Upgrading My Life
I was in my head a lot last night, sifting through a myriad of beliefs I had about so many things for so many years, and it occurred to me...have I outgrown this system and, if so, how can I edit it to complement who I am today? The more time I take to tune into myself, and curate my beliefs, I become happier and more open to new experiences. I want to unplug from the world's rhetoric of "This this," "Do this," and "Don't do that." Years ago, I remember talking to my mother about the thoughts I had been having, and she would ask me who had told me such things or what had I been reading. When I told her that these were thoughts of my own and that I'd been thinking about what was true to me, she was always so shocked, and would say, "You are so different from me. I don't think most people do that; think for themselves." I am no longer afraid to change my beliefs, to upgrade, to analyze new opinions and see how they work for me. I am not the same young girl I once was; I am not the same person I was yesterday. Perhaps I want to make a change to believe something new? While it is uncomfortable when the ego says "No! I can't think about that because I believe XYZ," I just push through the cognitive dissonance until I can integrate the new/upgraded/different belief into the core of my being. It is worth it, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Remember that humans thought the world was flat, that genes couldn't be changed, and that if I am nice everyone will automatically like me. If you want true freedom, free your mind to think more than what you are taught to think or told to think. You and I are intelligent beings. It's okay to question things you have been taught by people who had just gone along with what they'd been told, and so on and so on. Ask yourself today, "Do I still agree with this way of thinking?" That is real freedom. No, it doesn't bring peace to the mind right away, but as you rid yourself of the beliefs and thought patterns that no longer serve you...you will find more peace, happiness, and self-fulfillment. Humans are such amazing creatures with imaginations and minds; using them is crucial for self-growth. If you feel stuck, check your thoughts and see what beliefs may be limiting you. Perhaps you'll need help uncovering unconscious beliefs, but shedding them is a real game-changer. It's so worth the effort. It upgrades your life, and opens so many windows and doors to greater opportunities for growth. Start by getting curious. Ask yourself these questions, and write them down with your answers:
Why do I think this?
Do I believe this in my heart of hearts?
Does it speak to my soul in a positive way?
Does it feel true?
Does this thought help me to move forward in the direction I want to go?
Is this belief system helping me become a more whole person?
Do my beliefs serve people or alienate them?
Do I like the thoughts I hear myself having?
Here's an example.... I encountered a rude sales clerk. I immediately stepped back from their energy as they were being curt, unkind, dismissive, and downright rude. I said, to myself, "I was perfectly kind to them. I just asked them to do their job. I am a nice person and don't deserve to be treated that way." When I take the time to stop and observe those thoughts, I can see my ego was damaged by their rudeness. If I get curious, I can imagine several scenarios that might have caused them to be in a bad mood (e.g., a new baby or a sick baby, so they were up all night and are now exhausted; they had a fight with their lover and they're still hurting; their vacation was canceled; their car broke down on the way to work; money is tight; and a thousand other possibilities. Now, none of these stories have anything to do with me. The sales clerk's actions weren't a personal attack on me; it was all about them. I ask myself why I took their attitude so personally. Probably because I was told over and over again, as a young girl, that if I'm nice to people they will be nice to me, or if we treat people the way we want to be treated, we'll receive that treatment in return. We all know that is not always the case. So, an upgraded belief could be to choose being kind because it makes me happy. Other people are doing the best they can. Let it roll off my back. "Be a duck!" Remember...it has nothing to do with you (usually; you'd know if it did, am I right?) Don Miguel Ruiz told us not to take anything personally; it's the Second Agreement. It's a tough one to follow, but it brings so much freedom.
Now, I make up reasons for my daughters why other drivers are inconsiderate. "Maybe his wife is in labor, or he has to go to the bathroom. They are rushing to see their child perform, or they're off to see a sick loved one." It sure beats yelling and cursing at another driver, especially in front of your children (Oops!) I doubt that ten seconds it took to let them in front of me on the highway affects my life all that much. If I spent all my time convincing myself and everyone else that the world is full of inconsiderate idiots, imagine what that would do to my mind, heart, and soul. Be curious why these situations bother you so much. "People take me for granted." "People are always so rude." "I don't feel seen or heard." (This is a big trigger for a lot of us.) Then let those thoughts marinate. Are they true?
I have found that daily journaling reveals those beliefs that are holding me back from the life I want to live. Talking about these situations with a friend can help you hear those thoughts in a different way. We are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. No one can make us feel a certain way. You hold all the power needed to create a life that is calmer, happier, and fun. Get curious about what goes on in your head. Start observing your thoughts and make note of the situations that bring them to the forefront of your mind. How did you learn these thoughts? Do they really work for you? Are they a good friend to you? If the answers are no, it is definitely time for an upgrade. Sit with the discomfort of a new thought or belief. It takes time, but it is so worth integrating. You've got this! We've got this!