Strength of our Beliefs – 3
THE STRENGTH OF OUR BELIEFS – 3
Copyright 2015© Julia Gilroy, all rights reserved world-wide
This is the third part of a post I began, describing how a certain way of thinking completely transformed my emotional and physical state and what an immediate and powerful experience it was. This led me to consider the strength of my beliefs and question if it was possible to change them, control them or just accept them.
Where do I begin? Another approach
The relationship between the idea that I should be reacting differently and my present state was incontestable.
Words such as ‘should’, ‘ought to’, ‘have to’, ‘must’ are about obligation and most commonly pronounced and acted upon without a thought. They are often associated with some strong beliefs so are worth pausing over and finding out if it is so.
One of the valuable tools in the LearningMethods work is to be able to recognise such words and extract the useful information from them.
I questioned the ‘should’ part of my idea -‘Why do I think that this last response of being tense and anxious is necessary? Who says it is the correct reaction? Where did this idea come from?
It took a few minutes to answer these questions and the answer seemed nonsensical.
It is important to relive the moment of your original idea from within that moment and not with hindsight. This often leaves you thinking that your reply doesn’t make sense and is worthless. However remember the moment when you had the thought it DID make sense, so much so, your whole system reacted to it.
In my case I had no idea where the idea came from but just had a strong feeling that being REALLY worried and stressed was more appropriate to the situation at hand than my present state. Nobody had told me that this was THE way to react, though, when I considered it for a moment, people around me followed this reactive sequence many times. In fact, I did myself. Phrases such as “It’s all too much,” “I can’t deal with all these problems” struck a chord.
A strong feeling* that I ought to be tense and worried when faced with so many difficult problems led me to the idea that I should be reacting differently to the situation. Nothing more nothing less. Crazy, unbelievable…. yet I had no other explanation at this point. What it came down to was that my habitual response of feeling stressed when several problems arose, fed into my belief that this was the ‘normal’ response to have in such a situation. No logic anywhere – just emotions dominating my belief…..
The only difference between the second before the transformation and the second afterwards was my approach to the problems.
This contrast had been so direct and clear to me that it made sense to look further into this moment. What had been my ideas and beliefs before the famous ‘should’ idea came in to action?
I realised that generally I have a tendency to merge difficulties together like a huge threatening cloud over my head. As they consolidate they transform into one huge, overwhelming and unsolvable issue. This leaves me feeling helpless, overburdened and miserable, just the state I was convinced I should be in! Years of repetition had ingrained this emotional response to such an extent that I had come to think that this was the ‘normal’ reaction to have in such a situation.
In the latest string of adverse events I had purposefully NOT taken them all on board at the same time but dealt with each one exclusively. I hadn’t even noticed how many were happening in such a small period of time, though I knew there were more than usual. What became clear to me, at this point, was that my recent way of handling the situation was at variance to my habitual way.
Change of approach – emotional v practical
Another difference I noted was that I had purposefully held back initial feelings of blame and judgment on myself and others. Over the last few months I had been observing how damaging and unconstructive such sentiments were. Consequently I could accept that mistakes and accidents happen in life whether we take the blame or blame others. Without being sucked into that emotional roller coaster I could focus on resolving the problems.
I had refused to be ruled by impractical feelings and taken an objective view of each event as it happened. Yes, I was emotional at times but I let go of the emotion or just lived through the moment and concentrated on the goal of sorting out the problem. Already I could see that this approach was different from my usual one.
* many of our thoughts about what we should or ought to do come from authoritative figures way back in our childhood or from our education or training. They are also commonly applied in our working lives. Such beliefs stay with us because, with repetition, they have become our habitual point of view. This is why, so often, there is no logical explanation for this framework of thinking.