Don’t belief everything you think! Most of your thought patterns were established at a young age with limited knowledge. All of us undergo life cycles in which we need to make alterations to how we view our worlds. If this is not done, we limit our experiences so much that we can live in discontent or sadness for years. We all make use of generalizations, distortions and deletions. This is not right or wrong but it does have positive or negative effects for us, depending in which context we apply it to our daily experiences. In order to change limiting beliefs, you must first become aware of your thought patterns.
Generalization may lead a person to establish a rule: ‘don’t express feelings’-, and apply the rule to ‘all’ relationships. This rule in a war-camp may have great survival value, and avoid placing you in positions to be punished. However using the same rule in a marriage situation, limits the potential for spontaneity and intimacy, which could have been useful in a close relationship. Applying this rule in the latter will lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness, since the possibility of expressing feelings is not available in your model of the world. Such a rule or model must be evaluated in context; otherwise it causes emotional havoc in a person’s life! To change these generalizations you must first become aware of it. What is not your best interest, yet you still belief it to be true? In which areas of your life, does your rules hamper you, leaving you lonely, in despair, in distress?
Deletion is another mechanism we use to cope with life effectively or defeating ourselves. This is a process by which we filter out and exclude certain dimensions of our experiences. If you have a belief that you are not worth caring for, you will filter out and just ‘don’t hear’, ‘see’ or ‘feel’ any messages, words, or deeds of care from a loved one or any other person for that matter. You will go through life feeling ‘a worthless nobody’. Deletion reduces your world to proportions which you feel capable of handling. This reduction may be useful in some cases, but a source of pain in other situations. This mechanism of deletion intermingled with the above generalization is a deadly combination, and ensuring absolute unhappiness for any person.
Distortion is the mechanism we use to misrepresent reality in order to fit our experiences and beliefs. The same person who has the generalized belief ‘that he is not worth caring for’ may on hearing, seeing or feel a caring gesture, distort it to ‘Yeah, it is only because…’ Any goodwill will not be accepted as just goodwill. There will always another motive, and no ‘good intention’ is accepted for what is – ‘real care’. In this way you will prevented yourself from having a richer experience, blocking yourself from more intimate and satisfying relationships. You may ask the question: “What caused me to not belief in the goodwill of people around me? Why can’t I trust another person?
In the above example you are literally ‘unaware’ of any caring from others. Do you relate to this example? Unless you are challenged and make aware of the above, you will maintain this belief that ‘you are not worth caring for’ and live his life accordingly. Your generalizations, deletions and distortions will give positive feedback to expectations and situations that will confirm your belief that you are not worth caring for. This impoverished self-fulfilled prophecy will be maintained and the cycle will continue until challenged.
Are you aware of these structures in your thought patterns, why you use it the way you do? What beliefs are you holding in place that limit and restrict you? Through clarifying the intentions, conclusions or meanings and truths you give to situations, you can change how you feel and react towards it. It is well worth the challenge!
Till next time