Why does it matter to free yourself from some of your beliefs?

 

 

Most beliefs that are composing our belief systems originated from the meaning we gave events that occurred in our lives. Once we attribute a certain meaning and hold a belief about the world or ourselves as the Truth we consistently seek evidence to prove this belief true. Before we know it, these beliefs integrate the background of our daily thoughts. Imperceptibly, we build our entire approach to life and mindset around these beliefs.

 

Some of these beliefs can be painfully restricting and confine us into unnecessary fears. Some even say that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. We are utterly convinced the world is a certain way. We continuously supplement this belief with what we hold for evidence, shut down all other possibilities and it becomes a cognitive bias.

 

As open-minded as we would like to think we are we all have biases. They are the result of an automatized association. This way we process a massive number of pieces of information faster. It is a natural way our brain has to form conclusions. The only problem is that when there is a bias, the conclusion is slightly or hugely slanted. The only way to rectify biases is to become aware of them and that is the hardest part. Identifying biases as well as identifying any one of our beliefs requires a lot of awareness and a thorough work of inquiry. Undoubtedly, it would be a colossal task to submit all and every thought to such a process.

 

Nonetheless, an indispensable place to investigate is the belief system we apply to ourselves. To wholeheartedly question what we hold to be true about ourselves has the potential to give us access to immense progress in our personal growth. Why? Because a number of beliefs we have about ourselves hold us back. They feed fear and self-doubt. We believe ourselves to be too much “this” or that we cannot do “that”. We hold on strongly to that belief because it provides us with an excuse for not being more successful for instance or happier. The way we operate within our belief system is comparable in many ways to the filter bubble; we find more of what we came across or looked for in previous researches on the Internet. Our mind tends to work in the same way.

 

Definitely, our most deeply entrenched beliefs are the hardest to beat. The longer we lived with them and the more real they seem to us even when they defy plain logic. Here is an example: I was reflecting on my experience on quitting smoking as I was answering a question on Quora about what was a major realization in my life. Aside from realizing that my smoking habit proceeded greatly as a coping mechanism to manage my emotions and that it would more certainly affect my health than dealing with the emotion itself, I recollected the fight I had to put up with myself to believe I could quit smoking.

 

The struggle was not so much in dealing with the chemical addiction. It had more to do with picturing myself as never smoking again. I could not believe I could “survive” without ever smoking again. I had all the evidence on how damageable to my health my habit was. I was clear on the toll it was taking on my finances. Yet, for the longest time, I could not convince myself I could be free from my smoking habit. My belief that I could not quit remained stronger until I challenged the deeper and more hidden beliefs I had about myself. Our own beliefs have a strong hold on us, especially when we are unaware of them.

 

Furthermore, the beliefs others have about us may just as well hold us back. Have you ever noticed how you are more easily irritated in the presence of certain relatives? Especially when they persist in categorizing you a certain way or that they endlessly bring up that same anecdote from the time you were four years old for instance? There is an amazing and sometimes frightening freedom in finding yourself in an environment devoid of any individual who knows anything about you. Travel in a foreign country, in a complete different frame of reference and you will surprise yourself. You may even think “so and so would never believe I am doing this!” That is one major added value in traveling. Encountering different cultures and people is also a lot about discovering oneself all over again. It expands your mind and brings renewed insight on your what you may take for granted and hold as obvious on your skills, views, and approach to life.

 

Yes, it is egocentric to a degree. I say there is no virtue in denying oneself. On the contrary, I think there is great value in knowing oneself well. How else can you evolve and develop without an honest and accurate assessment of yourself? And if you are ignorant of your traits how can you relate and connect with the world that surrounds you? Rigorous honesty is challenging. Yet, it is indispensable to live in reality. Our beliefs tend to lull us away from reality. They distort our perceptions. We bend our interpretations to fit our belief system. We come to confuse our beliefs with evidence. We consistently pay attention to what reinforces our beliefs. The meaning we attribute to events is one of the sources to our beliefs.

