Break out of the negative habits that have sometimes been drilled into us since childhood says DESPINA NICOLA

Investing in self-care can often bring up unpleasant feelings about the way that family members raised us. Well-meaning adults may have contributed to our insecurities. They only wanted to protect us but ended up by instilling beliefs that were detrimental to our future. Beliefs that have been drilled into us from childhood, like big boys don’t cry, or good girls don’t get angry.

In my 30 years of teaching, I have heard parents talk about themselves or to their children in detrimental ways like: ‘Life is a struggle’, ‘If others don’t approve of me, I’m a nothing’, ‘I don’t have time/talent’.

Below are some other examples of limited views and the stories you might say to yourself. These are from past beliefs that have been anchored into your character. Once you are aware of them, you can use a stance against them, like in the example below.

I’m pathetic.

Nothing is working for me.

I cannot risk it now.

If I fail, everyone is going to say I told you so and laugh at me.

What would happen if we could challenge our flawed beliefs and take our timeline apart. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to see how the negative imprints happened. We could then change our perception of ourselves and use different language that does not obstruct the future, like the below:

I now take responsibility and control my life. Shit happens! I have power and change my situation for the better.

I choose to get out of feeling stuck and being in my comfort zone. I do not feel sorry for myself! Enough is enough! I decide to turn a new page. I am ready for correction!

Therefore, if you fail, it only means you have made your first attempt, and if someone says a No to you it just means Next Opportunity!

It is your turn to flip the switch and challenge those negative imprints. The following activity will aid you. Fill in the questions below.

How can I objectively justify my flawed beliefs?

List all the events that happened from the past that bought about these beliefs.

Is the belief a clear representation of all my life?

Does it pinpoint the negative and positive outcomes?

Does this belief serve my wellbeing? How does/doesn’t it? Where exactly did this belief come from: me, family, friends, etc.?

The beliefs are in the past and are about your memories and nothing more. So, they are your history. They can’t be changed. They are the memories which are stored in dark places of your mind and are hard to get to.

Memories are the programmes that continually play, and even though trying to change your programme is difficult, you must! You have a choice to accept what happened and to admit they are not conducive to the present. But then, choose to move on to fulfillment.

Fake it until you make it!

By continually acting differently, it will slowly get imprinted into your life. The present is what you have control over, it is your chance to take responsibility and to stand up!

“The past is history. The future is a mystery. This moment is a gift; that is why this moment is called the present. Enjoy it.” Allan Johnson.

To make this clearer, I would like to explain how our upbringing affects our lives in a story. It explains how our past enslaves us and how learning to be helpless takes place. It uses animals as an example, more specifically elephants. Many zoos and circuses get their elephants from abroad. Many are either orphaned or stolen infants.

They are taken to a reserve where employees tie them to a pole, and the infant might pull and pull for endless days. They soon accept that the noose around their neck is not loosening, and then they become domesticated.

These animals lose their identity, purpose and family bond. The animal learns to obey the trainer and to perform ludicrous tricks. It becomes depressed and miserable and later has infants with reprogrammed genes that are also domesticated. The animals generate money for their owners and entertainment.

These elephants can be compared to people. Many try to push you into doing or being the way they want you to be. But it is your job to step out of the victim role and take responsibility for your life. Stand up for your values, however daunting they are. You may feel like an impostor in the beginning, but by standing up for yourself regularly, you become the protagonist.

I heard a talk by Jordon Peterson about adopting a monster persona. I was a little shocked but then realized how right he is. All heroes in movies have a monster persona. They are rebels and fight against the norms, like Batman and Harry Potter who fight against the rules. If you are too passive in life and accept the status-quo, you adopt the rabbit persona that when it gets caught, it gets eaten!