A combination of recent life experiences and studying a life coaching course have brought home for me the power of metaphors and how much influence they have in our lives.
It hadn’t occurred to me how much I could be limited by – or indeed empowered by – the deep rooted impact a metaphor can have. Buried in your subconscious, its meaning takes on a significance that can seriously affect how you handle life’s challenge.
For example, one of my deep rooted beliefs had been that “pride comes before a fall” – something I picked up as a child. But though it might have a value in teaching against vanity, what it meant for me was that if I ever took any pleasure out of an achievement, then something bad would happen to me. Ergo, I have always found it difficult to take an joy in anything I’ve achieved. The problem is, if we believe a metaphor enough, it can become literal. By turning a metaphor around, you can have a profound impact on how you feel about your life and how you handle situations.
I now think of the feeling of pride as proof of a job well done.
You might have been told that you were “too big for your boots” at some point, which might result in you feeling that being who you are and reaching your full potential would mean that you would not “fit”. A new way to see that, might be that you have the chance to try on some new shoes! Or you might believe you are “at the end of your tether”, in which case, see the tether as a rope that can help you climb out of whatever situation you are in.
It might be a useful exercise for you to listen to your own thoughts or expressions as you go through your daily life – and perhaps identify the ones that make you feel unhappy, or limit you. Write them down. Tale a good hard look at them and then find a way to take the negative and turn it into a positive. Then the next time that same metaphor comes into your mind, actively change it to the positive expression. You might be surprised by how much it can change your attitude and how you feel.
And if you have a metaphor you recognise now that you would like to change – share it in the comments below – it might help others to identify and deal with it too!
One of the things that has struck me in the last few years, is how nature gives us the most amazing metaphors – positive, beautiful, life affirming examples that creation offers us naturally to learn from. I’m going to share some of them in the posts that will follow – including one of the most powerful and amazing experiences I was lucky enough to have last year when I saw a full circle rainbow. Hopefully they will inspire and help you as much as they have me.