Happy (belated) 4th of July!
I hope you all enjoyed some downtime, relaxation, no phones, no work, and maybe some less-than-stellar food choices. Perhaps you had some time with friends and/or family. I had family time.
I come from a large family, with lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, and more cousins. Then people get married, have kids…have more kids. Big Family. I’ve always considered it a blessing, even now as my family starts to shrink, it’s still a blessing to have grown up around tons of love and laughter.
Wait, what? Well, life is 50/50. So, it’s great to have so many people in my life who I KNEW loved me. But that also means I have LOTS of people’s opinions, values, and beliefs in my head. And now, in my 50s, maybe some of those don’t ring true. Maybe I disagree with some of the values that were important to my family growing up. One always comes up for me…”HOLIDAYS ARE FOR FAMILY.” I can still hear my dad giving me that lecture as I argued about being with friends (often a BOY-friend).
What if holidays are for ANYONE? Luckily for me, my dad is gone, so, I don’t have to see his face as I say that out loud. He would NOT be pleased. AT ALL. I think he would have gotten over my divorce, because “Catholics don’t get divorced” is more a value from my mom than my dad. Not sure how he would feel about the two granddaughters, as, “The Irish have boys first.” Because yes, you can control THAT, right?
Listen, I’m not trying to dish my dad (not nice to do that to a dead person) or discount how much he loved me and taught me. I appreciate my parents and my family, and I know how lucky I am to have such an abundance of relatives. BUT…
I don’t need to live by EVERYTHING that I was taught. Church on Sunday. Family on holidays. No meat on Friday (yeah to being Catholic!). Offer a person a beer when they come to your house. NEVER ask anyone to take their shoes off when they visit. ALL parties must end in coffee. Lots of coffee. And Irish Whiskey NOT made by Protestants. Honestly, I could sit here all day with these. It’s making me laugh, and cry, thinking about it.
But here’s the thing, some of these things I did NOT EVEN KNOW were in there. I have some beliefs that have been handed down from who knows where? They are just lodged in my DNA like my green eyes and freckles. The question is:
Next time you are planning an event or a holiday or just a new experience, if you have a yucky feeling, I invite you to pause. Ask yourself: “Is it true HERE and NOW? Or is that my mom (or dad or Uncle Jimmy) in my head?”
Nothing has gone wrong here. At all. We all have values and beliefs stuck in our hippocampus. The hippocampus is the memory center of the brain AND NEVER forgets ANYTHING. It’s just that we don’t have conscious access to ALL of it all the time (a good thing!).
You get to decide what is true. You get to decide what is good for YOU right now. BUT, before you can do that, you must explore. See what’s in there. Notice. Give these beliefs some airtime.
I’m a Stress Management Coach and I offer 1:1 coaching for physical therapists and other people in health care who are stressed out, anxious and overwhelmed and want to love their life, jobs, and career again. If you have some lingering beliefs that you can’t seem to shake or let go of, book a call and let’s hash them out. You won’t know what YOU like until you examine what you’ve been taught and then DECIDE on purpose what to believe. What does this have to do with your stress? Well, EVERY TIME you are stuck between an old belief, one that doesn’t serve, and a new belief, your brain feels stressed and wants you to choose the old one for safety reasons.
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