I pledge allegiance to keeping this nonfiction post short and hopefully sickly sweet. This is yet another topic inspired by observations I’ve made as I watch people live their lives and as I make key decisions in mine. A list of 6 beliefs that may not be good for us:
- “My emotions are facts and I am guided by them.” This belief comes about when you can’t tell the difference between your intuition and your feelings. How to use this belief? Learn how to tell the difference. Go back to a time when your intuition was loud and clear and then reverse engineer your current problems until you can tell which one is your intuition and which one is your emotions. Hint: Intuition is usually less messy and resonates with something you believe deep down in your core. Intuition is not simply self-serving.
- “I judge people by how they make me feel.” You can get the most out of this belief by flipping it around. The other way round is more important. People judge you by how you make them feel. Are you good for people? They’ll respect that and you’ll begin to attract people who are good for you.
- “I have to do it right the first time and every time after that.” To get some use out of this belief, laugh at it. No, you don’t have to do it right the first time and every time after that. Except maybe with children. Your first (published) book doesn’t have to be your magnum opus. Your second book doesn’t have to be better than your first. What’s important is to improve your craft and explore always towards getting better at it but it’s not the end of the world if an idea you thought was brilliant doesn’t work out. When your reputation is at stake, just tactfully toot your horn ’til they leave you to it. If you produced something really good once, you probably have it in you to do it again if you relax and allow yourself to play your way through the next project. This works especially if you never really believed you’re the best that ever was. In a nutshell: relax and play.
- “Rich people are evil.” People like to correct this by saying the love of money is what births the evil but some leave me thinking they really just believe rich people are evil. Rich people are who they always were, it’s just that money gives you opportunities to express secret versions of yourself and get away with it if those versions are taboo. But saying rich people are evil is like saying you never want to have a lot of money EVER even if you earned it ‘properly’ because we love to be good people and good people are not evil and rich people are evil so good people shouldn’t be rich. (takes breath) So, yes: use this belief to figure out your perception of and relationship with money.
- “Nobody will like me/this/buy this.” Well, maybe nobody in your neighbourhood but on the Internet? You’d really rather just try. Everybody has a tribe on the Internet, even people who shouldn’t. The real challenge is to be good at what you do. I have a fear nothing I work on is good enough and publish always pushing against that toxic belief. Do I pleasantly lose my mind when I discover someone regularly reads my writing? Absolutely. I go crazy when Ivon Prefontaine likes a poem I wrote. Or Joao-Maria, or The Travellothoner, or Tetiana Aleksina, or you, or anyone. But I keep publishing because I can’t not do it anymore. And every time I get it even slightly right, it’s worth it. I actually sleep better that night. I don’t know what my writing means to people out there but at least it keeps me sane and happy. So do what you need to do, at least for your own happiness. And somebody might like (or even need, as I described in a previous article) what you have to say.
- “I can only do this if my parents approve.” Okay, so if you have this belief you may have come from somewhere in Africa, the global East, etc. You know. Those cultures where parents are like God. Some of us struggle with this well into adulthood. Others never fully live because they feel that any false move and they’d be disrespecting their parents and will attract a curse on themselves, etcetera. The hierarchy goes like so: there’s your parents, then there’s God, then there’s the government, then somewhere wayyyy down the line: there’s you.
(Sooo I don’t know what proper Internet etiquette is for this one but I feel like I can say this because I come from one of those cultures.)At the end of the day, you know you’ll have some regrets on your deathbed if you don’t do right by yourself. On the other hand, if you’re called to be exactly what your parents want you to be then congratulations, you’ve hit the jackpot 🥳🎉🎊🥳🎊🎉🥳. The thing is -coming from a limiting culture, despite all its beauty- means you have to scrape past some of the rules before you can figure out who you really are and, subsequently, how to best contribute to humanity. Our parents may have our best interests at heart but they don’t know everything and sometimes you know better than your mama what’s good for you. Sometimes. So get out there and thoroughly live. One thing about Western cultures is their people generally seem to feel they have an inbuilt/intrinsic right to explore and be adequately crazy and truly feel alive. It’s interesting. We should all feel that way, shouldn’t we. Picking our pearls. Whereas African cultures may be more subdued and conservative and structured. That has its merits too. I like to borrow a bit from here and there while always observing select, key values from my own culture.
Anyway, this was supposed to be a short post. If you have any thoughts on this, please share below?
Have a good, safe weekend.
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