4. There Will Be Family Drama
After spending many years as a family therapist, I’ve seen how people often become stuck in their habituated modes of thinking because they fear the criticism that could result if they change.
And I receive so many phone calls on my weekly radio show (on HayHouseRadio.com®) from individuals who insist on remaining stuck because of this excuse. When I encourage a shift in thinking, I regularly hear things like, “I’d love to try what you suggest, but it would kill my parents,” or “My family would disown me if I did that! It’s too big a price to pay.” I’ve heard more than a few admit that if their spouse died, it would be an easier solution than making changes!
Now let me be very clear here: I believe in family. I have eight beautiful children, a mother in her 90s whom I adore, and two brothers whom I love dearly; and I treasure my immediate and extended families. However – and this is a crucial point – living a life of your own choosing involves the unquestionable willingness to endure the slings and arrows that could come your way when you respond to your inner knowing rather than to the opinions of your family.
Samuel Butler was probably feeling something similar when, toward the end of his life in 1902, he wrote: “I believe more unhappiness comes from this source than from any other – I mean the attempt to prolong family connection unduly, and to make people hang together artificially who would never naturally do so.”
You don’t belong to your immediate family; you’re a member of the human family. You don’t own your children, nor are you a possession of your parents. You’re not obliged to fulfill the wishes or a destiny dictated by kin.
It’s important to consciously know that you’re here to create your music, and that you don’t have to die with your music still in you. Granted, this can trigger some family drama, but then again, that might just be your excuse for not following your own path. It’s been my experience that I earn far more respect than reproach from my family whenever I encourage myself to live the life I want.
To that end, these types of excuses need to disappear: “I can’t disappoint my grandparents or my parents. Why should I be the only one rebelling and wanting to move out of town? Or take up a new occupation? Or marry outside of our faith [or whatever else may incur disapproval and censure from relatives]?”
These are thoughts or memes based on fears that were originally internalized in childhood, when they seemed the only way to secure a place in your “tribe.” Yet what were reasons to the child you were then need to be recognized as excuses by the adult you are today.
Don’t let fear of family dramas keep you from changing outmoded, unnecessary, and unwanted thought patterns.
5. I Don’t Deserve It
In Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Gloria Steinem writes that “self-esteem isn’t everything; it’s just that there’s nothing without it.” I believe that lack of self-esteem is the basis for the “I don’t deserve it” excuse. I hear it in sentences such as these:
“Nothing seems to work for me,” “I try, but nothing ever comes my way . . . I must not be worthy of it,” and “Other people can get ahead, but I guess I’m not good enough to succeed.”
These excuses are based on a belief in the validity of your unworthiness. It’s as if a part of you wants to protect you from (what’s assumed to be) the unbearable pain of feeling that maybe they’re right, and I don’t deserve it.
If you ask that part of you why it’s doing this, it will have good reasons. But those reasons are, in effect, lies, and functioning by their edict means that you’re living a lie. You don’t earn worthiness – you’re equally as deserving of all that this glorious world offers as anyone else is.
Believing that you’re not good enough to have unlimited happiness, success, and health is a colossal fabrication that bears no resemblance to the truth of your life today. It keeps you discouraged, with a well-intentioned excuse to protect you from taking action. But it isn’t protecting you; it’s preventing you from becoming conscious of your unquestionable worthiness. In the presence of now, this excuse has no place in your life.
6. It’s Not My Nature
The sentences cropping up in this category sound something like this: “I’ve always been this way; I can’t help it,” “I was born with these personality traits,” “I’ve never known any other way to think,” and “Yep, it’s my nature, so I’ll have to accept it.”
Earlier in this book, I explained my understanding of new research demonstrating that your genetic and memetic heredities are capable of being altered. If you’re willing to consciously endeavor to change the beliefs that support what you call your nature, you’ll discover that the “it’s not my nature” excuse is gone.
I firmly believe that your intrinsic self is well equipped to help you fulfill your unique destiny. Just because you have no recollection of ever having been other than you are today, this isn’t proof that your nature is unchangeable.
