealt with it.
I managed to hold things together (mostly) whilst Mum was ill and I was really proud of how I behaved and who I was during this time - I was my best self.
Earlier this year though, six months after mum's death, I was struggling to cope and I felt like I was failing because I wasn't able to be strong any more. I felt like I was letting myself down, that I wasn't as courageous as the rest of my family and that I wasn't being the leader I aspire to be.
Through my coaching training I learnt about the power of "generalisations", these internal rules we set ourselves. I realised that I had developed a new one for myself over the past few years which was, "I am worthy and OK if I am strong".
As soon as I became conscious of this I realised that I was putting myself under a lot of unnecessary pressure and setting an impossibly high standard for myself.
I am now trying to go with, "I am worthy and OK just as I am". It's still a bit of a battle but now that I'm aware of it I have a choice to change it.
Hence why I loved this photo - we don't have to be one thing all the time. Different things can co-exist within us and we are OK as we are. So I can be strong AND fragile and vulnerable. I can be independent AND need support.
That's why coaching is such a powerful process as it can enable reflection and unearth some of these things we are not aware of that drive our decisions and behaviour.
Awareness brings choice rather than just being on autopilot.
What generalisations might you have lurking in your unconscious? What rules have you set for yourself that it might benefit you to let go of?