 

All this to say that there is great value in questioning our belief system. It gives us keys to expand beyond our limitations. It is hard to let go of certitudes, even if they are unfounded. We pride ourselves in having answers and we fear to appear dumb or inadequate if we fail to produce an answer. We think it may come off as weakness if we seem undecided. For some of us admitting that we do not know something feels downright shameful. Sometimes we want to be right at all cost or we assume that there is only one way.

 

Let me share these words:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.

Rumi – 13th century

 

We may feel very passionate about a certain issue. Just taking a moment to pause and think what we are basing this feeling on and question the origin of our position. Fact checking may be tricky at times as well. What sources are we using? Where is the piece of information coming from and how reliable is it. Without entering in the detail or in any form of debate on where the Truth may be I merely invite you to challenge the point of origin of the emotions you experience or the thoughts that are crossing your mind.

 

There were some beliefs that I held for true. Questioning them and checking in with their relevancy has freed up a lot of space in my mind to open to other views and grow as a person. It does not mean that I buy into everything I hear or that I change my position on certain issues based on what the last person said. I have fundamental views and ideas that I am glad to enrich with additional nuances of reasoning or inspirations from external sources. I merely find it indispensable to go check in once in a while with the thoughts that participate in building my belief system. I may observe that it is merely that, a belief. It is not a fact. It is not a universal truth. It can be opposed by contradictory examples. Then it is for me to decide what I want to do with that belief.

 

What is the purpose of challenging one’s belief system? Empowerment for one thing. If I free myself from my limiting beliefs I have access to a more proactive approach to life. If I believe economy sucks and there are no opportunities for my career I will most likely maintain a passive and whiny attitude combined with little to no action. Also, freeing oneself from the hold of certain beliefs opens up new avenues of thinking. The mind expands and where the mind goes the body follows and so do our actions and attitudes towards life in general.

 

Also, do you have pleasure having a conversation with a person who knows it all and who will just raise their voice when you merely venture an idea of your own? Did you ever witness a conversation where someone is in agreement with you yet they have to be “more right”. It is just sign they are not listening. If there is no listening then there is no exchange. We grow from connection. There is no way around it. When we hold on tight to our beliefs we deprive ourselves of a possible opportunity for growth.

 

In order to grow we have to be willing to bridge our knowledge gaps, be curious and inquisitive about the world that surrounds us as well as ourselves. The exercise of challenging our beliefs has for result to build trust in ourselves. Instead of solely relying on a belief, which places us more often than not on the effect side of the cause/effect equation, we are empowering ourselves in gaining awareness on what we do and why we interact with the world the way we do. As we gain a clearer understanding we have more choices and that places us on the cause side of the equation. This empowerment leads to more confidence and therefore to more trust and peace with life.

New Year’s Resolutions, Goals and Other Banana Peels

Stack of book and Open hardback book on blurred nature landscape backdrop against sunset sky with back light. Copy space, back to
© Roman Motizov | Dreamstime Stock Photos

New Year’s resolutions are simply the January trendy dress to goals. Whether it is a good resolution or a goal it may either fall into oblivion or we may fail to follow through. I would like to take a moment to look at some hurdles that may stand in our way to achieving that which we aim at.

New beginnings:
There is nothing wrong in following trends providing that they truly resonate with you. A number of people conceive January as the starting point of the year. It is a chance to take inventory of the past year, catch up with what was unachieved, change or confirm the direction we want to take in life.
It is a great time to affirm our intentions and share them with those who surround us. Creating some accountability increases our chances of success. January is also the opportunity to encourage one another in take more risks and design new plans. There is a value of collective effort and understanding that occurs at this time of the year. Let us take advantage of that.
Nonetheless, in case we miss that train, there are other times in the year where we can just as powerfully form our goals. As a matter of fact, each and every minute is a suitable time to make a new start, each minute has the potential to a new beginning and there really is no perfect time to set a new goal or refine an existing one.
After all, it is the present moment that truly carries the potency of success. The decisions and actions we take at each moment are the components that contribute to the success or failure of our endeavors.
Keeping this in mind and checking on a regular basis where we stand is what supports us in staying on track with achieving our goals. “Though you can’t go back and make a brand new start, my friend, you can start from now and make a brand new end.” (Anonymous) Granting these goals also the possibility of being malleable in reframing them as needed is indispensable to succeed.

