Mindset Training Week 26: Security
When I was a little girl, I’d throw my arms up into the air and exclaim “Carry me, Daddy!” My father would pick me up and throw me over his shoulder. I’d giggle uncontrollably as he carried me up the stairs and tuck me safely under my covers. It was our daily routine.
My father was so loving to me when I was a little girl. I would sit on his lap on the orange paisley chair in the living room for our weekly daddy-daughter interviews, telling him what activity I did that day and if I got along with my siblings, always finishing with a prayer asking God to bless each one of my family members. He played with me often, holding a wooden bar for me to do pull-ups on. I even won the pull-up contest in kindergarten. My father would scribble down everything I said until I was old enough to write it out myself, teaching me the importance of journaling and documenting my life. I knew I was loved.
One day, I reached up and asked my dad to carry me and he told me no. I was too big to carry. No longer his tiny princess he could hold in his arms, I was growing into a young lady with attitudes and opinions of her own.
After that, there was an emotional disconnect between us. His own relationship with his father had lacked emotional connection or verbal affirmation—it was limited to material support, the teaching of hard work, and punitive action after wrongdoing. As I grew older, he began parenting me in the same way, communicating less and less with me. When his impatience or frustration were triggered, he would shout, his voice carrying three stories and reverberating through the big house. When he disciplined me, all I heard was criticism: I could never do anything right, I was the source of his short temper. I was not enough.
He provided for my every need, but material things were never what I wanted. I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to feel loved. I wanted him to be proud of me.
I began to put up walls with my father.
The tension between us accumulated, and I found ways to never be home. By the time I was an adult, I wanted nothing to do with Mormonism and nothing to do with him. I formed my own flinty opinions, calling him out whenever he made a comment I didn’t agree with. He put up walls with me.
When I left home, he took to sending me long letters about my unhealthy behaviors. Once he compared me to Jonah being swallowed by the whale. Another time he told me I was drowning in the ocean and rejecting all rescue boats. Each letter triggered me into a drinking binge.
The hard truth, the one I could not admit to myself until much later, is that he was right. He was offering me a lifeline, but I only felt victimized by intense criticism.
Even still, I craved his love. I longed for the type of closeness with him I’d once had, helpless to bridge the gap that had filled with so much animosity. We talked on the phone sometimes. Our conversations were infrequent, short, and consisted of small talk. It usually seemed as though he wanted to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Our relationship stagnated in this shallow pool for years, the bonds between us dull and atrophied. And yet, I was grateful for any connection with him.
Fast forward to 2020. Pandemic fear and strife permeated every conversation with everyone I knew, about every minuscule part of our lives, and my own business was barely surviving. Predictably, my father and I got in a fight about the government and the virus. It wasn’t unique. The same argument blazed holes in families and friendships across the nation.
I thought I was being reasonable. He thought I wasn’t. As the tension mounted, I paused and asked, “Where is your anger coming from?”
My father had hung up on me.
Shortly after, a text came through. An apology for hanging up, and an “agree to disagree.”
All at once I felt submerged, weighed down by grief at the loss of our relationship. I could never be what he wanted.
Since avoidance was the typical approach to conflict in my family, I knew I had to be the one to open the conversation. I sent off an email, trying to describe the chasm between what I needed and what I was receiving. I wanted his presence in my life. But instead of feeling supported, I had always felt judged and criticized. I told him I wanted his love, not his money.
He wrote back, “What do you expect?” I was the one who had distanced myself from him, he said, by leaving the LDS faith, not getting married in the temple, and disregarding everything he had taught me. I caught his meaning: without a return to the LDS faith, a husband, and a passel of kids in tow, any success in my life would not be enough for my father.
Reading the words, I sensed anger toward me. Underneath that anger, I sensed pain. Instead of meeting anger with anger, I offered a simple request for forgiveness: for any hurt I caused him and for any disrespect. Two lines came back. “Well said.”
Still overpowered by grief, I got on my cushion. I sat in meditation and contemplated what I wanted. All relationships, I reminded myself, require letting go of expectations—including the expectation of love. I already knew the source of love came from within. So, what was it? Why did I continually try to get something from him that I was never going to get? Why was I feeling so angry? The very same question I’d asked him.
Amanda, where is your anger coming from?
I introspected on the anger I was feeling, and who it was associated with.
I saw the faces of other men who had hurt me.
I felt anger and pain around my father merging with these other hurts.
I was gripping onto more wrath than I realized. I was, in fact, holding resentment for the entire male population, because of the ones who’d hurt me. The neighbor who molested me. The cheating husband. The abusive boyfriend. The judgmental elders.
I began to write down each and every reason I was feeling hostility toward men. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Memories arose in a torrent, of all the times men had treated me as less than a full person. Underneath the anger was a feeling of worthlessness. I purged the self sabotaging emotions out of the body and onto the pages before me.
Anger had left me helpless. It was poisoning me, crippling my ability to receive and give love. The bitterness I had collected over my lifetime was blocking me from being open to a partner and family, and showing up as complete avoidance of relationships or attachment to unavailable partners. I had allowed negative experiences of the past define my worth. Letting go was the way forward.
