“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ~ Anaïs Nin
I’ve understood that quote in theory for a long time [aka - I could explain what it means], and now I’m beginning to understand it in my bones. In the last few days, I’ve been taking apart and examining my belief system, and I’m finally stepping into wholeheartedly owning my experience of the world.
My previous definition of that quote was, “I don’t perceive the world as it is, I perceive the world through my own belief system & lenses & filters, and therefore see the world as I AM.” My new definition would start the same…and it would end with an additional sentence: “And I therefore have complete control over how I choose to experience the world.”
Perspective, perspoctive. I made that phrase up a few years ago [a play on “po-tay-to, po-tah-to"] to indicate that indeed multiple perspectives can be correct at the same time. I still say it A LOT…and silly as it sounds, it really does help me to be open to other peoples’ perspectives.
So what do I mean by “taking apart and examining my belief system"? Basically, I am being mindful of my beliefs; when a belief comes up, I trace it back to its root, and then I decide if I like where the belief came from or not. If so, I'll move on. If not, I’ll create a foundation for a new & empowering belief.
An over-the-top Example:
- Thought: “So&So is such a downer…he only talks about himself, is always the victim of his circumstances, and spends all his time pitying himself."
- Old Belief: Everyone should be accountable for their own everything [thoughts, feelings, wants, actions], everyone should be at the same place as me on my path of personal growth, and anyone who isn’t is less than me.
- Analysis: Well, that’s just ridiculous. Firstly, I think that “shoulds” are a waste of time, seeing as they express an expectation that I have [and you know how I feel about expectations]. And secondly, my commitment in this lifetime is to live from a place of Love & Acceptance, and that aforementioned belief definitely doesn’t come from that place -- it comes from a place of judgment -- not only of the other person being inferior, but also of me as being superior [despite neither one actually existing].
- New Belief: Everyone is where they are on their own journey of growth, and that’s ok! I used to talk about myself like that too [and sometimes still do!], and thanks to my commitment to growth and the love & support of my peeps, I’ve been able to move away from that place. I will meet So&So where he is, and will support him in being who he wants to be, on his terms.
Have you thought about how a belief became your truth/reality? Did you hear it from someone you trust? Have you had a certain experience with the belief? What have you decided is true, beyond a shadow of a doubt, as a result of your belief [I will never, I will always...etc.]? Is it limiting & fixed, or is it empowering & expansive? Is the belief based in LOVE or FEAR?
I encourage you to spend some time examining your beliefs! You might discover some core beliefs from your childhood that you are ready to let go of. And you might also find some exciting & empowering beliefs that you want to dust off and live from again!
Sending you warm fuzzies as you pursue the freedom that exists when taking responsibility for your own beliefs & experiences! :)