When I first started my blog post yesterday I didn’t realise it would become a series. So I apologise for the length. Maybe because this particular subject involves change over time and examining our thinking, beliefs and decision-making processes, that’s why this subject has taken on a life of its own.
In order to change our lives for the better, we really need to take a good, long, hard look at ourselves and work out how and in what ways, we contribute to how our lives evolve. I am not saying we are to blame for everything that has gone wrong with our lives, or the way we were treated as children or as adults. When someone treats you badly and they have no reason to, then the blame is squarely on the other person’s shoulders. It is how we react and if we continue to allow people to treat us that way, as well as letting it affect us over a long period.
How we are raised as children and how our parents, siblings and extended family acted around us, teaches us about the world. If our parents had only our best interests at heart and taught us the life lessons we needed to learn in a safe and loving environment, we tend to grow up as healthy adults and tend not to make bad decisions or take things too personally when things go wrong or people are unkind to us.
Every time someone treated you badly or called you names, put you down, criticized you, bullied you, disrespected you, it wrote on the slate of who you are (to quote my favourite Psychologist Dr Phil), and the younger you are the more damage it can do.
If we were raised to believe we were worthless, and were made to feel worthless often enough we began to believe it, to the point it became so ingrained in our psyche that we would automatically think it not realising we had actually had that thought.
I believe the first part of changing your life for the better is to change your thinking, and in order to do that, we have to catch ourselves out when we have these demeaning thoughts and question why we automatically think that way. What caused us to believe this about ourselves. Where did it come from. Was it your parent who told you, you were annoying or stupid or useless, every time you did something wrong in their eyes? Was it a school teacher or a sibling, that made you feel so stupid? Or were you bullied in school or even in a job by a co-worker or boss? It could be any number of situations that contributed to our beliefs about ourselves.
I found writing the thought on a piece of paper and question whether that thought was valid, in my case, feelings of worthlessness, helped. Think about moments when I felt this way, what event triggered this thought. I would question the thought’s validity. Is this true? I would write down all the things about me that proved I wasn’t worthless, all the things I was good at, all my achievements. Think of instances when I was made to feel worthless and who was involved. Whatever came to mind I would write it down, no matter how strange or trivial it might seem at the time. And then once I understood why I had that thought in the first place and what the triggers were that caused this thought I would work out something that I could replace that thought with. Affirmations are a great way of changing your thought processes, Louise Hay is a great person to start with. She has a book that is all about this very subject. You Can Heal Your Life. And she also provides a lot of affirmations to help you change your thinking. Dr Wayne W Dyer, is another person who used affirmations.
Changing how we think is a process, it can’t be changed overnight. But you have to want to change in the first place. You have to do the work, You have to catch yourself thinking these thoughts. And you need to question them.
It is the same with beliefs. Write down a list of beliefs you may have about yourself and others and life in general and question whether each belief is valid, or if it works for you. And if it doesn’t then brain storm about what you think would suit you better or is more positive.
One thing I want everyone to remember. Don’t apply absolutes to what you think and feel and believe. Don’t say to yourself, “That was a bad thought and I shouldn’t be thinking that way.” Because this is where we all go wrong. We tend to believe those thoughts that allow us to believe we are not a good person, or decisions that end up going pear-shaped are more a case of things not working for us and we all should consider something different. And come up with suitable replacements.
All too often, and we are all guilty of this at one time or another, think of people as being negative, or bad or toxic. And the same with thoughts and beliefs, and decisions. The spiritual/new age community can be terrible for it. As children maybe our parents scolded us for being angry or sad, and dismissed the feelings we were having, making us believe these emotions were not acceptable.
Our emotions are normal and a natural part of being human, we wouldn’t have them if we weren’t meant to. It is how we deal with them and process them and then let them go that is the important part. Don’t feel bad because you are angry about something, there is a reason why you feel that way. Acknowledge your anger and the reason behind it. And then let it go. Often we have emotions associated with certain thoughts and beliefs and they came feelings of guilty, anxiety etc. Take note of these emotions and consider why you feel this way.
It’s all about paying attention to this wonderful mind of ours.
Looks like there will be more parts to this Blog. Stay tuned for Part 3.