Malleability:
Goals are stepping-stones to the accomplishment of a vision. The vision is the bigger picture and the goal is a stroke of the brush in the picture. It is a gear in the machine. Allowing a certain degree of malleability is necessary to success.
Being too rigid and sticking to a goal simply for the sake of achieving the goal may be detrimental to the greater purpose we care to realize. This is one of the pitfalls of being goal-oriented. When the goal becomes the purpose in itself regardless of its impact it may lead to delays, dissatisfaction or even counter-productivity. It may down right suck out the joy of a project and generate unnecessary stress.
Plus, there is something fundamentally unfulfilling in living from the achievement of a goal to the next. It contributes to the illusion that achieving the goal is key to happiness. We all heard “it’s the journey not the destination”.
Happiness is in the process and in enjoying experimenting, observing and adjusting, as needed, the parameters of the goal. Be capable of fluidity. Attributing some degree of malleability to our goals allows us to be process-oriented instead of curbing ourselves into a goal-oriented approach to life that can turn out to be stiffing and discouraging.

Realization:
Goals are stepping-stones to the realization of a larger project, a vision and or life purpose. And how do you eat an elephant? You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Goals are bites. As we edify our lives we need to break down our efforts into areas, areas into projects, projects into goals.
Goals can be like the stars in representation of constellations, they are independent from one another but once they are linked to each other they create a picture. When they are inscribed in a bigger picture they carry more power and recalling the big picture may provide a little extra motivation in darker times and keep the momentum going.

The word goal is used and abused. At a time where numerous people make resolutions and set goals they fail to make a true assessment of their passions. Also, they confuse this word and use it interchangeably with intention, purpose, design and such. They end up setting goals and making resolutions based on what they perceive to be appropriate and what they should do but it is not in touch with what they truly want. Then, they lose motivation quickly, if the motivation was there at all to begin with, and burden themselves with guilt and shame for not reaching the goal they have set or forgetting about their resolution.
A goal is just a tool that can be used efficiently or not. It is truly the go-to tool. More effort is made in designing the goal (who has not heard of SMART goals yet?) rather than contextualizing it and align it with what we want. For this tool participates in our development in the sense that we need to grow to reach them. As John Maxwell puts it in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: “If you focus on goals, you may hit goals … If you focus on growth, you will grow and always hit your goals.” He emphasizes the necessity of developing a plan for personal growth rather than simply expecting life to deliver lessons at random. In other words it is being intentional. How about designing a few goals dedicated to your personal growth to support your achievement goals?

FALL IN LOVE with your life

FALL in love with your life. Whether some areas of your life bring you discontent or you are not sure how things could get any better, one way to move forward is to find joy and enthusiasm for the present moment. To discover and to build resources and tools that will allow you to put a spring in your step, design a meaningful life.

Contact us to find out about our offers and more specifically our 3 months package. Take advantage of your complimentary discovery session and find out how coaching can support you in realizing yourself.

Call Florence at 954 826 9172 or send an email at florence@realizeunlimited.com .

Fall colors
Fall colors

Visions

Visions
What is 2015 going to be about for you?

Visions

A new year is beginning with its load of good resolutions. Most of which will be abandoned before the end of the month. To avoid that it is time to affirm one’s vision. It is only natural to wish for improvement from one year to the next and we all are motivated at first to loose this extra weight or quit our nasty habits. The worst part is that we give ourselves such a hard time when we fail to keep to our promises. So, not only did we not achieve our goals, we also end up more miserable then when we started.

There are two main reasons why these good resolutions do not stick. Firstly, we may not be as committed to the end result as much as we would like to. Secondly, we may fail to incorporate our goals into the bigger picture. In both cases the risk of failure is higher due to a lack of clarity on one’s vision or to a lack of authentic attachment to one’s vision.

