By Mark DeNicola
Life is a complicated journey filled with joy, hardship and everything in between. As much as the things that happen to us are inherently the way that they are, I believe that we determine to what extent they affect us. We determine how much of a “pick me up” or roadblock they’re going to be, and it’s often the beliefs that come with each experience that play a deciding role. Beliefs that -for the most part -we seem to have widely accepted as a collective.
As we begin a new year, we often set for ourselves -myself included -a series of goals or life changes that we would like to accomplish or implement over the course of this calendar year. In hopes of helping you accomplish that which you are striving for, here are 10 things I feel we need to stop believing:
1. Life is hard
How many times have you gone through an experience that in the moment of it seemed like the end of the world, only later to be something that you moved on and learned something from -in some cases were even grateful for? Life may have its hard moments but it is not inherently hard, unless you believe it to be. The genuinely hard moments will be enough to gratify your need for a challenge, there is no need to make minor bumps into hard times as well.
An alternative view: Life is a roller coaster in which we determine how smooth or intense it gets. There may be some built-in steep drops, but an expectation for the ride to be filled with them will do nothing but create an unnecessarily way more intense ride. Take a breath and take in each moment before reacting to it.
2. They have it easy
Comparison. It’s something we all do and often don’t like to admit. We gauge our own lives based on how we perceive the lives of others to be, often mocking the simplicity another has to deal with. Just like most would never be able to truly understand your experience, never will you be able to properly understand theirs, so stop preoccupying yourself with it.
An alternative view: Rather than complaining, focus on your own life and figure out what works best for your unique situation.
3. They think I’m __________
This one goes hand in hand with number two, and together they can make one disgusting couple. We are all self-conscious to varying degrees and no matter where we stand on the spectrum it’s completely unnecessary.
An alternative view: Chances are the person you’re concerned about judging you, is too concerned with how they believe you to be judging them to even take notice of what you’re self-conscious about. Focus on being the truest version of yourself and not a fake “safe” version that minimizes your chances of being perceived poorly.
4. That was all luck
You finally have something good happen in your life and you choose to chalk it up to luck rather than give yourself credit. Law of attraction stuff aside, I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I’m not suggesting that you become a credit hog, but stop casting great experiences aside to the pessimistic luck pile.
An alternative view: You play a bigger role in the life you live and what happens to you than you think, so accept the good experiences and let them further motivate you to keep pushing forward.
5. I’ll do it tomorrow
Tomorrow is the day that everything changes. It’s the day I start going to gym regularly. It’s the day I get going on that diet. It’s the day I start writing my book. The only thing it has a tendency to actually be is the day that never comes.
An alternative view: Make tomorrow today and take control of the life you live. Accomplishing goals is a process, but the only way you’ll get there is by actually starting the process.
6. I need my partner to complete me
Relationships can be a wonderful experience, but they aren’t the experience that dictates the life you live, YOU dictate the life you live. If you aren’t in a relationship, a view that you need a relationship to feel complete and happy will more than likely further cripple you from finding it. If you’re in a relationship and you feel that it is what completes you, that’s quite the house of cards to be standing on -especially given the overall global trend in relationship longevity.
An alternative view: See relationships as an extension to the human experience and not the basis of the human experience. Work on your relationship with yourself, it’ll be the greatest gift you can give to any other relationships you may have.
7. I can’t do anything big, I’m just one person in a very big world
We all want to change the world, but when it comes to actually doing it most of us belittle ourselves at the seeming size of the mountain to be climbed. We feel that the peak can only be reached with thousands of others by our side, therefore there is no point trying at all.
An alternative view: Everything you see in front of you started as an idea, an idea that was hatched by one individual -an individual that decided to do something about it. Did they more than likely receive the help and support of dozens of others along the way? Most likely. But those others only showed up because they were willing to take the first step. Stop waiting for all your cards to fall into place before taking action, you need to start with what you have to even give the cards a reason to show up.
8. I’ll never get over that
Life experiences can certainly be very traumatic, and through this I’m not suggesting that we completely let go and forget all that has happened to us. What I am referring to are the smaller instances that we choose to blow up and let forever taint how we view or treat another -and in some cases the level to which we trust the entire world. An example would be that a former partner of yours once cheated on you, because of that you will now forever treat them like sh**, see the person they did it with as “easy” and now be even more guarded and non-trusting towards all future partners -even though they had absolutely nothing to do with it.
An alternative view: See everything for the lesson that it provided and grow from it. Let go of whoever you need to let go of, but don’t carry the baggage of how you see them as purse everywhere you go. Treat every new experience exactly for what it is: a new experience.
9. My family has been doing it that way for years
Traditions can be great, but in the same breath certain traditions can also be quite limiting and comical. To help illustrate this I’m going to use an infamous little story:
It was Thanksgiving and a husband asked his wife why she was cutting the ends off of a perfectly good roast before placing it in the oven. She replied “my mother always did it this way.” Curious, the man went to ask his mother-in-law why she cut the ends off of the roast. She replied “because my mother always did it that way.” Luckily, his mother-in-law’s mother was still alive so he went to go ask her why she cut the ends off of the roast, to which she replied, “because I didn’t have a big enough pan to fit the entire thing.”
An alternative view: Rather than blindly accepting all traditions, truly look at them for what they are and determine whether or not they still make sense to upkeep. The world is changing, imagine how much quicker it’ll change if we start to think more critically and make our own decisions.
10. I was born that way
This statement is far too often used as a badge of honour and a badge of shame. We use it to boast about certain skills or talents we may have had for as long as we can remember. We also use it to justify our shortcomings. Aside from certain physical attributes -body augmentation aside -there is very little that we cannot change about ourselves, we just don’t give ourselves a chance to.
An alternative view: View life based on the moment rather than the accumulation of all of your past experiences. You may have developed certain tendencies and character traits that have been re-enforced by years of portraying and believing them, but they can be shifted. Many of you may disagree with this, but I don’t think any of us are actually born stubborn for example, we’re all just born cute and malleable to become whatever life shapes us into.
What are your thoughts on these 10 beliefs? I’m sure there are bound to be at least a couple that you disagree with. Feel free to share your views and any ideas for others that could have been included via the comment section below.