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You have hit the nail on the head….the easy part is to want to review/change beliefs…the hard part is the implementation. Consider how long you have been living your life through your current “lens”!
For the moment, let’s go back to the beginning and look at what is involved in “changing beliefs”:
The belief change cycle as, described by Robert Dilts, goes something along these lines:
1) Being Open to Doubt – This is the most crucial part of any and all belief change. Sometimes the simple act of doubting an existing belief can lead to rapid belief change. This is when we start examining our existing beliefs and think “Maybe it’s not true,” “Maybe there are exceptions,” “Well, that’s not always true.”
2) Becoming Open to Believe – This is when we start asking “What if this were true?” “What would life be like if I believed this?”
3) Wanting to Believe – We want to believe something, but are aware it’s not part of our current belief system.
4.) Incorporation – This is when we begin to add the new belief to our existing belief system. Sometimes this can happen quite rapidly, however if the new belief is very “radical” compared to our established belief system, we may have to adjust or even “retire” old beliefs in order to accommodate the new belief, which happens in step 5.
5) Refiling of the old belief – Dilts describes a “Museum of Personal History” where we store old beliefs, like the belief in Santa Claus. A more advanced tactic to belief change involves envisioning current limiting beliefs the same way we look back on believing in Santa Claus.
6) Trust in the new belief. – You start gathering “proof” of the new belief
As you’ve found, the hardest step is incorporation…especially when your desired belief contradicts too much of your lens on life.
A way of getting around this is to build small beliefs, or small versions of our desired belief…and gradually increase it until we have achieved our desired goal.
I also believe that there is a need to go through the 6 stages. If you’ve missed a couple, then the whole process mightn’t “take”.
If you’re open to it, perhaps you’d like to share one of the beliefs you’re trying to change…and we could dissect it a bit.
Sorry to hear you are unhappy.
I look at things a bit differently than you, and I strongly believe in measured doses of tough love. So here goes.
I treat Meditation as a tool for invoking the relaxation response…not as a healing tool. Being in the fight or flight state is what is the killer…and leads to stress, anxiety and a truck load of physical ailments. Meditation is a means of “breaking the cycle”, and getting the body back on track….which,in turns, has a positive affect on the mind. However, this is working on the symptoms. healing can only come from working on the root causes. You say:
my thoughts/beliefs about the past still come back to haunt me and feelings of hurt/sadness/depression/blaming/regret surface.
This is closer to where your problem may lie. Your emotions…hurt, sadness, blame and regret…are the barometer of your mental wellbeing. And from reading the above, it appears you’re in the middle of a hurricane.
Until you can review, with a view to changing, the beliefs that are causing these emotions, nothing much will change for you. The goal is to replace limiting beliefs with empowering beliefs…and if your current beliefs are activating those types of emotions, then I suggest they are limiting.
If these emotions are really causing you significant daily stress, I suggest you consider seeking the assistance of a therapist who can take you through the “review process”. It can be a very difficult task by yourself.
I wish you all the best.
I think you could do a lot worse than consider Kim’s words.
Additionally, I would add that happiness comes from the process of working towards a goal. If your Masters isn’t really a life goal, then you probably won’t find a lot of happiness there. On the other hand, if Art is a life goal, then you’ll probably be drowned in happiness as you work towards it…irrespective of whether you finally become a Leonardo Da Vinci !
Finally…there is no RIGHT PATH…only THE PATH…
It’s certainly a noble quest you are on and travelling the world will certainly bring you much joy and much learning…as well as a few frights.
Many travellers (backpackers) work their way around the world by teaching English. You will have to do a TEFL/TESOL Course, which can often be done overseas and, if you have a Degree, you will be able to get fairly well paid work almost anywhere. Without a Degree, the opportunities are a bit less.
Another option is to do volunteer work. Google it and you’ll find many opportunities.
Best of luck with your adventure
I’ll try not to surprise you…
I’m sorry you’re going through this torment. I wish it were otherwise, but it ain’t.
One thing I can tell you is that I’m glad you are in my life…even if it’s fleeting. As one who has never been hit as hard as you have, your words are a learning for me. They mightn’t be nice to read, but I need to read them…for my own development. Sounds a bit selfish…but that’s they way the Universe has made things.