To once again quote Henry David Thoreau: “It is surprising how much room there is in nature, if a man will follow his proper path.” I take this to mean that nature itself will shift to accommodate you when you begin to know your unquestionable ability to elevate your life. Incorporate Thoreau’s advice and begin to follow your own path. Recognize excuse logic that sounds like this: “I’ve always been this way; it’s just who I am.
I’d like to change, but how can I change my own nature? It’s all I’ve ever known, so I guess I’ll just have to stay the way I am.”
Can you see how this kind of logic keeps you stuck in a lifelong thinking habit? The very fact that you’ve been a certain way throughout your life is a perfect reason for encouraging yourself with thoughts such as: I’m fed up with being frightened, shy, poor, unhappy, used by others, condescending, fat, or out of shape.
It’s all I’ve ever known, and it stems from the way I think and the beliefs I’ve come to accept as defining my nature. If this is my nature, then I’m going to change it, beginning right now. Now these are notions that the philosopher Bertrand Russell could get behind. He wrote: “If human nature were unchangeable, as ignorant people still suppose it to be, the situation would indeed be hopeless . . . what passes as ‘human nature’ is at most one-tenth nature, the other nine-tenths being nurture.”
So whatever you believe is your nature, allow it to be nurtured the way you’d like it to be, starting with Excuses Begone! Ninetenths of your nature has been learned and adopted as a habit, and you can coax those old habits down the stairs, one step at a time.
7. I Can’t Afford It
It’s a rare day when I don’t hear some variation of this excuse, including: “I didn’t go to college because it was too expensive,” “I haven’t been able to travel because I never had the funds,” and “I couldn’t go into the business I wanted because I had to stay where I was and earn money to pay the bills.” I call this belief lame and a cop-out, yet there seems to be almost universal agreement for its existence.
You originated in a world of abundance, which you unquestionably have the ability to access. Whenever you discourage yourself with thoughts that your financial situation is preventing anything from appearing, that’s an excuse.
If you instead decide to bring abundance awareness into your consciousness, you’ll shift your thoughts from I can’t afford it to Whatever I need in the form of assistance to guide me in the direction of my life is not only available, but is on its way. You’ll then consciously watch for the necessary funding to show up, but you’ll also be reminding yourself to believe that you have the ability to use abundance to elevate your life.
Encourage yourself by realizing that you have the capacity to create a space within you that’s filled with peace and joy, an inner island of contentment that has nothing to do with money. Practice gratitude for the essentials of life, which are yours to enjoy virtually free of charge.
These include air, water, fire, the sun, and the moon; the very ground you walk on; the continuous beating of your heart; the inhaling and exhaling of your lungs; your food digesting; your eyes and ears; and so on. Be utterly grateful for all that you have naturally, which is beyond the scope of what’s “affordable.” As that endeavor strengthens, assess what you’d truly like to do, where you’d like to live, and what creature comforts you desire.
When I made the decision to attend college after spending four years in the military, for instance, I knew in my heart that money wasn’t going to be the thing that prevented me from reaching my goals. I understood the costs involved, and I didn’t act on my fear of shortage or what I couldn’t afford – I acted on my internal knowing that I indeed was going to attend a university.
This knowing prompted me to investigate financial assistance from the government as a veteran, open a savings account designated for tuition and books, talk with the financial-aid people at the university I was interested in, and make alternative plans to attend community college, if plan A were not to materialize.
I had a certainty inside of me that the “I can’t afford it” reasoning is an excuse that many people who aren’t considered wealthy employ as a means for exonerating themselves when they need a rationalization for why they’re stuck where they are in life.
Oscar Wilde made this wry observation in 1891: “There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else.” I’d add that such thinking includes lamenting the fact that they’ll never have money. I advise tossing out this meme, and instead rewiring thoughts to connect with what’s intended to manifest, regardless of your current financial status.
Whatever you feel is your dharma, and no matter how hard that calling seems to be pulling you, if you maintain the belief that you can’t manage to pull it off, I can assure you that you’re right. To paraphrase Henry Ford, whether you believe you can afford to do a thing or not, you’re right.
Stay tuned for part 3 – No One Will Help Me…
Available now from Hayhouse: Wayne Dyer – Excuses Begone
It will look like this: A Catalog of Some Common Excuses – Part II