I am the only person inside my head. There is nobody else in here.
Sometimes that doesn’t seem true. Things that I watch and absorb of the world around me get in there. Frequently, it feels as though the influence of other sources could overwhelm me.
This is not the reality of this, however. I am the only one in here and as such the only one capable of being mindful of me. That means that my thoughts, feelings, and actions belong to me and me alone. I can learn things from other people, make new discoveries about life, the Universe, and everything. There are tons of resources I can turn to and ideas from other people I can apply to myself.
No matter how you look at it, though, it’s all up to me. I have all of the power to influence, control, alter, and change my mindset.
Everyone has this power. I have it, you have it, random strangers you see on the street have it. Part of being human is the empowerment you possess to change your mindset.
This takes a lot of work, though. Especially when you are working with deeply-rooted, outdated and unhelpful beliefs.
What is a belief?
This speaks of the core of who you are. What you believe is an enormous part of what makes you, you.
These can be infinitely small matters that, for the most part, appear to be nothing. They can also be grand-scale, all-encompassing issues by which you identify yourself.
This is not about religion, philosophy, or the hooky-spooky — although all of these are a part of belief.
Belief, in this context, is the things you tell yourself. It’s the thoughts that run through your head consciously, subconsciously, and even unconsciously.
A great many of your beliefs were formed when you were young and impressionable. Then, because of the age and your underdeveloped mind — specifically your frontal lobe — they get buried deep. So deep that they live on the border of unconscious and subconscious.
What’s the difference? Unconscious thought is the stuff of automation. Breathing, swallowing, dreaming, all the firings of your neurons to control the muscles in your body, and so on. Subconscious, on the other hand, are involuntary thoughts, feelings, and even actions (like biting your fingernails) that you could draw up to consciousness if you chose to.
Many of the beliefs you hold were created so long ago in your life that you may not even recognize them for what they are. Hence, the unconscious mind holding them. Most of these are not entirely your own, but you took them in and made them such.
Examples of beliefs not your own
I hold a number of old, buried, ancient beliefs that I have been addressing and working to change. This is one of the key components of changing mindset.
However, it’s not unusual to realize these need to be addressed until well into the process of working on mindfulness to change your overall mindset.
Quick necessary disclaimer, since they might read this: I am not blaming anyone here. Blame does no good. When you are impressionable in your youth you are a sponge, and thus incapable of picking and choosing what to absorb.
First — my mom has an odd relationship with money. It is a constant topic of conversation, rife with comparison, who has what, the things needed, and that which you don’t have. There never seems to be enough, and you always need more.
Second — weight. My family has an obsession with body and weight. Too heavy, out of shape, yo-yo-ing up and down. Yet food is comfort, and eating is an excellent coping mechanism for depression.
Third — Only certain jobs are money-makers. Doctor, lawyer, merchant-chief, etc. Anything else is subject to struggle.
There are many other examples from my childhood, but these will do. Because of the impression these made on me, in my youth, I created beliefs that include:
· Having and keeping money is a must, but also an expected struggle
· Getting into shape is a constant challenge
· I won’t make decent money unless I choose a more lucrative but pedestrian career
It doesn’t take a psychologist to see why these, and other unconscious/subconscious beliefs, mess me up as they do, now.
However, now that I can identify and recognize these, I get to choose what to do about them.
Choosing to change mindset
My overall mindset has been impacted by the above and other old, old, virtually unconscious beliefs.
With my understanding of this, it is entirely up to me to determine how to change it. This gets challenging. It is not just a matter of becoming aware of what I am thinking, what and how I am feeling, and my actions. Mindfulness is important to this, of course. But mindset goes further.
To change mindset I have to get at those old, outdated, not-of-my-own-making beliefs. They were absorbed deep into my psyche. As such, rooting them out presents several challenges.
To begin with, I have to find them. The base. The roots. Where are they buried inside my head?
Then, I need to address them. This is where it gets the most challenging. These tend to become your brain weasels, the voices in your head that tell you that you’re not good enough, incapable, unworthy, and undeserving. They are ghosts, echoes, insubstantial bogeymen lacking in form.
You will recognize them when you feel doubt. When you are trying to believe something different from them. For example, I am working on seeing myself as getting into better shape and making a real salary with my chosen career.
However, I have a ton of doubts. What if I am fooling myself? What if this is impossible? How can I possibly think this will work?
It is here I need to create new beliefs to replace the old beliefs, in order to eliminate those doubts.
You cannot undo what is done. Ergo, you can’t undo the beliefs that were created within your psyche in your childhood.
But you can replace them. This, however, is NOT easy and takes time, practice, and patience.
Planting new seeds
Creating a new belief, counter to an old belief, takes work. It’s just a single step in the process of changing your overall mindset, but an often necessary one.
This guide is imperfect, and still a work-in-progress, but this is how, I believe, you can change an old belief:
1. Identify the old belief. What, specifically, IS the old belief? Because it’s an echo, a shadow, truly getting at its root takes work.
2. Get to know the old belief. Once you see it, you need to become familiar with it. Again, this allows you to understand the what and how of it.
3. Acknowledge the old belief. It’s easy to disregard this as outdated programming because it is. But you can’t just see it and then ignore it. You need to thank it for the work it has done.
4. Release the old belief. Meditate on this, write it out, or do something to consciously release this belief. This HAS to be a conscious act, or it will always be there.
Important caveat: A hint of the old belief will ALWAYS be there. I don’t believe it’s possible to ever fully release these. They lurk in shadows but become easier to deal with after these actions.
5. Plant the new belief. Another totally conscious act. You need to take the new belief you desire to replace the old belief with. It must be planted where the old belief was, or it won’t become a replacement for it.
6. Be mindful of the new belief. Think about it. Feel it. The old belief was unconscious/subconscious, while the new belief is a part of your desired new mindset.
7. Believe the new belief. Sure, this might seem obvious…but if don’t believe it, feeding it as such, it won’t grow.
A new mindset
When you are actively working to create a new mindset, it can be infuriating. The people in your life may not be understanding, and you yourself might get frustrated with the process.
This is how you create a life that excites you. Changing mindset is how you better consciously create reality and grow in a direction you desire to.
I very much desire to take my life in a certain direction. Lately, I have become frustrated, because it’s not quite going as I intend it to. This, I realize, is due to my need to take the above steps and replace some very old beliefs. That will allow me to create this new mindset without being haunted by old, outdated programs that are not necessary.
I’ve done it before. It is worthwhile, and I am both worthy and deserving of making it happen. Changing my mindset is definitely easier said than done — but totally worthwhile because I am empowered to choose the life I desire to experience.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, as does your overall mindset.