Thursday, August 27, 2009

getting rid of old (icky) beliefs in three easy steps!

Step 1: Identify the old (icky) belief
Step 2: Pick a new (non-icky) one to take its place
Step 3: Give it a whirl

The end.

Ok, ok, I'm oversimplifying, but only sort of.

Step 1: Identifying the old (icky) belief

How do you know when something you believe isn't serving you anymore? Here are a couple of ideas:

-- Listen to what your body has to say about it. Do you get a sinking feeling when you think that thought? Do your shoulders climb up to your ears? Would you rather just crawl back into bed forever? Or maybe you want to punch someone? All of these are good indicators that a belief isn't serving you. Even just a deadness or a flatness in response to a belief or thought can highlight an outdated (e.g. icky) belief.

-- Ask trusted friends or family members. (But only the ones you're ok with being right.)

-- Explore and define your belief. If you're thinking "I'm not meeting men because I have high standards," define each word carefully. What do you mean by "meeting" and "men" and "high standards"? Write out full definitions of what these words mean to you -- without consulting the dictionary. (Unless you wrote it.)

-- Gather evidence about your belief and its opposite. If your belief is "Taking time for myself is bad," look in your life and see where that is true and where that is false. (Again, be sure to explore and define your belief first.)

Step 2: Picking a new (non-icky) belief to take its place

This one seems harder than it is. Since beliefs are about how you interpret a situation, you're in charge of them. Yes, of course, you learned something was "true" when you were a kid -- and it may, in fact, have been true -- and you think it's still true now, but the odds are that if you learned ick as a kid, you don't need ick as an adult.

Think of beliefs as sweaters. Would you wear the sweater you wore to kindergarten on a date today? It just wouldn't fit. (And, man, would it hurt the eyes.)

Ways to generate non-icky ideas:

-- The easiest way is to flip around the old (icky) one you've been schlepping around your whole life. If you're "no good," pick "I'm good!" If you're "lazy" pick "I'm active." (Note, however, while this may be the easiest one to generate, it may be the hardest one to try on.)

-- Ask yourself what other ways you could see this belief? What other words could you use, or other ways you could define those words?

-- What belief might your best friend/mentor/parent/lover encourage you to have?

-- What belief have you always wanted to have?

-- What do your role models believe? (Or, what do you think your role models believe?)

Step 3: Give it a whirl

What's beautiful about this step is that no matter what new (non-icky) belief you pick, it stands a really good chance of being better than the old (icky) one you've been using all along, so you CAN'T GO WRONG!

Just sayin'.

Try on your new belief (like a sweater). See how it feels in your body. When you feel the old belief creeping back in, take a deep breath, and switch your mind back over to the new one.

A good way to really give this a whirl is to assign yourself a task that brings up the old belief. For example, if your old belief is "no woman would want to date me" then sign up for an online dating service. Every time you look at that site, you have an opportunity to try on the new belief. And when the new belief falters, look to see if there are additional old (icky) beliefs underneath that one.

And then repeat the process.

I promise you, you're worth it!

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