Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Power of Beliefs

Today started out like one of those days where it just seemed easier/better to crawl back into bed and start over. I didn’t sleep very well last night and I thought that I had to get up extra early for an appointment. It turns out the joke was on me, because the appointment was an hour later then I thought, so I got up super early for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON and then had to wait around because of it. *cue instant frustration* 

I complained to a few people about how I was having an off day and how things were continuing to follow that pattern.  Out of nowhere I had what I consider a “light bulb” moment. I realized that maybe I was having a bad day because I BELIEVED that I was going to have a bad day. When my alarm went off this morning and I groaned and got out of bed, I was already convinced that the day was going to suck and this was way before I ended up an hour early to my appointment or I temporarily lost my Gator ID. (Neither of which are THAT bad) 

After this realization I decided that I was going to try a little experiment, instead of continuing to believe that my day was going to continue to suck, I told myself” today is going to be a good day”. I decided that maybe if I changed my belief, my actions and the things around me would follow. After all, maybe it is really all about perspective?

Although my day hasn’t really changed either way, it hasn’t really been exceptionally bad or good; this really got me thinking about the things that we choose to believe and how those beliefs affect us. 

For the longest time I have believed a lot of negative things about myself; that I am not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, successful enough, hardworking enough. Just take any good attribute and put enough in front of it and my doubts soar. Although I have made mistakes and have had negative things thrown my way, I have very little, if any, evidence that these things are true. Yet, I have believed them for as long as I remember.  

We are constantly being fed information; from colleagues, family, friends, the media etc. Every time we open our eyes (I was going to say step out of our door but you don’t even need to do that anymore thanks to televisions and computers) tons of information, opinions and ideas are being thrown our way. Some of this is good and a lot of it is total BS and unless we live under a rock (which would bring challenges of its own); we are probably never going to be able to escape it. However the good news is, we get to pick and choose what we believe. 

Everywhere I turn someone is telling me about the latest diet, about how being thin can get you anything you want in life, about how great over exercising is, how fat is bad, how we need to conform and listen to those around us, how we should not stand out but instead fit in, how we should do our job, run our lives and still look fabulous in the process. There are how-to guides for everything these days and ideals for everything as well. I think everyone would agree that there is a certain image of how people are supposed to live, parent, eat, work, date etc. I, and am sure others can relate, have heard this garbage for so many years, that not only have I bought into it but I have believed it to the core of my being. For the past few years, I didn’t even need anyone telling me any of this nonsense because it was so engrained in my belief system that it wasn’t necessary. I drank the Kool-Aid a long time ago and was even handing out free samples.

So now what?

Just like I have the power to alter my beliefs about the status of my day, I also have the power to change my beliefs about myself. I can continue to believe the lies that I have told myself (and sometimes heard from other people) for years and in all honesty a lot of the time I still do. But I also can choose to believe differently. And today I am going to give it a try. Instead of believing that I am not good/thin/smart/hardworking/pretty etc. enough, I am going to tell myself that I am just the right amount of all of those things. Instead of believing that giving into eating disorder behaviors is going to make me feel better and my life easier, I am going to believe that I am fully capable of handling life and all its uncertainties on my own. And most importantly, instead of hoping/thinking that all of these beliefs are going to change overnight and with this little exercise, I am going to believe that with hard work, compassion and patience they will change over time. After all, I didn’t form these beliefs overnight. 

What do you believe about yourself and how does it affect who you are and how you live your life? Because I hate going at things alone, I challenge you to think about your beliefs and where they come from. Are they actually true or helping you in any way? Do they come from outside sources or are they things that you tell yourself? Do you want to believe differently? If so, then do it. You are the only one stopping yourself.

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