I’ve not always been so great with acceptance. I spent much of my life overly critical of myself and trying to change things for which I have no control. And as obvious as it may seem to me now, I never really examined those beliefs about what I can change or what is out of my control. Making those beliefs conscious is really helpful in understanding how we sometimes let ludicrous, unconscious beliefs drive how we feel and what we do.
In the spirit of bringing our unconscious and ludicrous beliefs to awareness, I am listing some for consideration. In what ways are the following statement(s) true in your life? Pick a few statements and really reflect to what degree you believe the following to be true:
- I can change someone else’s beliefs or behavior
- I can’t change or grow with regard to (my work, my relationship, my money…)
- I shouldn’t change or grow with regard to (my work, my relationship, my money…)
- They should change
- They can’t change
- I should have a say in how others live their life (our dependents aside)
- I should be (richer, more attractive, more successful, more appreciated….)
- Someone else should fix that or pay for that
- I should help them
- I should not help them
- I should fix or pay for that
- I am a failure/unattractive/unlovable/not safe/undeserving/entitled/important…
- I need to be viewed as successful/attractive/generous/smart/….
- I deserve …
- I’m better than/more important than (friend, colleague, loved one, stranger)
- I’m worse than/less important than (friend, colleague, loved one, stranger)
- Life should be fair
- My feelings/opinions should matter to others
- They should realize this truth
- I was harmed by (event, person)
- I need (thing, event, person)
- I’m bad at….
Just because a sentence or sentence stem here resonates with you doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a ludicrous belief. This exercise is simply intended for you to find more clarity and challenge your pre-existing beliefs.
For example, you might be completely correct that fixing the potholes in your community is not your job. Perhaps it’s worth really considering whether the statement is as black or white as you might believe (in this case, 100% not your responsibility). If your potholes are not getting fixed, then maybe you need to be the one to report it to local officials and advocate for better roads (perhaps, now 10% your responsibility).
A less obvious example may be your belief about your role in a suboptimal relationship. Do you abdicate all responsibility for the trouble in the relationship? Or do you believe it’s all your fault? Are you trying to change them or subjugate yourself? Do you believe it’s only they who need to change? What would be a more balanced view of the problems at play?
Now, I need a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate for all this hard work. I will be irrevocably harmed by not getting what I rightfully deserve.