You can heal your life – Change

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.

Nathaniel Branden

This post is the continuation of my learning from the book, You can heal your life by Louise Hay. What is the next step after revisiting and identifying all the beliefs you have? House cleaning!

Yes. After identifying all the beliefs residing in you and analyzing them, it is time for house cleaning for the mind. Clean up, retain the beliefs that are helping you to sustain and grow. Nourish the ones that you need to enhance for your better present and future. Thank the old beliefs that are limiting you and not adding any values in your life. It could be any belief like, you should not talk to a stranger (from childhood), you are not a good speaker/dancer/athlete (early adulthood), or you are not enough/ not good and other guilt-related beliefs. Thank those unwanted thoughts and beliefs which stayed with you for a long/short time, release them away.

Getting rid of unwanted beliefs and thoughts is very much necessary for you. It helps you to develop new beliefs that could help you to be happy and grow. It’s like the Zen story about the teacup. Unless you empty the cup, you can not fill in the fresh tea.

So, it is quite a lot of work to do. Change and willingness to change are the keys to go through this transformation. But, we still have the brain wiring from the days of hunter-gatherers that like to maintain the status quo. We have our brain that makes us stick to what we are and how we are. So it creates Resistance to Change. 

It was a need to protect oneself to stay with familiar surroundings and people while living in the forest with predators lurking and no safe shelters. Because of the constant threat to life, they had to look for familiar places/ situations/ people. Though we are safe by 100x more than people at that time, we try to avoid changes as much as possible.

Everyone wants change, but when it comes to select what and how they like to change themselves, resistance would pop up to create the hurdles on the way. Observe yourself and watch how you resist. You may do it in different ways. Let us explore some of them. Consider the example of regular exercises and healthy food habits which you are planning to start.

Physical/nonverbal way: You may avoid talking about it, or fall sick or get a headache/ cold so that you cannot go to the gym/walk. You may go late to the venue so that you won’t get a place. You may continue doing the previous task so that you can skip going as you are busy. You may forget or avoid seeing messages/reminders which would push you to get up and go.

Assumptions: Assuming things about others to justify our resistance. Think of other people going to the gym and no results and say it is useless to go. Say that others have so much free time and are going to the gym or running outside. Assuming you are different and cannot do it.

Beliefs: You may come up with excuses like this: In our home, no one spends so much time or money on a gym membership, it is too far to go, way expensive, waste of time, I won’t believe that it would be helpful for me, I am not that kind of person, etc.

Them: Give power to others and use it as an excuse for our resistance. My friends may tease me if I refuse to eat ice cream with them. My relatives may feel bad if I won’t eat the dishes they offered. They may laugh at my fitness craze, may not invite me to the next party.

Self Concepts: I am too old to start running. I won’t look good while exercising with so many people in the gym. Working with the dumbbells may hurt, not good for me. I don’t have dancing/ balancing skills. I can’t afford the time to go to yoga classes.

Delaying tactics  I don’t have time now. I am busy. The summer would be an appropriate time to start exercising, maybe next year. Finally, procrastination will take control of you and rule!

Denial: I am fine, no health problem. No doctor has asked me to do exercises. When I am healthy, I should eat well, whichever food I like. Later I may not be able to eat them.

Fear: I don’t want to do some diet, what if I become week and fall sick? What to do if I get back pain or some fracture because of exercising? Better stay as it is than inviting trouble.

These are some examples of how our mind tries to keep us with old habits and beliefs. Creates different types of resistance to change. An important thing to remember is, you are much more than your mind. Your mind may be calling the shots now because you have trained it in that way. It is a tool that you can train or re-train. You can create a new belief and change the old thought patterns.

We cannot change the old thoughts as they are of the past. So we can influence the mind to focus on the present and think right. Training our minds is like teaching small children. It will rebel at first to avoid re-training. If you stay focused and firm, it would be easy to establish a new way of thinking as you wish to do.

To recap the points from the two blogs:

  • Identify all the beliefs that define you, decide on what to keep, grow, or discard. 
  • Look for the new beliefs that would help you to be a better person and grow.
  • Watch out for the resistance that you may face from yourself.
  • Release the old thought patterns. Let them go.
  • Train your mind to come out of those excuses of resistance.
  • Be kind to yourself while training for the change.
  • Embrace the change and move in the direction you wish to go.

—Anitha KC

Photos: Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com, Google images

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