Are you keeping your head up or down?
I watched a film recently where a girl is being harassed and bullied by the most popular boy in school. Good-looking, bright and great at sports, everyone seems to love him, the teachers included. Apparently, he can have any girl he wants, but because this one girl is immune to his charms he decides to belittle and bully her.
One of her friends advises to just ignore him and keep her head down as the boy will soon move on to someone else. The girl questions why, when she’s done nothing wrong, should she have to do this. “I’m going to keep my head up” she says. They later go on to band together with other girls and boys at the school to take a stand against bullying and sexism – and succeed.
For me the stand-out line of the movie is, “I’m going to keep my head up”.
It made me wonder though, how many of us have kept or would likely keep our head down in a similar situation, despite knowing this isn’t the right thing to do as it simply perpetuates bullying and leads to more victims?
Staying below the parapet
I wonder if you have ever considered how often in life we opt to keep our head down, either literally or metaphorically?
We see bullying or bad behaviour in school, college or at work, yet we say nothing for fear the bully might turn on us. So we stay out of sight and keep our head below the parapet. If you’ve been in this situation yourself, you probably know that the fear of repercussions battling it out with the feeling that you’re not being true to your values causes immense cognitive dissonance inside. It can quite literally cause pain too.
It’s not only situations like these that we keep our head down. We do it when we lack confidence and self belief. We don’t put ourselves forward for a promotion, a new job or contract, a part in a play or a competition, because we fear we might fail. Or we don’t set up the business we dream of because we think no one will want what we’re selling. Our mind tells us it’s better not to try than to try and fail, right?
Then there’s settling for the life we have instead of the one we want. Having spent years working towards the life we envisioned we discover it’s not all we thought it would be yet we carry on regardless, too afraid to admit it’s not working, afraid of what others will say or believing it’s our lot we have to grin and bear.
The problem is when we spend our life looking downwards all we see is our feet and just a small part of the path ahead. Our vision is limited so our beliefs become limiting. I think that’s become even more so after our experiences of the past year.
Open up your path
When we lift our head up, naturally, our world expands and we can see so much more. Opportunities appear as our path expands, we can’t see it all exactly because there are twists and turns and forks but these are what makes life interesting, exciting and enable us to grow.
Many of us don’t look up because we fear the unknown, we lack confidence or because it simply doesn’t occur to us that we can. Some don’t look up for fear they might see things that will make them feel worse about where they are now. They believe it’s easier to keep their head down, focused on their path and following it’s familiar grooves.
What if you knew that lifting your head up is just the answer you need right now; that it’s the only way to see new possibilities? It’s by lifting your head up that you can:
- Open your mind to the vast opportunities that exist in our world today
- Realise there’s more than one path to be on
- Develop the confidence to try new paths without getting lost or becoming afraid
- Create new, positive thoughts and beliefs
- Expand, re-energise and grow stronger and more able to step forward with a sense of purpose
- Meet other like-minded people, moving forward, their heads held high
- Explore and experience the full power and beauty of everything that is around you.
Lifting our own head up is positively life-affirming because we discover our ability to create a different life. Where once we might have felt fear and saw only problems, now we feel excitement and can see possibility.
Lifting our heads up together
If we can rise to make positive change on a personal level and achieve incredible transformations, just imagine what changes we could create globally by collectively raising our heads. Just as the girl suggested in the movie, at a societal and global level a great many of us have kept our heads down too, not standing up for what we believe to be right. I believe that the cognitive dissonance this has created is at the root of some of the poor mental health nowadays.
We also see great examples of people who have put their heads right over the parapet and stood up for their beliefs. These are the people who grow life-changing movements, who don’t let defeats derail them from their mission.
You might well wonder how they develop such inner certainty and conviction? For sure, they haven’t all always been this way. Some suddenly become propelled into action by some experience, yet they won’t ever have had the courage to do so in the past. What all these people have in common is a strong sense of who they are and what they believe in. They’re clear about their values and what’s important to them.
Some of us lose sight of our values because we’ve so long lived putting the needs and desires of others first. We gradually lose sight of who we are and discover one day that we don’t know what’s important to us or what will light that fire in our belly.
If you’re reading this and feeling like you’ve lost sight of who you are and what really matters to you, then NLP could be the perfect prescription to enable you to rediscover your real self. To find out more drop me a line here.