With a humble spirit, I knelt and asked God for help. How do I free myself of this anger I’m carrying?
I heard a prompting to dig out the letters from my father, and pulled out my box of keepsakes. I plucked out and stacked the ones from my father, eight of them. Each about three pages typed and single spaced, bearing the seal of my father’s law practice. My stomach knotted, my heart closed, and anger filled the mind, an echo of how I’d felt receiving them those many years ago. You will never be enough. I had only ever scanned them quickly before stashing away the pain in the box and saying to myself, “I’ll get back to them eventually.”
That time was now. I sat down and read them all word for word.
How different it was, reading the letters again through the clearer glass of time. I began to see through the religious diatribe and lecturing tone—that was all merely a discoloration. The truth was that he cared for me and worried about me. My father, in fact, had been trying to do what his own father had never done: communicate with his child. Offer his help. I’d been incapable of perceiving this at the time, because it was not the help I thought I needed.
I opened the last letter and read:
You are very special to us, and you always increase the energy level here at the house. I hope you are aware that you are in our prayers, and we worry about you and your life’s direction. I have always had a problem communicating emotions and feelings. When I’m around you kids, I am always wishing I was better at sharing with you the principles for a happy life. I love you and want the best for you. The Lord didn’t make you the way he did unless he had something special for you to do.
Love you, Dad
The realizations began to unfold at last. I had always wanted him to accept me the way I was, but I never offered him the same. He was not perfect, but neither was I. How selfish I had been in only seeing what he did wrong. He had devoted his life to my well-being and loved me more than anyone else on earth.
I let unconditional love fill my heart. I released the anger I was holding for my father. In that moment, I forgave my father, and I forgave myself.
I concluded my meditation session by affirming my infinite worth and forgiving every man who I perceived had ever hurt me. I sent them love and wished them to be happy and free. Then, I let them go. I no longer needed to be angry at men. It was done and I was free.
My father and I may never see eye to eye—and that is okay. I love him with the entirety of my heart and accept him exactly as he is. I will be forever grateful to my father for the lessons and values he instilled in me through his example: Honesty, generosity, and most importantly how to communicate with God, the basis for my spirituality. I know that behind his emotionally distant exterior is a man of gentleness who would do anything for his daughter. And underneath that is a perfect soul. Like me, a child of God.
SECURITY IN AUTHENTICITY
Your need for safety and security is rooted in your developmental years, through the relationship with your parents or caretakers. If you didn’t receive what you needed from them in some way, you may still be grasping for security from a source outside of you. Increase your sense of security through discovering your authenticity.
Authenticity means ignoring the expectations of others and making your own way. It means embodying a life that suits you, not trying to squeeze into one that’s not a good fit, like a pair of too-small jeans.
In my childhood world, a woman was meant to find her value in being a dutiful wife to her husband and mother to her children. Joyfully cooking, cleaning, and wiping snotty noses. For years I diligently worked to fit into that box, but I kept busting through the edges. I’m not righteous enough, I thought. I let sorrow cloud my view of the cornucopia of possibilities laid out before me.
While my upbringing was the extreme end of the spectrum, and many things are different now than they once were, women are still encouraged to be dependent upon men—for love, if not for a place to live and second paycheck. Even in a “girl power” world where more and more women are celebrated for their independence, girls are still told through movies, articles, and books that being unpartnered is somehow tragic, incomplete. That romantic love is the only thing that will make you feel whole. Believing this story, consciously and unconsciously, kept me feeling small.
But there is a limitless well of possibilities for someone like me to find purpose and value. I trust that as I work diligently on living authentically, if a partner is meant for me, they will be magnetized toward me and I toward them. I reason with myself that in my past life, I had an annoying husband and a lot of children who ran me into the ground. And perhaps, at the end of this past life, I pleaded with God to give me some peace in the next. This thought makes me laugh, and makes me grateful for the independence and freedom only an unpartnered life can give.
When you’re unconsciously waiting for others to say “I love you,” you become dependent on them for validation of security. This gives away your power and your ability to stand on your own. When you cannot say you love yourself, you keep telling the story in your subconscious that you’re unlovable, and in turn announce to the world that you’re not worthy of love.
You are lovable and worthy of love. You are love. Love every cell in your gorgeous body. Love for Self is not ego-driven vanity, it is at your soul level—your unbounded, perfect Self. Love for yourself is your power and the foundation for security. Write “I love myself” down and post it on your mirror where you’ll see it each time you look at your perfect face. Tell yourself every day what you want or are waiting to hear from others: “I free myself of self-hating thoughts. I unconditionally love myself. I offer love and I receive love. I am worthy of love. Love is the true nature of my being.”
PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH
Do you ever feel like everyone around you is out having fun while you’re stuck at home doing the laundry? Or you’re doing things for other people so often that you’re not caring for your own needs? You pile on task after task, and soon you’re an overwhelmed and strung-out mess. Just because you can do everything, or because people expect that of you, doesn’t mean you should. There is no nobility in wasting away while everyone thrives around you. It sends the message that everyone around you is more valuable that you are. Instead of sacrificing yourself for everyone else, take care of yourself first so that you can better care for others and teach the value of self-reliance. Prioritize your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. When you’re secure in all areas of health, you’ll feel secure in your life.