I also suggest you re-consider sharing your thoughts with your “family”. It’s unfair of you to deprive them of the opportunity to both, learn about your plight, and to offer you help…or, at least, understanding. It may come to nothing, but isn’t it worth a try.
Yes, but not till late in life. It’s never too late to change.
For me, Unconditional Self Love (or Acceptance) is the first of two steps in achieving a significant degree of peace and contentment.
The second, and equally important step, is Unconditional Love (or Acceptance) of Others. Once you have these two areas covered off, you’re home and hosed.
For me, it means firstly accepting who I am…a perfectly fallible human being…just like the rest of you lot.It means I know that I do some things well and that I suck at a lot of other things…just like you lot. The second part means that I accept that you lot are perfectly fallible human beings, just like me.
Once you accept these two realities, it takes a lot of pressure off expectations…thereby releasing you from blaming, regretting, resenting and anger.
The catch is, however, that because we are normal fallible human beings, it’s very difficult to achieve the full state of USA or UOA…as we have been ingrained with a very strong expectation gene. Having said that, every little bit helps.
I’m sorry your relationship is not going to plan.
You have touched on one of my pet issues…NEEDS.
I don’t think it’s very empowering to have needs. A need implies that, without it, we’ll die. We need food, water and shelter.
The word need also instils in us a feeling of loss or missing out…if we don’t get it.
I would instead say that I have WANTS or PREFERENCES.
For example, I would like or prefer a relationship where we can go out when we want and spend time together privately. However, if that doesn’t happen, I will still cope…as there are other parts of the relationship that outweigh these inconveniences.
If, on the other hand, you don’t think you can cope without those “wants”…then it might be time to move on.
Glad you’re loving it here in Australia.
However, your decision will have to be yours. You’re the only one who has an understanding of all the issues and priorities involved.
Having said that, I would recommend that you don’t worry too much about the decision itself. Whatever you decide will be the right decision…for the times.
Once you make the decision, go with it and deal with any hiccups that may arise during the journey. Whatever happens, you will be a stronger and wiser person as a result of it.
I think Regina’s thoughts are very valid.
I also think you’re on the right track…it’s just that the track is a bit longer than you thought.
However, it’s good to see that you’ve learnt from all your past decisions and that’s a great thing…not something to lament.
That’s what life is about…learning from our mistakes and from our successes, although wouldn’t it be nice to have less of the first?
My unconditional self acceptance came late in life and, funnily enough, came as a result of some fairly difficult times…which is when we seem to have our greatest breakthroughs. Like you, I knew I needed to achieve it, but, in the end, I had to wait till the right trigger came along. So, I guess patience is an important element in all this. I think your head’s in the right lace…you just have to wait till the right trigger comes along…and it will.
What Will said.
However, I’d like to add…I go through a process when an uncomfortable emotion, which is the final product of our thoughts, is triggered.
Something along the following lines:
+What belief or thought must I have about a particular situation to produce that emotion?
+Is that a rational, logical and empowering thought or belief…or is it limiting?
+If not, what can I try and replace that belief with?
I’ll try an example….
My wife was late home from work and I couldn’t get away to my squash game on time…so I was spitting chips (to coin an Australian phrase)!
I believe my wife should make sure she is always on time for my appointments.
The reality is that she could get sidetracked or held back late at work or stuck in traffic…so I would be banging my head against a brick wall expecting her to always meet my requirements.
So, a more empowering belief or thought might be…I would prefer my wife to be on time, however, I understand that it’s not always possible and I’ll deal with that.
Very long winded…but I hope you get my point.
And finally…thank God…don’t be worried by thoughts of failing, because you WILL sometimes. That’s the way us humans work.Learn from it, adjust your beliefs and move on.
Sorry to hear things have not gone to plan, however, you yourself touch on a very important issue…understanding.
As you say, it doesn’t heal all the hurt, but it is crucially important to understand why others (and ourselves for that matter) make the decisions that we do. Once you understand that we are all different, we all have our own beliefs and we all have our own priorities…and it’s inappropriate to judge other people’s actions by our rules. It may make us feel vindicated or even a victim…but it won’t change the reality. We are all entitled to our own decision making process.
