Whether they’re shaped by our society, the media or past experiences, the limiting stories we spin and the tales we tell ourselves can rule our lives and shift our focus from what’s really important. They can sap our joy and keep us asleep to life’s beautiful moments.
They can negatively affect our relationships. And they can leave us clinging to external reinforcers and mistakenly assuming that our lives are all wrong (or wrong in one area, which still becomes all-consuming).
In her book, Love Has Wings: Free Yourself from Limiting Beliefs and Fall in Love with Life, author and spiritual teacher Isha Judd helps readers destroy some of the most common illusions that hinder our lives.
According to Judd, while the word “destruction” has a negative connotation, it actually welcomes wisdom and strips away the white noise that distracts us from just being and enjoying life.
Below are two common illusions from Judd’s book, along with how you can empower yourself by destroying them and shifting your perspective.
1. Being a victim.
According to Judd, “Ultimately there are two attitudes we can take in life: the attitude of a victim and that of a creator.” We become victims when we have a rigid idea of how things should be, what they should look like.
We become victims when we yearn for others’ approval and act accordingly. We also become victims when we focus on what’s missing, complain about our lives and don’t take responsibility for our actions.
If you feel like a victim in any area of your life, Judd encourages you to feel the sadness, anger and resentment that this might bring up and to embrace it. Releasing these emotions helps you get past your perspective of victimhood and move on.
But the ultimate cure is to start seeing yourself as a creator. According to Judd, creators don’t criticize or complain, but they “praise their creations… live in appreciation… embrace whatever comes their way…” and focus on and savor the present.
So what does this really look like? Take the example of recognition. Here’s how Judd describes the differences between a victim approach and a creator approach.
Victim approach: “I need to be recognized; I need your approval. If you don’t approve, you invalidate me. I cannot value myself if you do not praise me.”
Creator approach: “I value myself; the integrity of my actions is what makes me fulfilled. If I experience external disagreement, I go inward to see how it makes me feel, to become aware of that within myself. My sense of self-worth is based on my internal experience of consciousness, which does not depend on the shifting opinions of those around me.”
Judd suggests readers figure out where they feel powerless or victimized and then figure out how to shift perspective and take action in order to become creators. “A creator determines who she will become, while a victim waits to see what transpires,” Judd writes.
She also suggests focusing and enjoying every moment without turning to the past. If worries strike, “just look up at the sky and laugh at yourself. Think, ‘Oops, I’m doing it again!’ and bring yourself back into the present.”
2. Being in control.
Many of us keep a tight grip on life. As Judd writes, we believe that “If I try hard enough, I can take control of my world…” But clinging to control only leaves us frustrated and disappointed: Life is unpredictable.
A better approach is to learn to go with the flow. To illustrate how relinquishing control is more helpful, Judd tells the story of her hawk, Sat, who she’s raised and trained. As Sat was about to return to Judd’s glove for food, there was a strong wind that separated them. Instead of fighting the wind, which pulled Sat in the opposite direction, she just went with it.
“She never lost sight of her goal, but she wasn’t attached to how she was going to get there. She was willing to flow. She soared majestically with the current, riding the ever-shifting breeze. She waited calmly for the wind to change, and when it did, she returned to me and claimed her prize.”
Judd also provides the following suggestions for relinquishing control in different situations: If you try to control your partner out of fear, not love, just let them be. Focus on yourself instead and appreciate your partner’s uniqueness.
If you try to micromanage your schedule and get stressed when things don’t go your way, remember that “Efficiency comes from being able to flow, not from rigidly bashing your head against a wall that refuses to budge.”
And while it’s important to set goals and work toward them, it’s also crucial to let go of stringent and intricate expectations. They can keep you stuck in negativity and frustration.
According to Judd, the above illusions “cloud our view of ourselves and the world.” By destroying them, we’re able to awaken and empower ourselves.
Learn more about Isha Judd at her website.