From the outside, it is often easy to see what someone else SHOULD do to fix their problems. However, it is not always easy to see what WE should do, when it comes to our own problems.
As humans we often create our own prisons. The beliefs that we have, end up making us feel trapped in situations and relationships that we don’t want to be in. But we don’t see any way to escape and do something different.
For example, Sally is in a miserable marriage, but she stays because she worries about what people will think if she leaves. She also believes that she won’t find another man to spend her time with because she is over 40years old and (in her thinking) all the good men are taken. These two beliefs, keep her trapped in a relationship, and a life, that are making her unhappy and unfulfilled.
Neither of these beliefs are actually true. The reality is that beliefs are just thoughts we have had, over and over again. They don’t actually need to be true. We have just repeated them so many times, that they are now automatic. And so we THINK they are true.
If Sally actually researched and studied her belief that she should live her life based on what other people think, she would realize how futile this belief is. The truth is, what we do with our life, is our business. How we feel, what we do, what we think, who we love, if we are happy or not. These things are all our own business, and no one else is responsible for any of it. We are 100% responsible for our own happiness, and for managing our own life. And everyone else is 100% responsible for managing their own lives. This means other people get to think whatever they chose to think. And what they think should not factor in the decisions we make about our own lives.
Honest research would also dis-prove Sally’s belief that she is doomed to spend the rest of her life alone, if she leaves her current relationship.
However, beliefs that create the feeling of fear, often keep us trapped and unable to change our circumstances, relationships or thoughts. What is outside our prison can seem hard and scary. So, we stay where we are and continue to feel trapped and unhappy, rather than face the challenge that stepping outside our prison might bring.
This applies to situations as well as relationships. For instance, we may be in a job we dislike, but the thought of going out and finding a new job brings up feelings of fear. Fear of rejection at job interviews. Fear of not being able to handle a new/different job. Fear of having to retrain etc. Our beliefs will convince us that it is safer to stay where we are, rather than step out, into a different situation.
If we feel like we are stuck in a situation or relationship that we want to change, a good place to start is to ask ourselves, what our ideal life would look like. Be honest. Don’t make up an ideal life based on what we SHOULD wish for, according to someone else’s wants or beliefs.
Then ask ourselves what is blocking us from having that life. What is the belief, or fear that is preventing that life from happening.
If we have difficulty changing that belief, or overcoming that fear, then a few sessions with a good coach, counselor or psychologist will help give us a different perspective. It may be that it is our thoughts that we need to change, rather than our situation or our relationship. Changing our thoughts may be all the freedom we need. Or it may be that we need to summon the courage to challenge our beliefs and potentially change our situation or relationship, so that we can live our very best life.
Written by Lynda Timperley Btch, Dip Psyc, Cert life coaching.
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