How do we find the hindering beliefs?
You first need to observe what goes on in your mind.
Image source: Dan Grinwis on Unsplash
We wander aimlessly in our minds every second of the day. And we let in things that we don’t even want, and as soon as they are conscious in our minds, they affect our emotions. As soon as we think of how stubborn our mom is or how horrible the customer service was at the dinner last night, we are hooked in the feeling of unpleasantness.
And they perpetuate while we don’t even notice. So to stop this bad chain reaction of our own thoughts, we need to know what goes on in our minds.
To know what goes on up there is to quiet everything and observe.
Observe what kind of thoughts often come up in your mind and where they lead you.
They already are frequent visitors in your mind, and they know what to do. They usually lead you to feel certain emotions without your will. They already have a well-developed pattern, a well-trodden path in your mind.
Image source: Morgan Housel on Unsplash
We’ve all got the same brain structure. But each circuit in our brain has a certain pattern of activity and reactivity. This pattern varies from person to person.
Some people worry more because their worrying circuit is more reactive than those who worry less. So how we think depends on the neural connections in these circuits.
Your neural circuits and patterns are like pathways. The more you travel down the path, the deeper it gets. Once it gets so distinctive, you can’t help but walk down that familiar road. Unless you create new pathways.
And that’s why we are observing our thoughts. So we can remove the roads we don’t want to go down again and develop new roads that lead us to where we want to be.
For example, when I think about writing, my thoughts usually flow like this.
I need to write. I need to keep updating contents if I want to be a writer. What contents can I create? Shouldn’t I write out of inspiration? I shouldn’t force myself to squeeze something out of my brain before they are ripe(or how do you say well-cooked?), should I? But I still need to be productive. Maybe I am not meant to be a writer because I don’t feel like writing most of the time..? Maybe writers are born to be writers, and I simply am not one. I just don’t have the talent. And I don’t really have anything to say! Why would people hear me? I am not as talented or experienced as other sought-after writers. Why should people read me, why?!
It goes on and on and on and on. And frequently, I arrive at my darkest place feeling discouraged to do anything writing-related. And what comforts me when I feel like that? Bad, bad things.
I’m sure some people have the same pattern.
Let thoughts run amok in your mind – Feel the consequences of it – Find comforts in the wrong things because you feel bad – Repeat
The only way to sever the link here is first to know these thoughts and patterns.
Write it down if you know you won’t remember it later. Once you have a list of frequently visited thoughts, draw a line on a piece of paper, write them down on the left side. And on the right side, write down the aftermath of those thoughts.
Guilt, embarrassment, discouragement, demotivation, sadness, lack, hopelessness, etc.
Or maybe you are naturally a happy camper, and you have these on the right side.
Happy, exhilarated, motivated, excited, thankful, blessed, etc.
Under the undesired emotions, debate the hell out of it with yourself. Argue!
I would write something like this.
Why shouldn’t people listen to me? I have something to say! I know certain things. I have my own perspective that might benefit others. Everyone starts somewhere.
Just like when your teacher corrected your assignment with the red pen with the right answers, you now identified the wrong answers; hence you can fix them with the right mindset, ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.
Once you have these counter thoughts that are beneficial and more desirable to you, highlight them and put them somewhere you often see, like on the fridge door or your phone and computer background.
Image source: Ben Wicks on Unsplash
After you do this exercise, ideally, you will remember to shut the thoughts with your own logical, positive thoughts and arguments. And instead of feeling horrible, you are empowered. Knowing that you can control yourself to be in a better feeling place where the magic happens.
Now, the most important thing in the observation process is not to judge. Or not to engage entirely. Just like the floppy, white clouds passing by, you notice them without judgement. Your thoughts are not you.
Remember, building a new road from the ground up takes time and it’s hard. But it will get easier and easier. Once you get things going and remind yourself often, one day it will become self-sustaining.
My other wrong belief is that you have to be mainstream and be the person who everyone likes to even be able to write! Big no! You can always find some people who are vibrating in the same frequency with you and my writing WILL resonate with them. Not all or majority of people need to like my writing. Period.
And this is how I happened to write this little piece of article. I hope this could somehow show you a small, flickering light to a better path.
Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.
Ralph Waldo Emerson