“Life is like a roller coaster, live it, be happy, enjoy life.” ~Avril Lavigne
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when I need to understand a concept, a concrete example helps a lot. So, if you’re struggling to understand the concept of learning to create the life of your dreams, I hope that you’ll be able to find some connection to it through my own personal experience with a roller coaster.
It’s no joke–the first time I ever intentionally chose to change my life and recognized that I’d succeeded, I was only 9 years old–and it involved a roller coaster.
Change Your Mind, Change Your life: My Philosophy
As you may or may not be aware, I have a philosophy that has served me quite well: I believe that anyone can choose the life she wants if she does so intentionally. I believe that you bring about what you think about, that you get back what you put out there–karma, the law of attraction, the Golden Rule–call it whatever you want.
It works pretty consistently. It turns out that the way you choose to perceive any situation can and will affect the outcome.
The fact that my first memory of a conscious attempt and success at using this concept to my advantage happened before my 10th birthday is proof enough for me–but if that weren’t enough, the result was certainly a confirmation.
How the Roller Coaster Comes Into Play
So there I was, 9 years old and at Six Flags with friends–and not a care in the world–except, that is, for one thing: a horrible fear of roller coasters, upside-down rides and anything with a reputation for making one vomit.
I was so terrified of them that I felt like a big baby (remember, I was 9!), and I remember thinking: “I don’t want to feel like this. I wish I wasn’t so afraid to go on these rides…”
That day, I made a choice.
I decided that I was going to FAKE IT. (At least until I made it!)
Faking It Til You Make It: A Concrete Exanple
When I say fake it til you make it, I mean to behave AS IF what you want has already happened.
So, in the case of the roller coaster, I decided that day that I would PRETEND to love the roller coaster, and that I would pretend SO HARD that I WOULD figure out how to learn to love it.
And guess what? I totally did it–I faked it (acted happy when I wanted to scream–smiled and threw my arms up in the air while I laughed and cheered when I wanted to hold on and beg them to stop the ride.)
And then–the crazy thing.
It happened. That day. I learned to love the roller coaster, and became a bit of a junkie after awhile (the thrill of the perceived risk was kind of awesome, it turned out!!).
I mean, sure, at first, I was totally faking it. But by the end of the day, I truly GOT IT–the reason people loved roller coasters. It was not about being excited to have yourself all flipped upside-down and inside out; it was about overcoming the fear by throwing yourself into the experience.
Your Perception Defines Your Life
As a result of that momentary and seemingly insignificant thing, my 9-year-old self learned something that I’d carry with me for the rest of my life: that not only could I choose my own reaction and thus my experience, but by doing so, I could positively influence the outcome of my day and even my life.
So tell me, do you believe that you have the power to change your own life? If not, tell me why. If so, tell me about your own experiences that “proved it” for you!
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.