A few years ago, I was working with a great coach, someone who had been a therapist for over twenty years and then transitioned into coaching.
I was on a call with her, while on a writing retreat in Santa Fe. I paced around the patio of our little cottage there, talking to her on the cell phone.
We talked about some area of my life I wanted to change (I don’t now remember what. There have been so many over the years…) and we stumbled upon some belief I was holding that was getting in the way of me making that change.
She asked me a question I never forgot.
She said, “Now Tara, do you have a process for changing your beliefs?”
She said it like, “Do you have milk in the house?” Or “Do you have a wrench?” Like this was something everyone needed in their internal “home,” in their toolkit.
She was right. We all need processes for consciously changing our beliefs.
Why? I think of it this way: As we grow up, and particularly in childhood, we interact with wounded people and the wounded world. From those interactions, we learn lessons, and we draw conclusions. Broad conclusions like these: “This is how men are. This is how women are. This is what happens when we share your emotions. This is what happens when you get angry. This is what happens when you make a mistake.”
In other words, we generalize. Consciously we might know that there is no one way that “women are” or no one outcome of “getting angry.” But underneath those conscious thoughts, there are often unconscious or barely conscious beliefs — generalized beliefs, that have been developed out of very specific, individual experiences.
The problem, of course, is that we generalize way too much from what we learned. Your partner is different than those junior high boys who formed your beliefs about what men/boys want. The boss you have now is very different than that first boss who shaped your beliefs about “how bosses are.” Maybe your family punished you for expressing anger but now — expressing anger would lead to a deepening — not a destruction of your relationships.
So part of living wisely is updating and changing our beliefs. Pressing the refresh button on them.
So now, are you wondering HOW we actually do this–how we change our beliefs? If so, today’s post comes with a free gift, a worksheet that takes you through my 8 step process for changing a belief. Check it out HERE (PDF) or HERE (editable word doc).
Love & gratitude