Have you ever heard yourself say something that you’ve said a thousand times before, or made a decision based on some belief you’ve held forever and then thought, “Do I really even believe that?” I think we all do it, or at least I know I do. In psychotherapy it’s called “internalizing”. I was reminded of this tendency the other day during a conversation with a client.
This particular client loves going to the beach and, in the summer, occasionally takes a day off from work during the week to treat herself. I was surprised when she told me recently that she had gone to the beach on a weekend. The fact is, she had surprised herself! She’s always operated on the belief that you don’t go to the beach on the weekend, especially holiday weekends. It’s too crowded, you won’t find a place to sit, there will be terrible traffic, the parking lot will be full, blah blah, blah blah, blah blah. You get the idea.
So, when she woke up one day last weekend and wanted to go to the beach, she immediately began to hear all those voices in her head, listing all the reasons why she shouldn’t go. Then she had an “ah-ha” moment. Instead of believing the voices in her head, she stopped and questioned them. She realized that they weren’t her voice at all, and what they were saying was not her truth. It was her mother’s voice, and her mother’s truths.
SHE REALIZED IN THAT MOMENT THAT SHE DID NOT HAVE TO BELIEVE WHAT THE VOICE IN HER HEAD WAS TELLING HER.
SHE REALIZED THAT SHE HAD A CHOICE.
SHE REALIZED THAT SHE COULD TAKE ACTION BASED ON WHAT FELT TRUE FOR HER.
And she went to the beach, had a beautiful day and learned a great lesson.
SHE IS NOT HER THOUGHTS.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS.
Deciding whether or not to go to the beach on the weekend may not seem all that important. At face value, it’s not. But, beneath the surface, it represents much more than that. Now this woman knows that she can begin to question all of the so-called “truths” of her childhood, truths about her value, love, trust and forgiveness. She doesn’t have to live her life according to what she was told by others who were living out their own fears and demons. And as she does, and as she tosses out those “TRUTHS” that do not serve her, that have nothing to do with the truth of who she is as a beautiful, loving, caring spirit, she will be free to step into her own magnificent, authentic life.
So, the next time you find yourself repeating the same old belief, either out loud or in your head, stop for a moment. Take a breath, ask where this particular belief came from and then check in with your heart to see if it is true for you. It may or may not be, but at least now you will move forward from a place of awareness and choice.