limiting beliefs

Connections are Reflections

I realize today that my security is internal. It comes as a result of living a life that is based on success and happiness as I define it. My definitions of success and happiness are centered around love, peace of mind, and a strong sense of connection to others. My relationships both reflect and reinforce that fact.

The more we are able to recognize our patterns of fear and negativity,
the more we can create positive and loving relationships in our lives.

Fear and negativity are fed by false and negative beliefs about the motives of other people. As a result of these limiting and fearful beliefs, many people use flawed definitions of relationships, such as “Relationships are hard work” and “Relationships are 50/50,” to justify isolation and loneliness. If we see other people as enemies who are trying to take advantage of us, then it will be very difficult to feel a true sense of connection and closeness. When we are able to truly take responsibility for our decisions and actions, we can form definitions of relationships that are rooted in love and enhancement.
Relationships can certainly be complicated. When people come together at any level, there are belief systems, preferences, and motives to be acknowledged. This process does not have to be painful. Although it can be scary, and sometimes frustrating, building positive healthy relationships is one of the key factors in a joyous life experience. The biggest challenge is deciding whether you have the willingness to take responsibility for your behavior.

•    How we live and perceive life is a choice.
•    A close relationship consists of each individual’s 100% commitment to its success.
•    Flexibility is essential in building strong relationships.

•    The only actions I can truly control are my own.
•    Building relationships can be complicated. In order to bui
ld strong relationships I must take responsibility for my own actions.

Here are some simple steps to assist you in this area:

  • Answer this question, “Am I cynical about other people’s motives in wanting to get to know me?”  Write down the ways you notice your reaction to meeting someone new.
  • Name five rigid beliefs you have that stop you from forming relationships with people. (Example: I would never talk to him because he is ________)
  • Write down a few examples of how you expect other people to meet you half-way. Are these realistic expectations?
  • If people don’t live up to these expectations, do you sabotage the relationship?

You can disengage from negativity at whatever point you choose. Your relationships will reflect how you define happiness. Don’t expect other people to spend their time and energy pleasing you. Let go of your expectations and live free!

Thoughts on Humility

2325686115_9baa8eafd4Photo credit:Toni VC via Flickr

This will involve a paradigm shift for most people. This idea is certainly a shift for me. I, like most people I know, have always been aware of the importance of humility. Although humility is sometimes difficult to achieve or maintain, it is critical to peaceful living. Unfortunately most people believe in order to be humble we must put ourselves down. The idea behind this concept is to deflate the ego.

I agree that too much pride can be extremely destructive. I have certainly made many mistakes as a result of holding on to too much of it. However, to believe humiliation is the key to humility is an unfortunate mistake. Many are taught to be hard on themselves and gentle to others. I understand the idea behind this philosophy, but I completely disagree.

Kindness creates kindness. When I attempt to practice humility through self -deprecation, being kind to others becomes an act of desperation. This desperation is due to the need for any positive interaction. The problem is the humility seems false and the other person feels used. It may not be obvious but this has a tremendously negative effect on all relationships.

Seeing your own positive characteristics does not make you vain. What makes someone vain, or inappropriately prideful, is when the actions do not match the internal beliefs. In other words, if I am attempting to convince the world of what a good person I am but internally I am constantly judging others, I will come across as arrogant and prideful.

Listening to the positive feedback you receive from people will strengthen your character. Many believe that “reading your own press clippings” will create inevitable self-destruction.” It is important to hear positive feedback. The problem occurs when someone feels they have earned praise dishonestly or through means of manipulation. There are many simple ways to achieve and maintain humility. Here are a few:

  • Be honest in all situations
  • Be genuinely you
  • Seek feedback as often as possible
  • Respond to the feedback you receive, positive or negative
  • Be vulnerable so you connect with others 

All of these steps are simple and can be practiced daily. Do your best to be exactly who you are today. When this is the case, humility comes naturally.

