Common beliefs you can choose to let go
Our beliefs shape our world. Beliefs help us to make sense of the world but there are times when our beliefs are unhelpful, they may even be untrue and completely inaccurate. I’ve put together a list of common beliefs that I have come across during my work with clients.
- The belief that you must have love or approval from almost everyone for almost everything you do.
This is an unhelpful and unrealistic belief as it is impossible to keep up constant praise and approval from others. Rather, acceptance that pleasing yourself and living in line with your own healthy values is far more helpful and productive.
2. The belief that you should be thoroughly competent, adequate and achieve in all possible respects to be worthwhile.
Just reading the above belief leaves me feeling exhausted! When we place our sense of value and self worth on the approval of others or outward achievements, we send ourselves the message that we are not valuable unless we are doing and progressing. ‘Being’ is just as worthwhile as ‘doing’. We are valuable as we are.
3. The belief that certain behaviour is awful and people who behave that way are no good and should be punished.
Being judgemental of others leads us down a precarious path that can end up in more unhappiness than contentment. When we practice compassion for others and understand that we all have our ways to soothe ourselves (except illegal activity of course..), we can open the way to more flexible thinking. When we focus on judging others, we invite guilt, shame, intolerance and a whole host of emotions that can be non productive.The more rigid our beliefs, the more easily they are broken.
4. The belief that it is awful when things go do not go the way you would like them to go.
It may not be ideal but it isn’t necessarily awful. Being adaptable lends to resilience.
5. The belief that your emotional upset is caused by external pressure or other people and that you have little ability to control or change your feelings.
This common belief belies a victim mentality. You effectively give away your power to be able to decide and be responsible for yourself when you blame others for your feelings and/or your circumstances.
6. The belief that if something may be dangerous, I should be worried and upset about it.
Why should you worry and be anxious about threatening things? How is worrying going to change anything? Do a risk assessment and be realistic but don’t worry unnecessarily.
7. The belief that it is easier for you to avoid facing many life difficulties and self responsibilities than to face up to them.
Avoidance is a short term fix and the underlying issues will still remain.
8. The belief that your past is all important and that because something once strongly influenced your life, it should keep determining your feelings and behaviour today.
Your past can’t be changed – that’s true but you can choose to update your beliefs about the world and yourself. Often we learn things as vulnerable children that no longer apply as adults. Learn to take stock of your beliefs and reject the ones that are no longer helpful and/or useful.
9. The belief that people should be different, or more what you expect them to be.
Accepting people for who they are will lead to more satisfying relationships than to keep trying to change someone. People’s fundamental characteristics don’t change.
10. The belief that you can achieve human happiness through inaction or by passively allowing others to treat you as they please.
Learning to be assertive is to key to honouring our own value and worth. Learn to stand up for yourself by doing your best to achieve a win-win situation. Enjoy healthy boundaries where others treat you with respect, even if at times you have to show them how.
Notice above all the “musts” and “shoulds”…this can always be challenged. Why must/should you? Who said you must/should? You may find that often these rigid rules are self inflicted or come from some outdated lesson you learned as a child.