Changing My Address
I found an exercise from a class I took years ago. The assignment was to answer the following questions:
1) What are the true desires of your heart (the ones that endure & create a feeling of expansion)?
2) What stands between you and your desires?
3) What are the most important relationships in your life?
4) What do you believe that isn't true?
I blazed through questions 1-3. I knew what my heart's desires were and I thought knew the parts of me that stood between me and my desires (it is always and only us who ultimately stands between ourselves and realizing our heart-based desires). I was keenly aware of who the important people in my life were.
Question number four, however was a real challenge for me. How was I supposed to identify something false if I believed it was true?
I dodged the real question with a superficial space-filling answer. My journal reflects the week-long struggle I went through to really answer the question. Over the course of several days, I discovered several toxic beliefs that were continually running behind the surface thoughts in my mind. They were:
I have to work harder than others to make good things happen for me.
I'm not pretty, talented, smart, driven, connected or personable, enough; I'm not good enough.
When I meet new people, I have to earn their approval.
If I take a huge risk and fail, I'll die or wish I would.
Women who boldly advance their goals and agendas are rude and unappealing.
It is noble and respectable to advocate for the benefits of another, it is belligerent and off-putting to advocate for my own.
Women who say good things about themselves are conceited.
A good friend never disagrees.
Happiness is not a birthright, it must be earned and justified by self-sacrifice.
I was more than a bit startled to reveal a laundry list of beliefs that had no basis in truth, yet were negatively influencing every moment of my life and sabotaging my efforts.
I noted that somewhere along my life's journey I'd learned these things, but tracing the precise origin was a useless witch hunt. What would it change?
Change came from shining a light on my hidden beliefs, consciously choosing better ones and gently correcting myself when I fell into habitual thinking. Over the next days, I rewrote my belief statements giving them the meanings I would want for someone I loved dearly, like my daughter (Happiness is a birthright, Women who boldly advance their goals are gracious and attractive, I don't need approval to be happy, etc.).
It has been 8 years since I did that exercise and I am happy to report that I don't believe that list anymore. It's hard to believe I ever did.
Choosing better beliefs opened the door for opportunities and successes that I couldn't have recognized or enjoyed before. Yet, as is always true of life, there is new work to be done.
I encourage you to answer the four questions above and when something that hinders your good comes up, choose better. You'll have to remind yourself of your new beliefs often, but in time you'll be amazed by the freedom and success they bring to life.
We are all ruled by our thoughts and beliefs, surely we should have a hand in choosing what they are.