Those Aha! moments are so unexpected!
I’ve been going through some books that I have read before recently, looking for some inspiration. Accidentally, I found a book by John Kehoe “Mind power into the 21st century”, which I read some 15 years ago. I got curious because of the many side notes it contains. I have written these notes when I first read the book, and I remember being thoroughly impressed and inspired by the ideas Kehoe has laid out.
Interestingly enough, an immediate sparkle of recognition ignited between the Kehoe’s writing and my current reading, “Responsibility rebellion” by Kain Ramsay. Here came my “Aha!” moment. Everything that Koehoe wrote about the power of the mind and the ability to change the world around you with your thoughts just clicked into place. Ramsay’s concept of beliefs that could be both empowering and limiting supported what Kehoe said about mind power.
Beliefs are some ideas that we hold true and real. We consistently and repeatedly think about something as if it were true – and this something comes into being. Not by materialising itself physically, but by rooting itself as an ultimate truth in our minds. And our mind stops recognising the world without it.
The trick here is that there’re “truths” we believe that are not always our own opinion. And not always true. We don’t choose some of them. Our parents or teachers tell them to us. Or about us. We form some of the beliefs based on the situations we experienced. Some others are based on the social constructs that were common in our families or the areas where we grew up. Even lifestyles and ideals of our literary role models might form some of our beliefs.
We are born in this world free of beliefs and ideas and habits, and thoughts. We are brought up by people who are the products of their parents and the society they grew up in, the experiences they have made. Our parents bring us up following the beliefs they hold.
We adopt these beliefs. We rarely question them. It is not common to challenge them – at least not where I come from. Parents are the ultimate authority who know what is right and what – wrong. Later some teachers take on forming our minds, making us socially fittable. There are friends and foes, boyfriends and girlfriends, tv shows and celebrities, coaches and mentors, colleagues and employers. They tell and show us how we should be, what we should believe in, what we should want and what should make us happy.
Beliefs result from the cultural and environmental situation we have faced. Since we do not choose them consciously ourselves but derive them from our experience, some of the beliefs we hold can turn out to be false. Some of them can limit us in ways we don’t consciously think about.
Just so whenever a kid is continually rejected love by his parents, he might grow up believing he is not worthy of love. He wouldn’t think this, though, at least not consciously. He would have troubles with his romantic relationships and would be desperate that they don’t work. He might spend his whole life searching for the reason and never figure it out.
Other cases might be more complicated. Some of my acquaintances are perfectionists. Sometimes, we speak about our families and childhood memories. And sometimes I see how their growing up had one single driver – they should have a better life than that of their parents, at any costs. Their parents and grandparents invested so much into their education, into giving them a chance to live a less hardworking and more intellectual and pleasant life. They try to do everything perfectly because anything less than that is a failure.
Some of us live believing they are unable to learn a foreign language, or draw, or dance. These beliefs form our behaviours and shape our lives. They influence our personal and professional choices.
I don’t think it is possible to avoid this altogether. However, I believe it is useful to make a regular internal audit to check which beliefs are your own and are valid and which you can discard. Replacing some old limiting beliefs with the new ones might motivate you to subscribe to those ballroom dance lessons or ask for that promotion. What is limiting you?