Sometimes, more often than not, people tend give us or impose on us their beliefs. Hear me when I say this: You’ve got to know when to give a belief back to someone! Not every message given to us, or every thought, or belief given to us is meant for us to keep and hold onto. We have the responsibility of deciding whether the beliefs that others give us are worth keeping or not, and sometimes we have to give it back (aka return to sender), press delete baby!
When you are a child, everyone around you does the believing for you. And being a child what can you do but absorb these beliefs? because we haven’t really learned how to filter things. So we believe what others believe about us. If the message that we received from others was good or positive, then great! However if the messages were negative and defeating, and we are still holding onto them then it’s time to start giving back from whence they came.
We have to look at our beliefs and even ask ourselves, or rather ask the belief: Where are you from? Where in my life did I pick you up? Who gave you to me?
Growing up I had this aunt who I would see once a year over the Christmas Holidays, whenever she saw me the first thing she would do was to criticize my body. Now just imagine this, I hadn’t seen her all year-long and instead of asking me questions like how I was doing at school, her first comment was always about my body, “Oh you are so fat” or “what are you eating that’s making you so fat” or even “how can you be developing breasts at such a young age” (yes she actually said that!). So of course I received all of these negative messages from her about my body. I simply downloaded all of these negative messages onto the hard drive of my mind, and internalized theses messages. I didn’t even stop to question and ask if any of this was true or if it even mattered.
I grew up in a family that loved passing on these kind of messages. Every time my dad saw me eating he would say “Oh God you are eating again, you are going to be so fat just like your grandmother”. Another negative message – downloaded!. Other messages I received were “You are so stupid” and “Cant you do anything right”? and My most favorite message was from my mother her famous words to me were “You don’t have what it takes to be a lawyer”.
I am sure that you get the picture and that you have your own negative messages that were given to you as a child. That you have downloaded and have since internalized, and that you are still walking around with. They could be messages received from friends, family members, colleagues or even strangers.
Growing up at school, I definitely received the message that being different was not a good thing. That being unique was not a good thing. That there is something wrong with me, that there was something wrong with my hair because I wore it an Afro as a child. The list goes on.
As a child I was not aware and I didn’t have the understanding that I do today, that although people were giving me these messages and beliefs, I didn’t have to download and keep any of this on my hard drive.
I sure do give grateful thanks for the gift of awareness! That actually I don’t have to keep any beliefs that I no longer wish to keep. That I can choose new beliefs that support and nurture me! And the same is true for you.
The funny thing about life is that someone cannot give you what they don’t have. Someone can’t give you a message or a belief that they don’t even believe about themselves.
My mom saying to me ” You don’t have what it takes to be a lawyer”, that was actually what she believed about herself. She could not have said to me “You go girl. You have what it takes to be a lawyer” because she didn’t believe that about herself. Therefore she didn’t have that positive or uplifting message to give to me. When my aunt criticized me about my body and found fault about my body every time she saw me, she was actually criticizing and finding fault with herself and her own body, fault with her own life. She could not have said to me “your body is perfect just the way it is” because she didn’t believe that about herself. Having said this, I do realize that at any given moment we are all doing our best, and this is also true even for those people who walk around giving negative others messages. When we know better, we do better.
I live in this complex and there is a unit above me. Their bathroom is directly on top of mine. Every now and again if it’s really windy, something falls from their bathroom window onto my balcony. The other day a bottle of shampoo fell down onto my balcony. I remember seeing it when I went out to hang my laundry, but I didn’t do anything about it at the time. I thought, I will deal with this later. In fact I thought that the bottle was empty, so I thought I’d pick it up and thrown it away another time (yes – a hint of procrastination!).
That specific week the lady who helps with cleaning my house and ironing my laundry came over, she obviously saw this green bottle of shampoo, it turned out that the bottle was half empty and she assumed that it had fallen out of my bathroom window, so she very neatly placed this onto my bathroom window-sill. When I got home that day, I immediately noticed that there was this green bottle of shampoo that didn’t belong to me. I realized that what must have happened. Again I left this shampoo bottle there for a couple of days thinking I will get to it (some more procrastination). Until this past Sunday morning I went into the bathroom and this green bottle of shampoo was practically screaming at me to do something about it and I thought to myself that ‘I need to give this back, it doesn’t belong to me‘. It was actually just creating clutter in my bathroom. So I took the shampoo bottle, walked upstairs to the unit above me, knocked on the door and there was no one there. So I thought to myself, so now what do I do? So I decided to leave the shampoo bottle on their door step, thinking she’ll figure it out. And I left.
The reason why I am bringing up this story is because it ties so closely to this subject of beliefs, of taking beliefs that aren’t ours and of how we also keep these beliefs sometimes longer than they need to be kept! We need to get into the habit of giving back beliefs that aren’t necessary to keep. We need to clear the out the clutter from our minds. Even when we make the choice to give back the beliefs that no longer serve us we have to be prepared that sometimes the door is shut and there is no one home, in other words there is no room for you to make a grand announcement and say ” Listen here, here is this belief that you gave me when I was five years old about my body. Here it is, take your belief back”.
There are various reasons why that door may be shut, maybe that person has passed on, or maybe they are so closed off that you can’t really speak to them about anything! Maybe you don’t see that person anymore, maybe they’re in another country. However it is still your responsibility to give it back and clear the clutter. Some times we have to leave it on their door step, whether they take it back or not is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to decide which beliefs get to stay and set up shop in your mind, you decide which beliefs get to stay in the home of your mind.
Sometimes it’s quite obvious when a belief stands out and doesn’t belong in the home of our mind. Let’s say you decide on white for your lounge and a friend comes to visit and gives you a blue vase as a present. In that case, it would be quite obvious that the blue is not part of the original color scheme. In the same way, you might be choosing to think new positive thoughts about yourself and a friend comes along and gives you a message that no longer supports your new way of thinking, she might say something like “but that’s how all of your relationships are, they are doomed from the start”. So in that instance you can recognize that, hey this might have been true in the past but I’m no longer accepting this as true, so you might say to her “not anymore, things are changing. I am changing. They way I relate and behave in relationships is changing”. That would be giving her back her negative belief about you.
Other times it’s not so obvious, maybe you decide on some neon colors for your lounge and your friend brings a bright purple vase. At first glance it may appear that this vase fits right in, however a couple of moths later upon careful inspection you realize that this vase is not the right shade of purple, and so you might decide to remove the vase from the lounge. It’s the same with our minds.
So I invite you to join me on this journey of examining our beliefs and deciding which belief gets to stay and which needs to be given back.
Closing Affirmative Prayer
In this moment I rejoice and I give grateful thanks that I now know a new truth.
The truth that I have the power to choose my thoughts and create a new belief system for myself.
And I choose to do so now, For God and I are One and the Mind of God is mind now.
I release the need for all beliefs that no longer support and nurture me.
I now choose thoughts that support and nurture me as I journey into all that God has intended me to be.
As I choose new thoughts, I choose new beliefs that create new experiences in my life.
Experiences that bring me joy.
For so it be, and so it is.