5 Steps to Creating a Positive New World View
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We all have them, although few realize it: limiting beliefs. A limiting belief can be defined as an interpretation about ourselves, others, or the Universe that limits the way you live your life in a negative or fearful way. In my estimation, limiting beliefs are the number one silent killer: they kill our confidence, they prevent us from realizing our purpose and following our passions, and they kill our chances for living, big, fulfilled, happy, outrageous lives.
Limiting beliefs might be specific in that they apply to our own abilities or lot in life, or they might be sweeping generalizations about people or the way the Cosmos works. When we’re able to see that we’re held back by our limiting beliefs, there are many ways we can dismantle them and send them on their way.
1. Reframe Fear
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Every person with a heart in this country has felt crushing grief in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT. It’s also quite natural to have a sense of fear: fear that legislation won’t come into place that will help prevent another such tragedy. This is productive fear. We hope this collective, very reasonable fear will spur change in our gun laws and our mental healthcare system.
There’s another kind of fear that’s destructive, which can hit us where we live and breathe: the fear that this will happen to our own children. Before this latest tragedy even happened, my own mother expressed fear about school shootings. She said that she couldn’t bear to send a child to school in this day and age, where this kind of occurrence is possible. This is destructive fear.
Destructive fear is the seed to a limiting belief. It will be very easy for many parents to begin believing that this is the way the Universe works, that when you send your child to school, you are sending him or her into the crosshairs of a madman. I read a post this morning that offers smart logic packaged inside an emotional post about the reaction of a wise little girl who said that she doesn’t think this is going to happen again. This is how you reframe a fear. One simple means of dismissing a limiting belief is to state the opposite in order to create a helpful belief to replace it. Instead of hand-wringing that this could happen again, you can state that you don’t think it will.
Some may assume that this shooting rampage opened a can of worms. We can choose to believe that the can of worms that has been opened is a national discourse about broken systems, systems that can and will be repaired. We need to remember that the past doesn’t equal the future.
You might not be able to shake the feeling that it could happen again, but thankfully, there are other ways to frame it: that out of the tragedy, attention is being paid to gun laws and access to mental health care and now there is a greater chance that people will look around them more carefully and push to get help for those who need it. You can also think, “I don’t think this will happen to me.” Because the reality is that it probably won’t.
2. Embrace Discomfort
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As humans, we are all wired for pain avoidance. This can make our lives and our view of the world more difficult than it needs to be. As detailed in The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity, noticing where we are avoiding pain actually provides us with opportunities to take control of our situations and to become stronger. When we embrace pain and face it head on, we are able to push through and evolve into a higher version of our selves.
I’m faced with the opportunity to avoid or embrace pain every morning. I can decide to stay in bed. I can think, “I can’t launch this business. I can’t make money. There aren’t enough hours in the day.” This morning I had to push past the pain and get out of bed early so I can continue to reap the benefits of my freelance writing career, which is absolutely helping to change my world view.
When we are afraid of pain, we become prisoners of it. We get trapped inside the tiny bubble of our comfort zone. When we open our eyes to the promise of a bigger world, and we boldly cross the threshold of pain in order to reach our goals, we are rewarded with greater energy, a happier existence, and a more promising future.
3. Pay Attention to Your Dreams
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This is going to sound strange, but I mean pay attention to your literal dreams – the ones you see while you’re asleep. After reading Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck, I have had some amazing breakthroughs in my life by heeding the messages I’ve received in dreams. Some of these dreams have been centered around how to keep moving forward in my business, which I see as central to my emotional, spiritual, and fiscal wellbeing. When we pay attention to our dreams, keys to seemingly unsolvable puzzles can present themselves almost by magic.
Just last night, I had a dream that knocked my socks off, only because I paid attention, interpreted it and heeded the information. In this dream, I was in a meeting at CNBC, where I used to work. Everything came back to me: the gruff, assertive, unapproachable demeanor of a few coworkers. My need to be silly in the face of all that seriousness, which made me feel like an outsider. I felt the fear that I would be laid off, which followed me through my entire professional career. However, I was somewhere that I learned a great deal: I learned how to manage a business, since I managed CNBC’s digital media business for many years. In the dream, a stern senior NBC Cable executive was there to guide me in how to project manage my new business.
In real life, I’ve had a hard time managing all the details of my new business. It’s as if the part of my brain that I used when I worked at CNBC has been closed off. I’ve been attempting to run my new business through scraps of paper, online and offline task lists, and an online calendar – none of which give me the sense of oversight and control that I crave. When I woke up from my dream, everything became so obvious! Just use the tools that I had when I was at CNBC! Luckily, the one I used the most is nearly ubiquitous: Microsoft Outlook. Huge, massive, seemingly unconquerable problem solved.
Here is a link to download a Word document dream analysis worksheet that details Martha Beck’s method. I will admit that my own method is more based on intuition and gut checks, unless the dream is particularly enigmatic.
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A lot has been written on Parentables about gratitude. That’s because gratitude is an essential element to feelings of happiness, wellbeing and viewing the world in a positive light. When we press ourselves to have gratitude, it brings us back to the present moment, which dissolves those out-there fears.
Gratitude gives us the gift of an immediate sense of perspective. When we begin to fret and feel constrained by worry, we may start to feel as if the world conspires against us. Gratitude helps us to understand that the Universe actually works in our favor. Unless we are suffering from a catastrophic physical disaster, we have everything we need in each moment to thrive. We have our breath.
When you have gratitude for the things that you normally take for granted on a regular basis, your perspective will shift from one of lack to a sense of abundance.
5. Dismantle Hand-me-Down Views
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Your parents have views that you don’t agree with. I know this because you are separate people with different experiences that provide you with unique perspectives. This probably sounds completely obvious to you. However, even when on the surface we don’t agree with every single thing that our parents believe, we are still influenced by those beliefs, whether we think so or not.
I performed this exercise myself, and was amazed by what I found. Try writing some beliefs that you think your parents have. These might be beliefs about the nature of people, money, or the world in general. They might be beliefs that you find ridiculous or out of touch with reality. You might notice an overarching tone to the beliefs, whether your parents are more optimistic or pessimistic.
Now take a moment to see how these beliefs have impacted you. Even though you might think rationally that you don’t agree with every belief, you might find that you have been strongly influenced nonetheless. Now write down the opposite of any of these beliefs that you think are holding you back. And there you have some empowering beliefs to help form your new world view.
When you feel needlessly worried or discouraged, check this list to see if limiting beliefs might be hampering a positive world view, and then turn them around. When all else fails, turn to gratitude. You can do it anywhere and at anytime for a quick and positive reality check.
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