Unlearning problematic beliefs

August 25 2014

Certain beliefs have been hardwired into our minds. From a very early age, our behavior has been molded by rewards and experiences. Thought patterns have formed impressive grooves onto our brains, so much in fact, that twenty, thirty, even forty years later, these patterns persist — some without us knowing, some incredibly damaging to our progress as human beings.

A few of mine, for example:

As fast as possible is always best (efficiency!).

“Doing nothing” is bad.

Self-sacrifice is noble.

Money means struggle.

I’m not sure what they are for you. They’re not always easy to uncover. Typically the worst ones manifest in subtle ways until slowly, overtime, their cumulative effects create disturbance. This is why thousands of Americans flock to doctors: there’s an issue to fix (depression, anxiety, disinterest, fatigue, high blood pressure, panic). These symptoms can result in lost jobs, broken relationships, low self-esteem, hopelessness or worse.

One of the best gifts you can give yourself is the space and time to look at possible causes of such symptoms. What is the root of the hardships you’re enduring? When you think you’ve identified the issue, push yourself to go even deeper. But please, don’t be afraid to consult a qualified therapist to walk you gently through this potentially dark and lonely forest. The right person can be a light as you find your way home.

It can take months, years to unlearn damaging beliefs. Be patient with yourself and stay focused on what you really want your life to look like. You’re worth it.