LEAD YOUR LIFE WITH EFFICIENCY
Increase your security by being an efficient leader in your life. Use the capable hands of those around you. Ask for help. Are there tasks that you can hire someone to do faster than you can? Use your time to do what you’re good at and employ someone else to do the rest. A secure life means managing your time well in order to focus on tasks centered around your growth. Show leadership by accentuating your greatness and the greatness of those around you.
CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS
In a world inundated by media, advertising, and politics, the mind can get duped. You think your thoughts are your own, but they’re actually being influenced by factors outside of you. Throughout this program, you’ve been training the mind to be aware of thoughts and how to use them for self-improvement. Continue evolving the mind by becoming conscious about what influences thought. Be secure in the fact that you don’t and can’t know everything. Instead of needing to be right, be curious. Explore new ideas, learn new things, consider that you could be wrong. Question the systems, authorities, and conditioning you’re unconsciously dependent on, and commit to only speaking positively about others. Make decisions based upon your highest consciousness instead of what you’ve been programmed to think. Rewrite any negative programming and untrue stories through positive affirmations and being open to new experiences.
Be honest: Did you run out of toilet paper during the pandemic? Next time, have a plan in place for when the unexpected happens. If you needed to survive at home for 3 days without power, what would you need? Food, water, flashlights, cash, batteries—and toilet paper, of course. What are other ways you can prepare for emergencies? When you go on a road trip do you have a roadside emergency kit, blankets, and first aid kit just in case? Do you have a savings account? You don’t want to walk around afraid of the next disaster, but you also don’t want to put your head in the sand. Preparing for the unexpected, both physical and emotional, is a way to face your fears and build security amid the unknown.
EMBRACE YOUR WEIRDNESS
Have you ever limited yourself because you’re afraid people will think you’re weird? If you shrink based upon the opinions of others, the world will miss out on your unique gifts and you’ll miss out on discovering your authentic self. Your weirdness is your magic. Believe me, I have tried some weird things. You’ve read this book to this point; you know that me humiliating myself in public is nothing new. But all those embarrassing mishaps gave me a sense of security through the realization that they were not life-ending after all—not even close! I faced the fear of humiliation and survived. My dorky gaffes gave me the courage to be vulnerable enough to write this book, speak in front of people, and talk in front of a camera. Now I always know what to tell myself when I’m nervous: “Don’t worry. If you make a mistake this still won’t be the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done.”
Explore your creativity and interests. Do the very thing that scares you. The skillset you develop will bring solutions to life’s challenges and give you individualized value in your family and community, increasing your security. Don’t hide your weirdness. Accentuate it! The weirder, the better.
Meditation strengthens your sense of security by connecting you deeply with the vibrations of Love from within. It ignites your inner power, reassuring you that you’re strong enough to stand on your own.
ON-CUSHION: 26-MINUTE MEDITATION
Meditate first thing in the morning and just before bed. Begin your meditation practice by repeating a statement of intention and liberation. Filter the truth of the words through your heart and mind. I am enough. I am free to live authentically in this body-bound vehicle. My path and my purpose are deeply rooted in Mother Earth. Love and support rises from the core of the earth, instilling security from within.
10-MINUTE EMOM + 16 MINUTES OF STILLNESS
- Set timer for 26 minutes with 10 one-minute increment bells.
- Sit with your spine in neutral, shoulders over hips, ears over shoulders.
- Close the eyes and focus gently at the third eye point between the eyebrows.
- As you breathe in, imagine a golden light entering your chest and exiting through the back of your heart.
- As you breathe out, imagine the light entering the back of your head at the point where the skull meets the spine, then exiting through the third eye point.
Minute 0:00 to 10:00 (five rounds)
- Circulate energy from the heart to the mind as you inhale and exhale.
- Inhale: Silently repeat “Heart.”
- Exhale: Silently repeat “Mind.”
- Retain breath.
- Concentrate at the third eye point between the eyebrows.
- Silently repeat “Love.”
Minute 10:00 to 26:00
- Sit in silence for 16 minutes.
- Circulate the breath.
- Forget the body. Dissolve into energy.
- Silently repeat “Om.”
Notice the feeling of self-love awakened from meditation. Affirm I am worthy of love.
OFF-CUSHION: YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Authenticity based on security is a mindset. Being mindful of self means recognizing when you’re at peace and in flow with your tasks versus when you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Notice when you’re trying to do too much, and ask for help or scale back. Find your home base by repeating “I am safe. I am secure.” Offer gratitude when someone sees your burdens and offers to help you. Notice when others are struggling and support them with your words and actions. No one is meant to do everything on their own.
Complete introspection questions and Chapter 26 exercise from your TMHH Workbook.
Train the Mind, Heal the Heart
Photo Lincoln Brigham
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