It’s a wise person who can accept other people’s decisions (whether we agree with them or not) and then deal with them as best they can.
It won’t always heal the hurt, but it can certainly help us to move on.
The ONLY thing we can control is our attitude to life’s events. Everything else is out of our control and you’ll do yourself an injury trying to fiddle with that.
So, in it’s simplest form…if you DECIDED to be happy with everything that happens to you and around you, it would be impossible to be sad, anxious or depressed.That’s just logic.
Unfortunately, we are human beings and we aren’t strong enough to make that decision. But, the more we move towards that state, the less stress we bring upon ourselves.
It’s called unconditional self-acceptance and unconditional other acceptance…and it’s what I strive for…sometimes successfully.
Let’s look at your 3 points:
1. Well Being…or could I call it happiness? My understanding of happiness is that it is a state of being which occurs when you are working towards a goal…either your own, or someone else’s. So that’s what I do, set goals and work towards them. It’s not important to me whether I achieve them or not, as I am often side tracked or detoured onto other activities…but the setting of the goal sets the wheels of life in motion.
2. Meaning/Purpose. Certainly important. For me, our purpose is to continue to learn and to continue to teach. We do this by automatically interacting with other people. That’s our role and as long as we continue to do it…job’s done! I’m learning and developing by interacting with you and I hope my thoughts are, at least, activating some questions and learnings in your mind.
3. Love. A biggy. Yes, it’s certainly in our nature to seek love, however, that doesn’t mean we will all be successful with that goal. Once again, that’s life. But the thrill is in the trying…and we won’t die if we don’t attain it.
So, I say, stop trying to control external things and enjoy and accept them for what they are…learning and growing opportunities. Some will be yummy, some will be bitter…but we’re going to get them anyway.
I’m 60 years old, so I can relate to your fears. I’ve had them in the past but, through personal change, I no longer do.
As simple as it sounds, it’s just a matter of changing your mindset…and it can be done.
Now I have the problem of having absolutely NO regrets…and it really annoys my friends and family.”But, you have so much to be regretful about”…were the words of my wife.
The first thing I can say to you is that there is no RIGHT path…only THE path. The Universe decides that for us. You’ll drive yourself batty trying to navigate yourself towards some imagined foolproof, approved, worthwhile and correct path. It doesn’t exist and many people suffer stress, anxiety and depression trying to find it. So, once you accept that you are already on THE path, sit back and enjoy the ride that it offers.
With regards to regrets, I would challenge you to consider the reasons that you initially made those regretful decisions. I think you’ll find that they were all made with the best of intentions, based on the knowledge you had at hand and considered in line with your level of wisdom…at the time. Yes, looking back now, having the advantage of 20-20 hindsight, and having the advantage of knowing the outcome of all those decisions…it’s easy to critique those decisions negatively. Easy, but illogical.
So, there’s some food for thought from an old timer.
To be worrying about the future is normal. As someone once said…”if you don’t want to worry, be a plant”.
However, as you’d know, over exuberant worrying can be paralysing….and a decision stopper.
Most “what ifs” never ever happen. However, the trick is to, firstly accept that they may happen…that’s life.
Secondly, we need to consider… what is the very worst thing that might happen, if the what ifs come true. Will you die from them?
Probably not. Your life may be detoured or you may have to change plans…but that can often, in itself, bring other exciting things to your life.
So, my tip is to release yourself to the “what ifs” and trust the Universe. Make a decision and calmly deal with the consequences of that decision…as they present themselves. You’ll find it an exhilarating trip.
I think Jordan has some wise words to say there.
I would just like to pick up on something you said first up…”I (in theory) know that the answers are supposedly within me”
This is true to an extent. You are the final arbiter of your ideas, however, ALL change and growth is triggered from external sources. You won’t get the idea to become a clown or seek God or eat cannibals…unless the idea is triggered by an external source. You will then take it on board, toss it around and come up with a decision. And, as Jordan says, you have to be exposed to those external forces and ideas somehow…and the best way to do that is to live life to the full. Sitting around contemplating your navel will not provide those wisdom -building opportunities. Get out and try some things. If they work, great, if they don’t, even greater…you will learn some valuable lessons.