"Its not what you say its the way that you say it and that's what gets results" - remember the 80's disco song? Recently I had a conversation with a friend about belief systems. Belief systems don't just belong to organized religion and sometimes I shock myself when I realize that I believe something about an individual, a group of people or a topic that I don't really know too much about out of fear.
The same is true when I think about what I have, in the past, believed about myself. Honestly for a number of years I thought and believed that I needed to be something different/better/cleverer than I am to fit in, so that was the tape that played on and on in my head. And the words got their predicted results they ended up creating that reality because I believed it would be so.
Here are a couple of personal examples from my past: Belief: I have a fat body type. Underlying fear: being thin would attract another abusive relationship. Belief: I cannot afford time or $'s to complete academic programs. Underlying fear: I will fail the exam. Belief: I always have to appear to be in control of my life in public. Underlying fear: I don't want to look stupid.
Beliefs about ourselves usually come from other people - they can be positive, helpful and nurturing and they can be like a sharp painful sword, cutting us off from our ability to perform, function, and achieve our personal best. In gestalt therapy this is described as an interruption to the process of completion - of wholeness. The underlying fear enters each time we step around the cycle towards wholeness and we remain stuck.
Developing or reigniting critical thinking skills, reading, exploring alternative thoughts will challenge our inherent beliefs. This is an uncomfortable process because it means making changes, shifts in our current way of doing and being. Change not only affects us, it has an impact on others close to us. It may mean the end of a friendship or taking on a different role in a family. Other may not be happy that we are making changes. yet, ultimately those changes will create healthier and happier relationships. Saying and practicing what we would like to believe is helpful whilst on the journey towards change. Saying it out aloud, shouting it at the mirror, singing it - whatever works for you will get results. Over time the old beliefs become silent and the new beliefs the ones that you own, that are authentically yours, will flourish.
Step 8 Exercise
Reflect on things that you believe about yourself that are holding you back from making changes you want and identify the underlying fear. This exercise sounds simple and the reality is like all simple things it can be hard. You may need more than one sit down session to do it and I encourage you to be gentle on yourself.
Keep this list with the others and art pieces from earlier steps. Write on index cards or pieces of papers the opposite of the beliefs and underlying fears. Example: I am on my way to my weight loss goals. I will enjoy being in good health when I am slimmer. Put the cards in a place where you can see them daily and remember to say them out loud. It is important to both say them and write them down.
Time to record our successes - here are mine
Making lunch to take with me and taking a break
Wheat and gluten free all day (resisting yummy cookies at a school dance performance this evening)
Handling a professional conflict situation calmly and reaching out for support
Time to write and complete family and professional commitments
Quote for the day:
"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own
powers you cannot be successful or happy." Norman Vincent Peale, author.