We’ve talked about beliefs before, ladies. And we will continue to talk about them because they are essential to illuminate if we want to move forward on our path of inward development and self-awareness. In What Goes Around, Comes Around (11.13.11), we discussed two things-- how our current beliefs come from how the adults in our lives reacted to us as children (Louise Hay) and how influential our mothers’ beliefs and actions were in shaping our belief systems. Since we want to keep the focus of our attention in the “NOW,” let’s not get too caught up in identifying where certain beliefs came from. Let’s not ruminate about a past we can’t change. We can’t change how the adults in our lives reacted to us when we were young, so we have to practice the art of letting go here. But we CAN change our current belief system if we so choose. That’s the power you and I have.
BREAKING THE CHAIN
I love Bethenny Frankel. I know; she’s loud, in-your-face, and very opinioned. You either love her or hate her. What I love about her is that she makes no excuses for who she is. That’s cool.
I recently read her book, A Place of Yes, and the chapter, "Break the Chain," fits perfectly with our discussion today. In terms of beliefs, she says, “…every family enacts its beliefs about you on you, and of course, in many cases, you believe them. That’s where the noise begins, when you start telling yourself stories about who you are based on your childhood instead of your inner-voice.”
Since we are all about aligning our lives with our inner-voice as our guide, we need to exterminate any and all beliefs that don’t serve this mission. We need to be aware of the noise these beliefs cause in our lives; noise that drowns out our inner-voices. For this “noise keeps [us] entrenched in habits and patterns” that don’t work for us (Frankel). The great news is that we can break the chain of continually re-enacting these beliefs that keep us from mothering from our center, our infinite wisdom.
The first step is awareness. We have to be aware of the patterns and habits we are unconsciously or consciously carrying forward in our lives that don’t align with our inner-voice (when it comes to ourselves and our mothering). As Bethenny models, we can choose a different route!
OUR BELIEFS, OUR MOTHERING
Let’s get down to it. And we’re gonna start simple here, moms. Changing your beliefs is a gradual process. You can’t change them all at once. They are too entrenched in your habits of thought. But, habits can be changed with deliberate attention and action. So let’s start small. And let’s start by altering one belief you have about mothering that you’d like to change.
For the next several posts, we’re going to take it step-by-step. Today, we’re going to start with becomingAWARE of the beliefs we have about mothering that don’t work for us anymore.
STEP 1: Identify ONE belief you have about mothering that you learned (either from how you were mothered or society) that you feel doesn’t serve you and your mothering that you’d like to change.
Need some ideas? Here are few to get you thinking:
~“I believe that other moms have everything together and figured out. I’m the only one not on the right track.”
~ “I believe that a good mom does it all. Asking for help shows weakness.”
~“I believe that as a mother, it’s important to put other’s needs before mine. That’s what good moms do.”
~“I believe that I should shelter my kids from as much pain and disappointment as possible.”
~“I believe that I am responsible for my kids’ happiness.”
~“I believe that being in total control is necessary. If I let other’s help, things won’t get done like I know they should be done.”
~“I believe that a good mom stays home with her kids full-time. A good mom should always be at home.”
~“I believe that I should be the perfect mother and wife all the time. I’m worthless if I slip up in either area.”
~“I believe it’s important to be critical about how I mother, otherwise, how will I grow if I don’t continually remind myself of my faults and imperfections?”
~ brainstorm one or two of your own…..
Okay…I know, these are pretty blatant. At first glance, you might think, “Oh, I don’t think that,” when in actuality all your actions point to the contrary. If you want this to work for you, you are going to have to be brutally honest with yourself, I’m afraid. For instance, you might think, I don’t believe I am responsible for my kids’ happiness, yet you go out of your way to over schedule them, buy them gifts often, and/or feel like you have to continually entertain them when you are home. So, perhaps you do believe it, and (the worst part) you don’t even realize it. I hate it when that happens!
This week: Cultivate Awareness
Personally, I think it can be challenging to identify what I believe. I mean, my actions on a daily basis reflect my beliefs, but I can’t easily say, “I act this way because I believe X.” A lot of the time, we aren’t even aware of what we believe (especiallly when it comes to the negative stuff). But, this is the first step in changing the course of our mothering for the better.
For your practice this week, the first step in identifying mothering beliefs that don’t serve you is watching your thinking and actions as you mother. What patterns do you notice either in terms of your thinking or actions? Do you notice that you continually feel like you must do everything yourself, thus your actions follow suit, and by the end of the week, you are so burned out that you can’t even muster an ounce of energy to do something for yourself?
Perhaps you never considered yourself to be a perfectionist parent, but now that you are paying attention, you notice that you get upset when your kids don’t look like they stepped out of a J.Crew Crewcuts ad when you are going out or that the snacks you prepared for your preschooler’s snack time look like Martha Stewart magically appeared in your kitchen and whipped them up herself.
All I’m saying is-- watch yourself like a hawk. Then question why you think what you think or do what you do. It’s the first step.
Next post we’ll discuss STEP 2: Releasing Old Beliefs.
See you soon!