Cutting Ties With The Past
Who’s shaping you?
For most of us, the beliefs we hold have been shaped by the people along our journey. From childhood, our parents, siblings, friends, extended family, and even random interactions have influenced our perception of life. Sometimes this is positive. However, for a lot of people reading, dare I say most, this hasn’t always been the case. Almost all of us (even if we had the greatest parents on earth) have, at some point, allowed our potential to be limited by a belief that was influenced by someone else. Often times, the moment of shaping by another is completely unintentional. Maybe, it was a down-on-his-luck uncle, a bitter teacher, or a kid at school who while struggling with their own home life, and they made it their mission to wreck everyone else’s. I can still hear the words of a classmate ringing in my ear, “You’ll never make the team. You’re not good enough.” Why in the world would I remember those negative words spoken by someone who has no control over my life over 15 years later. It’s because whether we like to believe it or not, words are powerful.
However, a bit of good news. Just as we have had someone’s words or beliefs negatively shape us, we have the power to change that negative influence.
We have the ability to go back and adjust those bad beliefs if they are affecting our lives in a negative way. Likewise, recognizing the good beliefs we carry and the reason we’ve held on to them, can be empowering and continue to fuel us to overcome life’s biggest obstacles. Beliefs about ourselves are powerful and will most certainly “make or break” us. So, it is important we are aware of what kind of belief system we have about ourselves, others, and the world.
I want you to do a quick exercise with me. Think of a time when someone believed in you as a child or young adult. This would be an example of someone who opened your mind to believing something greater about yourself than you did on your own. For example, I have a friend who grew up loving to write poetry and stories. However, she didn’t have the confidence to pursue it by continuing to write until her step-dad began to deliberately encourage her, pointing out how and why her writing was intriguing and meaningful. This simple, continual gesture throughout her adolescence gave her the self-assurance she needed to continue writing in her adult life. She now has a career as a blogger and writer.
Now, take your memory of a time someone believed in you and answer these questions:
How did it make you feel?
What did it make you do?
How has it impacted your life since?
Good and bad beliefs cause us to react in a certain way. They can give us the drive to push through rough patches or they can wear us down and stop us from even starting. Take these three questions and apply them to any significant beliefs you have about yourself, whether they are positive or negative. When you look at bad beliefs about yourself (I can’t be successful. I’m too emotional. I’m lazy.), be honest and make your own choice about it. Is it true? If so, are you ready and willing to change? If it isn’t true, what is an accurate counter to that bad belief?
From this point on, you can choose to recognize what good beliefs are contributing to your life and actively counter those bad beliefs with the truth you have now defined for yourself. When you practice this for even a short time, you will be amazed at how it will transform your life.
Start looking at your beliefs today. Rework the bad ones and find deeper appreciation for the good ones. Then take it a step further and think about how your words and beliefs about others are affecting them. What can you do to empower those who cross your path on a daily basis?
Find out more about how to shape your beliefs here.