I named my confidence course “Inside Out” because it’s all about how to be truly confident, healthy, and free from the inside out – by not basing your worth on opinions of others, outward achievements or physical appearances.
But I find it’s actually a lot easier to describe what Outside In living looks like. Probably because it’s what we’re most familiar with. This is how most of us operate. It’s certainly how I used to live before I became more self reflective and discovered the true meaning of yoga.
What about you? Are you living outside in? Here are two major signs that you are;
You Have White Knuckles.
Look at your hands. Are your knuckles white?
If your life is scheduled down to the minute with no room for detours and setbacks, if your happiness depends on imperfect people behaving precisely the way you want them to, and if your self- worth relies on your ability to live up to your own unrealistic expectations with no allowance for deviations…then it’s time to loosen up that grip.
At some point you just have to decide that you don’t need to control everyone and everything. Because the truth is, you can’t. The moment you stop believing it’s actually possible is when you’ll find your freedom.
So what will happen when you loosen your grip? Well, even the best laid plans will go continue to go wrong occasionally, people will still disappoint you…or just annoy you, and you’ll disappoint and annoy yourself sometimes too. Guess what? All of that was going to happen anyway. But now you have room in your hands to hold grace, self-compassion, and a healthy sense of humor.
I’m not saying you should stop planning and paying attention to details. I’m not recommending that you have no expectations for yourself or others. All I’m saying is to hold on a little more loosely. Be a bit more flexible. If you absolutely need to control something, let it be how you respond to what happens.
You Keep Talking About a “Wagon”.
Do you often find yourself referring to a “wagon”? You know, “I’m back on the clean eating wagon today!” Or “Ugh I have completely fallen off the exercise wagon these last few weeks”. Or maybe you think in terms of “good” and “bad”. It was a good day if you worked out, a bad day if you didn’t. Most of the women I know operate from this mindset. I see it all over social media and it makes me sad.
This actually goes back to #1, it’s all about control. When we feel like we’re losing it, in any area of our life, we tend to respond by becoming even more rigid. And where do most of us start? With fitness and nutrition, of course! We figure if we can change the outside…it will make us feel better on the inside. So we start a diet. We begin a program. Our days become numbered… it’s always day number whatever with however many days to go.
Broke? In a crappy relationship? Unfulfilled at your job? Join a gym, hire a trainer, hit two classes a day, prep your meals, count your calories, track your points, do a cleanse! Skinny people are happier! You’ll care less about your jerk of a boss if you have a six pack. Your debt will seem like less of a problem when everyone is complimenting you on your weight loss. Your spouse will treat you better when you fit into that old pair of jeans.
What? It’s not working? Eh, you’re just not working hard enough. Come on! Dig deeper! Where’s your motivation? What’s wrong with you?!
This “outside in” cycle never ends. We can easily spend our entire lives jumping on and off of those wagons, starting and stopping and starting over again, without actually getting to the source of the problem.
Think about driving on a slippery road. When you start to lose control, your natural reaction is to OVER correct. But we’re taught not to do this because it can make the slide even worse and lead to a crash. Instead, we need to do the thing that is the hardest of all when we feel like we’re losing control. Nothing.
Don’t panic. Just ride it out. In fact, steer into the problem.
Of course it’s true that when you eat right and stay active you feel better, have more energy, look better, and in turn, are happier and more confident. I’m not downplaying the positive effects of healthy habits. But it’s really about the WHY behind the behavior. You can’t fix real life problems with fitness. You can’t heal hurts with clean eating. You can’t fill a void in your life with compliments from strangers on the internet.
There are a lot of really hot, really unhappy people. There are even more people striving for the ideal figure because they think it will bring them happiness. Sadly, they’ll either never achieve it or they will and that’s when they’ll realize it wasn’t the answer…
So how does one turn it around? How do you start living “inside out”? It starts with a deep level of self knowledge followed by a whole lot of self care and self compassion. But I’m not getting into all of that in this post. First, it’s important to reflect and ask yourself how you are living. If it’s from the outside in, don’t feel bad. You’re definitely in the majority. But you don’t need to stay stuck there!
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll provide a road map to Inside Out Living – a FREE resource based off of my course.