The Beliefs That Keep Us Stuck
I've had a hard time writing lately. So many ideas course through my mind, however I haven't been able to get them on paper, falling silent at the execution. You see I have this belief about myself that I'm unheard, that no one wants to hear what I have to say. In the therapy field we refer to these types of beliefs as negative cognitions or negative beliefs (completely interchangeable). While I'm well aware that this belief is inherently false, deep in my core the thoughts of "don't bother," "no one cares" "it's not worth the effort" "why does it matter," t blows with such vigorous, destructive intent that it sucks the air out of any words beginning to form.
What are negative beliefs? Lucky for all of us, we all have negative beliefs. They come in all shapes, sizes, and vibrancy (i.e. "I'm unworthy" "I'm permanently damaged" "I have to be perfect" "I'll never succeed" "I'm unloveable" and so on). It is common to have multiple that feed into one another. I like to equate this to bullshit needs other bullshit to sustain itself. So if you have multiple, like I do, you're not alone in that aspect.
So where do these nuisances come from? All over the place. They can be learned at any point in our lives, childhood, adulthood, at work, outside, from parents, from friends, romantic partners, watching the news, etc. They can form based off one event, several events, or repeated occurrences . These various paths to the production of negative beliefs plant these seeds of misthought in our hearts, outside of our awareness. Since they function outside of our awareness, we begin to change our thoughts, decisions, and actions to support these beliefs. For example, a person who believes they have to be perfect has a high likelihood of constantly striving towards unrealistic expectations they have placed on themselves. This goes against people around them voicing concern about stress levels, telling them they are doing exceedingly well. There will usually be a base feeling they aren't doing enough. Everything needs to be in order, just so. Now, this isn't how "I have to be perfect" appears in every person with it. It's just a small example of how it can look like.
Believe it or not, these beliefs formed to keep us safe. Why? Makes no sense, I know; however, the brain has to find creative ways to keep us safe in challenging circumstances (side note: the brain filters messages and things in our environment as safe or not safe). Why would we form beliefs that keeps us quiet, striving, etc? Let's take the belief of "I'm unloveable" as an example. The person that has this belief could have learned it as a child in an emotionally abusive household. Attaching to the emotionally abusive figure can be dangerous and tear down a child's self-esteem even more or the child is left broken and confused, trying to figure out why. The belief forms as a protective measure. If they believe they are unloveable, not only do they have an answer to why things are the way they are, they are also less likely to engage in an unsafe attachment with the emotionally abusive figure. This way, their psyche, their emotions are a wee bit more cushioned against this environment, because they care a wee bit less.
Does this completely protect the person? No. Does this belief go away magically? Not always. There are ways to address them and hopefully flip them into positive beliefs. Therapy (surprise, surprise coming from a therapist), art, dance, any expressive form, confiding in close, loved ones, anything really as long as it doesn't harm you nor others. Flipping beliefs doesn't happen over night and there is no one cure, fix all. I've been working on the "I'm unheard" belief for a couple years now and while it has diminished in its power over time, it likes to rear its head every so often. So, keep in mind you're on a journey in life and this is one of those obstacles to overcome. Once you overcome it, you better a better, more kickass version of yourself. Go at your own pace, challenge those negative thoughts, they are not your thoughts. They are that of the negative belief. One day, you'll be able to turn around and it'll be silent, even if for a moment.