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1-250-514-8459 tamara@posminds.com
Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs- The Shortcut to Happiness

Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs- The Shortcut to Happiness

When you uncover a limiting belief or an unconscious bias you become more able to see past them. This means you can create more social connections which are a proven tool for increasing happiness. What are limiting beliefs and unconscious biases and what do they have to do with happiness anyways?

The Definitions

Limiting Belief 

A belief is an acceptance by the mind that something is true or real. Beliefs are the lens that you see the world through and they:

  1. tell you what you like or don’t like
  2. define for you what is possible or impossible
  3. anchor your judgments
  4. affect your relationships
  5. contract or expand your potential
  6. harness or hijack your passion
  7. lower or raise your level of happiness

Each of us lives within and operates out of a complex set of beliefs that define us and the world in which we live. Beliefs are our reality-making blueprint and limiting ones are the ones that keep us from doing, going, being or feeling something. They are not truths but when they are not questioned they can feel true.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to bias that happens automatically, triggered by our brain’s judgments of people and situations, influenced by our background, cultural environment creating an unexamined belief about a particular category of people. We all have them and having them does not make you a hateful person; examining them allows you to remove your blinders and open your mind.

I always think of dominant and subordinate populations when I explore biases. Dominant groups of people are those who fit into the majority. An obvious example is straight white men. They are dominant to gay white men, men of colour, and women.

Subordinate  refers to a group that is a minority and who regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination. Depending on who you are with, you may be the dominant person OR the subordinate person in a relationship or conversation. This fluctuates from one relationship to another. When you are the dominant person, your job is always to listen with an open mind in order to examine your biases.

Happiness

There are many ways to define happiness but one of my favourites comes from positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky who says happiness is ” the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” When you connect with those around you; friends, family members, and colleagues you both get the benefits of increased well-being. Positive social connection is a shortcut to happier living.

I’ve Uncovered It- Now What?

Discovering limiting beliefs and unconscious biases is only the first step. Once you have identified one, here are a few steps to take to help you let it go and change your pattern:

  1. Celebrate that you noticed a belief or bias- it’s the first step!
  2. Observe your pattern. You’ve noticed it, now become a student of when, where, why, and how it happens.
  3. Drop self-judgment. It won’t help you. We all have beliefs and biases. If you think you don’t, that’s one of yours!
  4. Replace your negative with something positive. In habit formation, you have to replace your old action/thought with a new supportive one.

Go out of your way to learn what you need to in order to open your mind. Children who go to a diverse pre-school are way less likely to hate people according to Sally Kohn, author of We Need to Fix Hate. If you notice your friends of choice are all just like you, perhaps it’s time to expand a bit.

Ask yourself:

  1. Are all my friends the same ethnicity as me?
  2. Are all my friends in the same line of work as me?
  3. Do my friends all send their children to the same school that mine attend?
  4. Do I have friends who are more/less wealthy than me?
  5. Do I have friends who are younger/older than me?
  6. Do I have friends from various religions?
  7. Do I have friends who vote differently than I do?

Make it a priority to expand your social circle or if you are lucky enough to already have a rich and varied group of friends spend time reflecting on how your differences enrich your relationship.

We will always have judgements about others. We are wired, for safety, to notice differences. When you discover a difference celebrate the opportunity for expanded awareness. When differences cause friction, as they frequently do, look for common ground to build from.

I can look at someone I see as nothing like me and still find a sense of shared human experience. I do not support Trump but I can see that we are both parents and business owners and spouses. I don’t believe that guns should be widely available for purchase but I understand that I want my family to be safe just like the NRA supporters do. Focusing on where we are similar helps break down and fear or anger that drives our differences.

Do not believe in anything (simply) because you have heard it ; Do not believe in traditions, because they been handed down for many generations ; Do not believe in anything, because it is spoken and rumoured by many ; Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books ; But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Buddha Jayant

 

 

Letting Go Might Be the Best Superpower in Your Happiness Toolkit

Letting Go Might Be the Best Superpower in Your Happiness Toolkit

I use seven science-backed happiness hacks to change mindsets and encourage a resilience tipping toward joy. I’ll let you in on a secret- one of the seven seems to have more power than all the others. It’s forgiveness.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Mark Twain

When we hold on we impact our own health at a cellular level. The production of hormones is thrown off and the ability to fight infection drops. People with higher self-esteem find it easier to forgive. And this isn’t just about anger. Many people choose sadness over anger but guess what- sadness is just anger with less intensity.

