It occurs to me that I’m not the only therapist or personal growth teacher out there telling you you can live a better life. In fact, there’s no shortage of gurus and guides and teachers and mentors out there, all telling you a better life is, in fact, possible.
It is interesting to note, however, that there often seems to be a caveat appended to these teachers’ teachings: they maintain you can live a better life…IF you buy their product.
IF you read their book.
IF you sign up for their coaching sessions.
Or, on an even more basic level…a lot of gurus out there seem to be of the position that you can live a better life….IF you follow their philosophy. Which, of course, only they are in a position to teach you.
Which, I mean, is fine, conceptually, I guess. It’s certainly true that there are products and books and coaching approaches and philosophies out there that can enhance our lives. But something has always rubbed me the wrong way about gurus and guides who start out from a fundamental position of, “you’re missing something.”
Maybe they believe that. Maybe they think the people who come to them for help and guidance really are missing something basic, something only they can impart. There’s certainly a long tradition of esoteric knowledge being handed down to seekers who prove themselves worthy of enlightenment. The whole “gnostic” movement is based on this principle— secret knowledge that, when revealed, can change everything. Scientology built a whole religion on this approach.
I don’t happen to believe that. In fact, as I’ve posted on the Dr. Glenn Doyle Facebook page, I don’t believe I, or anybody else with my training and background, have any “special” knowledge for you at all that isn’t freely available in dozens of other places.
Nor do I believe you’re fundamentally “missing” something.
Maybe it’s just me, but I kinda believe that every person who walks in my office already has the tools they need to create the kind of life they want. I’ll even go so far as to state that, usually, I turn out to be right about this.
I think you probably have what you need, right now, right where you are. Without purchasing anything; without being given esoteric knowledge from a guru or mentor or shaman; without fundamentally changing who you are.
Yes, yes, I know, I don’t know you personally, at least most of you. But I’m telling you, I’m usually right about these things.
So if we already have what we need to live awesome lives, then why does it seem that we spend so much time spinning our wheels, struggling with our emotions, and wrestling with self-defeating behavior?
It’s usually not a lack of knowledge or skills that’s the culprit. It’s usually a set of beliefs we’ve developed over the years about who we are, what we’re capable of, and what we “should” and “shouldn’t” do in our lives that holds us back from really feeling and doing the things we’d like to feel and do in our lives.
Put another way: our emotional and behavioral repertoires are not defined by what we can actually do. They’re defined— and limited— by our beliefs about what we can actually do.
Our beliefs are everything. Once we get limiting beliefs stuck in our heads, everything gets filtered through those beliefs. And these beliefs are formed subtly, over years, shaped day in and day out by the things others tell us and the things that we tell ourselves. We often don’t even know we’re drowning in a sea of negative beliefs about ourselves, any more than a fish knows he’s immersed in water all day every day.
It’s just the way it’s always been, so we figure it’s the way it always has to be.
There have been entire books written about the types of beliefs that limit us. A whole technique of therapy, called “schema therapy,” makes challenging distorted beliefs its primary focus. Beliefs are so fundamental to how we think that it’s often very hard to make any therapeutic progress at all until we start chip, chip, chipping away at the negative things we’ve come to believe about ourselves, the world, and the future.
The good news is, beliefs change.
But not by accident.
The first belief that I’d suggest you start chip, chip, chipping away at? The belief that you’re somehow inadequate, incomplete, “not enough” just as you are.
I mean, what if that weren’t true, that you’re “not enough?” What if it was the case that, in actuality, you have exactly the tools you need to make your life awesome, right here, right now? What if the only thing really holding you back was a conditioned set of beliefs that sold you a bill of goods about yourself a long, long time ago?
Destroying the belief that you’re “missing something” or “not enough” might change your entire world.
And you wouldn’t even need to pay that sanctimonious guru who was trying to get you to doubt yourself.
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