Updated: May 15, 2019
When I was in university my first year of Law School we had a course called critical thinking. This was by far one of my favourites and in my opinion, should be a class taught in all schools. This class focused on the more theoretical and philosophical nuances involved in law. For example, the phrase just because it is a law doesn’t make it lawful. The one I can remember so strongly is that marriage cannot be dissolved, ie divorce because it is sacred. The one thing doesn’t relate to the other, however our beliefs could perpetuate that.
The question then becomes, do you value marriage as an institution enforced by law based on the belief that it is sacred, or do you value marriage because of the relationship based on equality, empowerment of both parties, partnership, mutual respect, undivided love and therefore could enjoy some legal perks?
When we think critically about ourselves and thoughts like I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve this, I am unworthy, I am unlovable, I doubt that I can do this, I’m not strong enough, I’m just a ….. (fill in your own words).
Let’s separate the two concepts into values and beliefs. Is this way of thinking about yourself in line with your beliefs? Where do these beliefs come from? Is it because someone told you so? What relationships have you been in to make you think this about yourself? Our example of critical thinking about marriage, it should never be broken because it’s sacred? Or should it be broken because you are a victim of abuse: physically, mentally or emotionally, spiritually oppressed, not seen as an equal partner? I’m not advocating for divorce either. I’m asking the critical thinking question about our behaviour and engagement with others, why am I still in this relationship? Could it be that I have a belief that I am not good enough?
Who told you this? Yourself? How would you have known that this is a possibility to not love yourself?
Beliefs stem from our past behaviours and how we reacted in the past, we also believe can be applied with the same amount of success in the future. So if you grew up in an abusive household, as a kid you would have been made to believe that you are not deserving of a blissful life. With this belief, you continued your life, with success in this belief, and it was perhaps enforced through your peers or the system that you grew up in. Personally, I grew up in a system that shunted individuality in the school system. Everyone had to look the same and there were all these strict rules on how you can look. I remember wearing a blue and green tie-dye shirt on a religious camp and was called a “free spirit hippie kid” that was frowned upon.
Write down the most challenging belief that you have about yourself.
Once we become adults, our relationships also mirror these beliefs that we have been taught. Unless we become actively involved in our own value system, our beliefs will prevent us from finding that blissful life. Our beliefs about ourselves become so ingrained, that it also makes us see the world in a different way. For example, if we ourselves believe that a certain gender, sexual orientation, being an immigrant or a minority simply cannot compete with another type of person, whether it be in the workplace, personal relationships, or on the political stage, this really reflects on us not believing in ourselves. From this stems hatred, jealousy, intolerance, online comment wars and ultimately injustice.
So how do we change the beliefs that we have? In all our guided journals we suggest that you take this journal with you and see a professional if it feels like working through these are too much for you. Remember that asking for help is part of an empowered self-care lifestyle tool.
Changing the beliefs of who we are is an inside job.
Think of a person, real or fictional, alive or historical, that really inspires you.
Journal down the most important value that resonates with you from that person.
Underneath your challenging belief, write down the word that comes to mind when you think of your inspirational person. For example, honesty, integrity, respect, compassion, standing up for yourself, courage, kindness, strength, understanding.
Imagine for a moment that your inspirational person tells you that you have that same powerful value within you.
Take some time journal down your experience.
Once we understand our value, beliefs become secondary.
Keep journaling and keep growing!