I have a visitor this week. Unfortunately, it’s not one I enjoy – an old injury has returned.
In 2010, I strained my sacrotuberous ligament. For those of you unfamiliar with pelvic anatomy, suffice it to say it’s a major pain in the a**.
Surprisingly, despite the pain, I have quite a few reasons to be grateful for it:
- It was my first yoga injury and taught me the functional differences between tendons, ligaments and muscles.
- It took me further down path of personal healing that’s become the focus of my teaching and business.
- It taught me to pay very, very close attention to my body’s messages.
- It led me to study with inspiring and life-changing friends and teachers like Donna Farhi and her senior teachers Lisa Petersen and Neil Goshal.
All great gifts, for sure.
But what does it want from me this time?
There’s a concept in the self-empowerment world called an “Upper Limit Problem”. (Check out Gay Hendricks’ book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level for more).
Most of us hit upper limits all the time and quickly self-sabotage to bring ourselves back down to our habitually ingrained comfort level.
- You have a breakthrough at work and then get sick.
- You meet someone you really like and then act defensively or feel insecure.
- You have a great night out with your husband and then pick a fight on the way home.
We all do it.
I hit upper limits almost every day.
Lately I’ve been ramping up my physical strength training and reached a new level of accomplishment last Monday. So it was no surprise to me that
I started having lower back pain Tuesday…
Then I was too tired for spinning class Wednesday…
Then I started over-eating Thursday…
All classic signs that I am feeling too toned, too strong, and too good about myself for my internal hall monitor.
How does this relate to my old injury?
I suspect it’s back to challenge me to create new beliefs about myself – to embrace a new definition of myself as a strong, capable woman.
Luckily this time around, I have the tools to do just that.
Here are some steps I’m using to up-level my tolerance for feeling good that you can use to tackle your own upper limits too:
1. Name It.
Is this feeling/symptom an upper limit issue or something else? Ask yourself this question and listen for the answer, so you can start to identify what’s really going on.
Try journaling, meditating, walking, swimming – whatever method works best for you to receive inner guidance.
2. Love Yourself Relentlessly.
Treat yourself better than you ever have before. Nap, sauna & steam bath, take long walks, read just for fun, eat healthily, wake up 5 minutes early to enjoy the cup of tea you never make time for, or call up a friend who makes you laugh.
Acknowledge your fear of being less than, of growing and becoming more deeply you, and then overwhelm it with self-love and acceptance.
3. Dig Deep & Pay Attention.
This applies to all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. Physically, take extra care and stay present in your body as you move. Try holding back a bit while you work through the emotional and mental stuff.
Mentally and emotionally, give yourself the space and time for realizations to surface. Ask yourself – what benefits do you get from staying below your current limit? Aim to list out 25-30 reasons on paper; the more reasons you uncover, the deeper and more eye opening they’ll be.
Once you have your list, pay attention to which of your actions, words, and behaviors reinforce your self-imposed limit. You can’t choose a new pattern and belief without clearly seeing the old one first. If it feels like you’re holding yourself back in every way, forgive yourself and revisit #2 – love yourself relentlessly.
4. Tap It Out.
Try using a tool like tapping – Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – to re-pattern the body’s habitual responses and release the belief.
If you’re not familiar with EFT, check out the upcoming tapping world summit.
5. Bring In the Big Guns.
Email the wisest friend / teacher / therapist / body worker you know and schedule a time to chat.
None of us got to this point without the influence of others and we can’t get out of it without new, positive influences either.
Like Albert Einstein said, insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So find someone to support the changes you’re making and get to it!
These steps will help you increase your tolerance for feeling good. It might take a while and maybe the ceiling will only bump up a bit at first, but every bit counts when it comes to our happiness and success.
What problem in your life might actually be an upper limit? What can you do today to allow for more happiness in your life?