.477956183_2f43df7e0dPhoto credit:Jaimie Sun via Flickr

Any Old A**hole Can Change

Ruckles Provincial Park, B.C.I have made some really dumb statements in my life. I mean some really, really narrow minded black and white statements. One of the doosies I used for a long time was about how my world was really small. I really said that. I meant it, too. Not only did I say it and mean it, I made it happen.

The premise of this statement was to live in principle. What I would tell myself is that as a result of standing by my principles that my path would become very narrow and my world would become small. The reality is that I allowed myself to live in more fear and to justify some very limiting beliefs.

I am a man of principle. I am very committed to the way I live. However, my life contains many layers. With these layers come a wonderful diversity in relationships. I no longer choose to limit myself under the rationalization of ” living in principle.” I realize today that not only do other people  have different opinions, but that based on their definition of happiness, they are right! 

In other words, it is cool that I have formed perceptions of life based on my experiences. I also know that other people can benefit from what I have learned based on these experiences. A part of my maturation process is realizing that I can benefit from the experience of others. This sounds so overly simple but it is very important to recognize the importance of building and maintaining diverse relationships in order to enhance the richness of life. If I limit myself to only spending time with people who share my opinions, I will never give myself the opportunity to widen my perspective. I don’t want to live that way. What do you think?

Radically Change

I am currently at the annual Live and Learn Conference in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Live and Learn is a conference my family and I have attended for the past four years. Through it we have made many valuable connections and gained vital validation for the direction we have chosen to  build our family. In case you were wondering, Live and Learn is a conference for families who adhere to a philosophy called “radical un-schooling.”

Without going into an entire explanation of radical un-schooling, which would be very subjective anyway, I am going to share a synopsis of my experiences at these conferences from an emotional and awareness based perspective. 

Wendy, my wife, and I discussed our philosophies in regard to child rearing long before our daughter was born. Neither one of us bought into the classically accepted educational practices that are common in our society and we wanted our daughter to know that she is an equal member of our family from day one. I combined both of these thoughts into one sentence for a reason. Our society has an obsession with catergorizing people, children in particular. A large part of this catergorization begins the first day a child steps into a classroom. From standardized tests to standardized lessons, people are taught to seek the status quo and “rise” to the level of normal. While this phenomenon is taking place children are also reminded daily that they are less important than the adults in their lives on all levels. Their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and desires are dismissed as childish whims or as a waste of valuable time. These messages are reinforced every time a child is reprimanded and told to be quiet or to leave adults alone.

It is unbelievable to me that people act confused as to how we have the societal problems we have. The values of creativity, compassion, and communication are sold out to the gods of compliance, status quo, and secret keeping. By the way, if you disagree with the secret keeping part ask yourself if you believe in the limiting, yet popular, belief of “it’s nobody’s business.” There are some simple solutions that begin at home. These solutions are simple to understand but hard to do. For many people it means challenging some belief systems that have existed for generations. However if your life is filled with acrimony and you are having a difficult time making connections with people, children in particular, keep reading.

  1. Love is a much more powerful influence than societal pressure. Simply stop and realize that no matter how badly you may desire the acceptance of society as a whole, you are surrounded by people who want what is best for you all of the time. If you truly believe this you will continue to attract more people to you who share this belief
  2. Life is not a race. It is neither a 50 yard dash or a marathon. Don’t you love hackneyed cliches? Although I understand what people are trying to explain with this statement, it is still a limiting belief. Life, as an experience, is not a competition of any variety. Live through love. Love through understanding. Understand through connecting. Catch my drift?
  3. Your mind is yours. Experience your life. Control, judgement, criticism, and complaining create jaded and lonely people. I have been all of these things before. It sucks. Joy and happiness are free to anyone who seeks them. If you are a negative person you have the power to change right now. It doesn’t matter what your process may be, you can change right now. What does it take? A decision. Decide that you want a life filled with laughter and love and it is yours. 

Radically un-learn. Many people have developed entire belief systems on lack and negativity. Always know that this is a choice. There is always someone who understands. There is always a way to change. There is always someone who loves you, even those who are convinced that they are unloveable.

Until next time…..