It doesn’t matter what we are TOLD by other people— it’s how we are TREATED by them, that we remember.
We’ve all had the experience of being told “I love you” by somebody…then having been treated by them in an unloving way.
Many of us have had the experience of being assured that our opinion is important to someone…and then had that someone behave as if our opinion was not at all important.
During childhood, many of us had the experience of being told that we were “special”…and then being treated as if we were expendable.
We often form fundamental beliefs about ourselves based on how we are treated, and how other people behave toward us— especially when we’re young.
If we are neglected, we may come to believe that we don’t matter.
If we are abused, we may come to believe we are responsible for the pain in our lives.
If we are berated, we may come to believe that we are stupid or bad.
How we are treated growing up also informs our beliefs about the world and other people.
If we are bullied when we’re young, we may form the belief that other people are mean, and we can’t trust them.
If we are taken advantage of, we may form the belief that the world is not predictable or safe.
If we are expected to do things in school that we aren’t equipped to handle because of a learning disability, we may form the belief that the world is overwhelming and confusing— and we can’t keep up with it.
None of this is about “blaming” our past for our current limiting beliefs.
It’s about being realistic about where those beliefs come from— so we can be realistic about changing them now.
We have certain beliefs that FEEL like they are the rock solid truth.
We have certain beliefs that FEEL like we acquired them out of nowhere— we’ve just always believed them.
We have certain beliefs that FEEL like we couldn’t change them, even if we really wanted to (and sometimes we really, really DO want to)!
We need to realize that our beliefs are most often our brain’s best attempts to make sense of the things that have happened to us.
It’s our brain trying to make logical sense of a life and a world that— let’s be real— often doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
You probably have beliefs that are holding you back and causing you pain. Most of us do. I know I do.
Once we accept that our beliefs aren’t rock solid, set in stone, or infallibly accurate, though— then we can get to work on realistically changing them.
I’m not a big fan of psychotherapy that spends lots and lots of time chipping away at the past.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with looking at and talking about the past in therapy— it’s often important and necessary in order to heal.
I just think that we need to spend at least as much time looking ahead— creating our present and our future— as we do rehashing the past.
We are not who we were.
We are who we choose to become.
We can choose which beliefs serve us, and which beliefs don’t.
We can choose which beliefs reflect who we are and the life we’re trying to create.
We don’t need to defend our old BS (Belief Systems) if they are not serving us.
Giving up old beliefs takes the courage to poke holes in our old belief systems, and being willing to experiment with unfamiliar beliefs that may not feel as “real” as our old, well-worn beliefs.
But you have courage.
And I know you really want to move on.
So let’s do it.
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