Think about what you know. How did you come to know this?
Now think about what you believe. Is it different from what you know? Why or why not?
What we believe and what we know (and what we think we know) organizes our philosophy on life- our paradigm, our mindset. It is why we behave the way we do, have the kinds of relationships we have, and it informs our level of satisfaction with our lives. Essentially, our mindset is… us. And we are our mindset.
Within our mindset each of us has a set of assumptions, which creates our operating system. We have methods to address, work within, and challenge these assumptions. This creates the impetus for us to make particular choices on every level- how we behave in our relationships, what we do for work, how we interact, how we manage conflict, everything. It provides us with a motivation to accept or not accept.
When I ask people how they’ve come to know or believe things about themselves, they often tell me stories of interactions they have had with others, gains and losses they have experienced, and how they’ve interpreted such experiences.
It’s easy to see how some of us create a particular meaning out of the information we receive. For instance, if I experience a lot of mismanaged conflict with my family, I might believe/”know” that they don’t appreciate me. If I believe or “know” this to be true, it will impact most of our interactions, and I might begin to feel defensive around them. This might cause me to behave in an aggressive, hostile, or otherwise distancing way during our interactions. Our relationship will start to feel unsatisfactory, and that experience will fuel my belief that my family doesn’t appreciate me. At this rate, I will feel increasingly alienated from my loved ones. That mismanaged conflict will have taken a stronghold on my beliefs, my relationships, and my life.
What would happen if I start to ask questions about the conflict I am experiencing, if I wonder about the information rather than ascribe meaning to it? What if I allow myself to be curious about this experience, allow myself to challenge beliefs that I have adopted? This complicated pain will begin to shift to transparent contributing factors. I will have a better grasp on the information and what it might mean. I will be able to reorganize what I believe is happening within my relationships. My perspective will begin to change.
What if you became more curious about what you know and believe? What would happen if you challenged how shy you think you are, how smart, how needy, how sensitive, or how mean you are?
Eventually, you will feel less dependent on what you have incorporated as part of your philosophy on life because you will have begun to trust yourself. You’ll start to feel safer challenging your beliefs, less defensive when others challenge you. You’ll equate these challenges with increased learning and development. You will find that failure is not a threatening statement about your capabilities, but a chance for refinement. Where you once felt a sense of safety in defining yourself with various restrictive proclamations (“I’m… smart stupid, bad/good at relationships, a good athlete, shy, Type A, mellow, easy/hard to please, socially inept, charming,“ – whatever.), you will realize how dangerously confining they are.
You don’t need them.
Love and Be Loved,