To begin with, let me clarify what I mean by vision. A vision is a mental picture of how we see our future life. It is composed of elements that we have at heart to be and accomplish. A vision is a translation of our core values and deepest desires. It is the projection of our inner life to the outside world. It is the expression of our inner voice.

The more accurate and complete a vision is and the more likely we are to reach our goals. Jerrold Mundis points out that it is obvious that it is more difficult to get what we want if we are not clear about what it is in the first place. Let us say that I am starting to look for a new car. The more precise my description is the better chances I have to find my ideal car. It may seem counter intuitive at first. One would think that by keeping an open mind the chances of being happy are bigger. I say that if I have a clear idea of what I want I do not waste my time on checking out less satisfactory options. I save my energy by being specific and selective to begin with.

The place to start is by defining what it is that we want. It happens to be the most difficult phase for a number of us. Once again, we may let our desires be contaminated by our friends’ opinions or society’s standards. Being crystal clear and honest with ourselves is not that easy. We all are, to some degree, influenced by our surroundings. All this to say that creating an authentic vision of our life can be a little more challenging that what one may expect and a lot of times we fail to achieve our goals simply because our heart is just not really into it. We may unintentionally embrace others expectations for us rather than give ourselves permission to follow our own desires.

There are more than one way to build ones vision. Among the numerous techniques and methods, something as simple as talking and sharing our thoughts with someone else may be most effective. Having to articulate our thoughts and to hear oneself put it in words begins to give these mental constructions some validation and vividness. Journaling also helps to clarify our priorities and sort out what feels important from the more trivial. Vision boards provide us with a recurring reminder of our plans and desires. It is not a mere artistic project to pursue a rainy Sunday afternoon. By compiling pictures and phrases that really speak to us, inspire us and bring us joy we create new pathways in our brains and reinforce our commitments. We become more prone to take action when we have this constant reminder of what we want to achieve.

It is key to maintain a certain level of clarity on what we want. It may evolve and change with time but we need to set our inner compass in a certain direction and set a process into motion. Sadly, we all know how easy it is to let ourselves get swamped in our daily routines and to just “get by”. That is why holding up our vision for ourselves is critical in order reach the next level in our lives. It conveys a sense of purpose and when chasing our goals becomes a game it lightens up our everyday life.

For this reason, the goal of loosing our extra pounds has more chances to be reached when it is strongly anchored into a broader vision of a healthy life that allows us to enjoy and enhance the quality of our existence. It helps to overcome cravings or to let go more easily of the little slips we may have. By inscribing it in the big picture of the person we want to be and the happiness and freedom we gain by achieving this or that objective then the obstacles may become less discouraging or the challenges less overwhelming. The vision, when it is strong and well aligned with our authentic self will carry us through any hardship and add texture to our daily life.

Fear

Fears

 

I was struggling to find an idea for this month. Then I realized that one of the highlights of October is the celebration of Halloween. What is one of the central themes of Halloween? The answer I came up with is Fear. As kids we all love the excitation that fear brings along. We enjoy the occasional ghost story, the scary movie and the thrill of the roller coaster. Some of us stay hooked on adrenaline seeking speed, jumping off planes and taking risks in general. Scaring oneself is something we grow out of or not.

 

Regardless of how daredevil one may seem we all have deep ingrained fears that we need to overcome in order to live life to the fullest. For example, one may be perfectly comfortable with the rush that comes as a consequence of racing a car full speed and yet have a strong fear of commitment. We tend to measure bravery and courage through outstanding accomplishments that put us in danger or require strength and certain skills. For sure there is an element of courage in embarking on certain adventures but courageous does not mean fearless. Courage is to do something in the face of the fear that we are experiencing.

 

Fear can be obvious such as a fear of heights or spiders. We have a choice whether or not we want to conquer these fears. There is also a wide range of fears that are far subtler, embedded in our subconscious and that end up running our lives. The first step is to become aware of those fears. Some of them stem from our core beliefs. They are so inherent to our experience of life that they are invisible. Before we know it we make a whole set of decisions primarily based on our fears. It can be anything from a fear of looking stupid, making a wrong decision, failing, getting stuck, being betrayed and the list is endless.

