Hi Friends! I hope you had a great week last week (wherever in the world that you might be!) Here in NZ it's wet and stormy. Winter is upon us! I'm writing this sitting in my warm room with the wind howling and the rain hammering on the windows. I'm feeling very thankful that I have a roof over my head at the moment!
Last week I asked you to pause, breathe and examine any difficult or triggering situations you may find yourself in at the moment. Did you do that? Did you notice anything about the way you were reacting to the situation? Was the way you were reacting familiar? Were the feelings or emotions that you experienced ones that you tend to experience regularly? What was the internal monologue that you listened to about that situation?
The reason I ask these questions is that if we do have a 'singular focus' (or set of negative beliefs) that's affecting the way we perceive events in life - then it is likely that completely different people or circumstances will leave us feeling the same way - or saying the same negative things about ourselves.
Do you know what these beliefs are? Sometimes people call them Core Beliefs - or King Lies. The lies say: "I am......, Others are......., The world is........" (E.g.: I'm Weak, others are stronger or more capable than me, the world would be an unsafe place - one that I should be wary of). If I believed that I am Weak, I would consciously or unconsciously live in fear that others would find out - so I'd either have to make myself look strong all the time (never asking for help / not showing emotion in public / always being happy / never being vulnerable etc.). Or I'd be the complete opposite and live like the "I'm weak" is true. I'd never feel up to doing anything on my own. I'd always need someone else to help me; or I'd say "no" to positive opportunities that come my way, (because if I'm weak I'd probably fail or mess it up anyway).
Everybody has these beliefs and they're all similar (weak, failure, unlovable, worthless, bad). Funnily enough, we all think we're the only one that thinks like that and that everybody else is 'normal.' It's usually only ourselves that we find it so easy to believe the negative about. It's not until we start recognising these beliefs for what they are - lies - and start deliberately challenging them; that we can start to make positive change in our lives.
Why are they lies you ask; especially in the moment when they feel very true? Remember last week's blog? It's in those moments of pain or trauma as a child - when we start believing that the things people have said are true - or that the bad things that happened were my fault. And that lie is reinforced by our thinking and behaviour again and again for the rest of our lives - or until we do something about it.
For example, if I have recognised that I carry the belief of "I am weak" I could learn about all the different subtle ways it affects my life. I could acknowledge that if I'm upset or sad about something, I'm likely to 'put on a happy face' and pretend like everything's ok. So, I could instead make the choice to be vulnerable with close and trusted people in my life who I know can comfort me and give good advice. I could reframe my "I am weak" to the truth: "I am a good person who has strengths and weakness like anyone else. I can choose to let myself be vulnerable with safe people."
Learning to live without these "King Lies" affecting our lives is the journey of a lifetime - and it's a very important one. When we can understand why we think the way we do; and why we interpret different events the way we do; and why we react to certain people the way we do - then suddenly we are very powerful. No longer do our thoughts have the ability to sabotage our days. Suddenly we have the insight to understand what is going on in a situation and to make a good choice in the moment. This is hugely significant! We can act instead of reacting.
If some of what has been said over the last three weeks has resounded with you, I would encourage you to ponder this further. Often this area can be painful or confusing to work through on your own. Especially if there is past trauma or strong pain involved, I encourage you to seek professional help from someone trained in this area. Your local doctor will be able to refer you on to someone who can help - or just search up therapists in your area. Find someone you connect with. Even if you are managing well in life - but you still identify with all of the above - do something about it! Who doesn't want more joy in their lives?
As I read back over what I've written I realize that I started this blog on Monday - when it was wet and cold. Now it's Tuesday morning and, as per normal Auckland weather; the sun is now streaming through the window. Isn't that a great metaphor for change? When we're in the stormy seasons it's hard to remember that sunshine is coming. But it is. Don't allow yourself to be trapped by negative thinking - just because it feels normal. Life's too short to not throw yourself in 100% and wring as much goodness out of it that you can!
P.S. My book "Voices of Pain and the Voice of Hope" is designed to help you identify and move from patterns of negative thinking. Click on the link to the right or the Voices of Pain and the Voice of Hope tab find out more information and purchase the book!