Last week we talked about gaining awareness as a critical first step to living on purpose.
Awareness is also the first step in creating change.
When you want to live passionately and on purpose, you need to assess your beliefs and determine if they are working for you or holding you back.
Most of our beliefs are not even our own.
They get passed down from our parents or other “authority” figures in our life, and we don’t even think about it.
Here is a silly example of believing something simply because someone “older and wiser” tells you. My father is the oldest of five with four younger sisters. My Aunts say he was a “prince” and could get away with anything. The story goes that my father told his sister that the Olympics were every 4 years because it took 4 years for a guy to carry the lit torch around the world.
My aunt trusted her older and wiser brother and consequently believed this until she was an adult and she told someone else, whereupon she found out the truth! Big brothers…aren’t they the best?
Here are some examples of how your beliefs might be unconsciously shaped.
Was the phrase “money doesn’t grow on trees” popular in your house?
Did your grandparents complain about their ailments and getting old?
Perhaps you witnessed an unhealthy marital relationship?
Our beliefs are shaped by what we witness in our families growing up and the experiences we have in our lives.
Given the above examples, you might believe that:
- Money is scarce.
- Aging is all drudgery and declining health.
- The unhealthy marriage dynamic is normal and ok.
For myself, I believed that I couldn’t be a good mom if I wasn’t a stay-at-home mom. This belief held me back in launching my business. It created struggle and lack of action. Also, despite having a deep knowledge that my marriage was not what one should be, I didn’t think I had a choice. That was my belief. So, I stayed stuck and unhappy.
How do we break it all down to find out what we actually believe and what we want to believe?
My suggestion is to break up the beliefs into categories of health, relationships, finances, and career. Then, write out what you believe about those subjects and your thoughts on obtaining your goals within the categories.
Be honest with yourself.
During the quiet time that you are cultivating to bring awareness into your life, bring the topic of one of these categories to your meditation. Sit with it and see what thoughts appear.
We often have negative thoughts that we aren’t really aware we believe.
Do you always assume weight loss is hard, and that deprivation is part of achieving your optimal weight?
If you are dating, do you say things like, “There are no good men out there”?
Regarding friendships, do you believe that all women are mean and catty?
Do you look at wealth as evil, and debt/lack of wealth as inevitable?
Do you believe that to advance in your career, you must sacrifice work/life balance? That “it’s just what it takes”?
After looking into it a bit, you can often figure out the root of the belief. Often, they come from our parents beliefs and behaviors but they can also stem from our own experiences. Ask the question, “Why do I believe this? When did I start believing this?”
Once you are aware of what you currently believe, you can decide what is not serving you and find the beliefs that are not allowing you to live on purpose.
For example, if you say “there are no good men out there”, ask yourself why. “Because the last few guys I dated were losers”. Okay, so that’s two guys in a world of approximately 3 billion, according to the UN. Maybe you need to change your thoughts about where “out there” really is, and approach the process from a different angle. Maybe you’re putting pressure on yourself to “find someone”, so you’re settling for whoever comes down the road. How do you WANT to feel about dating? Like it’s fun, and there are lots of options out there, and it’s not stressful?
This is one of the most crucial questions to get into the habit of asking yourself. By asking “How do I WANT to feel about this,” you can start to make changes to your beliefs in a positive manner.
After reviewing the awareness we have gained about our passions and purpose, and assessing what we currently believe, we can then create affirmations to move in the direction of all of our hopes and dreams.
What long-held beliefs are you ready to reframe?