 

We all react differently in the face of fear. Some get mildly challenged, others seriously slowed down in their progression and sadly some of us become utterly paralyzed. Our minds are powerful and can play some serious tricks on us. We become skilled at proving ourselves right by focusing on all that serves as evidence. An acronym for FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. Before we know it we whip up a very convincing story that our original statement is the Truth and we nurture it with more and more evidence: X cannot be trusted, snakes/cars/teddy bears are dangerous, Xs are all liars/crooks/dishonest and etc.

 

Fear gets to us on every level. It has its toll on our bodies. More than a study has demonstrated the immense impact of stress on our health. It cripples our mind as well. It is impossible to think straight when all we rehash is the negative fear-based self-talk we run on most of the day. It also harms us spiritually. We shut ourselves to the experience of life by trying to protect ourselves from physical and emotional pain.

 

Fear is not a harmless enemy. It is powerful and sneaky. It is the source of the blocks we encounter in our lives. We easily blame others and circumstances for not being exactly where we want to be in life but in truth we often are the reason why we are not as fulfilled as we could be. As scary as it is, when we decide to be 100% responsible for the life we have we experience empowerment. And in order to change our lives we need to become aware of what is stopping us. That alone requires an honest and demanding self-examination. Then we get a choice to stay where we are or to take on the challenges to transform our lives.

 

No matter what choices we make it is fundamental to confront our deepest fears. Where there is fear there is no place for growth or fulfillment. We cut ourselves from the beauty of life and we condemn ourselves to an existence of suffering where we feel powerless and victimized. Fear is the antithesis of love. Fear is a tough enemy and it possible to surmount it.

 

One of the numerous pay offs of tracking our fears is that on the other side of those we often find our true desires. When we overcome our fears we become more of who we are in essence. And as we reconnect with those desires we access a life where we live by our passions and from our hearts. Also by grounding ourselves in what makes our hearts sing we become stronger to face our remaining fears. We step out of a vicious circle where are fears run the show and constrict our lives to a place where we follow our passion and expand to who we want to be and align with our life purpose. Then we become unstoppable. It is a process that requires work and it is worth it.

Inspiration

It was pointed out to me the other day that there is a major difference between being motivated and being inspired. Motivation is an intellectual process. I am motivated to do something because I can see the sense in doing it, it is logical and I acknowledge the necessity of taking this or that course of action. What about inspiration? Is it not solely for artists? I can imagine the poet begging the muses for inspiration for instance.

Now that I come to think about it I have experienced inspiration in endeavors that were not necessarily artistic. I can recall several instances when I have been inspired. I guess inspiration speaks to the heart or maybe even soul when motivation speaks to the mind. I find that inspiration is somehow more powerful and sustainable. I can talk myself out of my motivation when it is impossible to take away inspiration. Inspiration may happen to be overshadowed by other strong experiences but it resurfaces as soon as it is given a chance to do so.

The reason why I am spending a little bit of time on the theme of inspiration is that it is only recently that I came to see it as yet another tool to access a more meaningful and thrilling life. I have for many years been an adept of “to do” lists. Not that I particularly like them but they happen to be most useful to me. Lately, I have come to see how weaving inspiration into my daily life has made a world of a difference. It is a most powerful driving force and activities that appeared dull or even irritating get to be ticked off my list almost effortlessly when I am inspired.

From now on I make a conscious effort to cultivate my inspiration and I devote a portion of my time to occupations that I find inspiring. It can be reading, listening to music, viewing Ted Talks or meditating. Also, I came to see that it comes far more easily when I am relaxed and my mind is opened. Cultivating a sense of awe is key to succeed in developing some level of sensitivity and receptivity.

It is my hope that these few words have inspired you to seek what speaks to you on a deeper level. So, what inspires you? Let us end with this quote by Joseph Campbell: “Just as anyone who listens to the muse will hear, you can write out of your own intention or out of inspiration. There is such a thing. It comes up and talks. And those who have heard deeply the rhythms and hymns of the gods, can recite those hymns in such a way that the gods will be attracted.” (The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work)

What Inspires You?