Have you ever had a relationship where the break up lasted longer than the time you spent together? Do you still have a nemesis from your childhood? Do you stop trusting people easily? If you answer yes to any of these, you may need to strengthen your forgiveness muscle!

Take the forgiveness quiz.

 

A few things to remember that can help you as you get better at forgiving.

  1. Forgiving does not mean you condone the action
  2. You don’t have to forget when you forgive.
  3. You don’t need to relate to the person you forgive.
  4. When you forgive you give up all hope of a better past.
  5. When you let go of the past you are free to open up to a new future.

Deep healing occurs with time. Or it can happen overnight. There isn’t a way that is better. Whatever works for you works for you!

 

Making Tough Choices

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Every day we are faced with choice; what to wear, what to eat, who to lunch with, when to work out. We have practiced making choices our entire lives. Nothing else we do requires such constant effort with such varying results. Sometimes choices are simple, sometimes they aren’t.  What is the difference and how can you make every decision with as much ease as possible?

Tools for making any Decisions


HEART
 – Your choice must fit in with your most positive emotions and avoid negative ones.

EGO – Your decision must match who you are as a person.

HEAD – Your decision must accord with your long-term goals.

SURROUNDINGS – Your decision must be compatible with the situation you find yourself in.

When 1 or more of the tools are at odds, then what?

Every gut instinct comes with a physical sensation. Our challenge is correctly interpreting the sensation; knowing whether that butterfly in your stomach is telling you to back off from something truly scary or telling you that something exciting is about to happen.
Good decisions feel expansive and optimistic. They’re not based in fear, anger, or greed.

Successful choicemaking depends much more on who you are than what you do so if your decision is compromising who you are it’s ultimately not going to be the right choice. This can become a challenge is when someone else is involved.
What can you do when your decision involves others whose opinion is different or even opposing?
And when that difference comes down to a core belief belief about love self-worth safety and feeling a whole conflict resolution can become difficult.
If one partner is prioritizing money where another is prioritizing lifestyle or  one person needs adventure where another prefers stability, who gets their way?

Listen, list make, leave it

LISTEN

Have a conversation when you have plenty of time in a place that is free of distractions.

  1. Each partner takes a turn to explain why their choice is best for themselves. (E.g. I want to live in the suburbs because we can have a bigger house for less money and the schools are better.)
  2. Each partner takes a turn to explain why they think their choice is best for their partner.  (E.gOur mortgage would be smaller so you could work less overtime and we would be in the same place financially. You wOuld see the kids more)
  3. Each partner suggests a compromise. (We could live in a townhouse close to your office and get rid of one car or we could move midway between your work and the suburbs)

LIST MAKE
Make a pro and con list together. Tally up your pluses and minuses.
The rule- things can only make the list that you both agree on.
Example- Choosing between public school and private school.

Private School Pros
small class size
cutting edge facility
uniforms
strong preparation for college
Private School Cons
cost
not in our neighborhood

Things That Get Left Off The List
feels elitist (only to one partner)
better sports teams (debatable by one partner)
better University Counselling (debatable by one partner)

LEAVE IT
If you have the luxury of time, let your emotions settle for a few days. Allowing emotions to settle can help you to discuss your options with less of an emotional charge.

Take Turns

If after all the debate, you have to agree to disagree, setting up a system where one partner gets their way this time but that means the other partner automatically gets their way the next time can be an option.
I choose to live in the country over the city but you get to choose our house.

A thought from Brene Brown…

When emotions flare, Brene advises her readers to ask what is the story I am telling myself.
Write down what you imagine will happen if you don’t get your way. Quite often this can help to uncover fear that is lurking below our rational thinking and hijacking our ability to see the other person’s perspective.

If you just can’t choose?

Flip a coin. At the moment right before it lands, you will wish for an outcome- that’s what you truly want- so go for it!
I’d love to hear what choices you find most challenging. Comment below, email me or weigh in on my Facebook page.