How Beliefs Work to Help or Hurt Ourselves and Others

Over and over, I’m reminded of how many times us as individuals believe something and try to make what we believe true for someone else. Our thoughts about doing it can be well intended. We can think that our beliefs save someone else from themselves or others. We can think that our education gives us the facts on what is real and what isn’t. We can believe that our faith is what everyone else REALLY needs. We can believe we are more and someone else is less or that we are less and someone else is more. Beliefs can cause us great pain to ourselves and other, and beliefs can lift us up, so we can help others lift themselves. 

Here’s What I Know

Beliefs are perspectives. We can each choose to believe a perspective that feels right to us. We will base our beliefs in science, faith, family, education, culture, society, media, social circles, support groups, religion, relationships, political views, history, etc.  In the end, we will each make the choices that feel right for us at the time. NOBODY’S beliefs are 100% the same. They can’t be. Each individual’s experiences will form, change, alter, shift, grow, and expand based on each event that takes place in his or her life. 

That’s Not True

We all get exposed to people sharing their opinions of what is true and what isn’t. We each have a right to share our truths. We will all find our own truth whether someone else believes what we say or not.  I’ve been told that my way of healing from my history of trauma wasn’t true for victims of rape. UMMMMM… if it is true for me, and it is what helped me have healthy relationships with myself and others—How can someone else say that it’s not true? A victim of any trauma can choose to stay in a place of pain or they can find a path to thrive. It depends on each individual’s mindset on what they want the experience to mean for their lives. I do my best to inform people that my views of the world are MY perspectives. If someone takes a seed that I give and wants to plant it in their internal world that is completely up to them.  But does it make my or their experiences any less true? No, because it is what we are experiencing based on the beliefs we have chosen to follow. 

We are a society that is very quick to judge something as absolute, when very little is actually absolute.  When someone says, “That’s not true” or you find yourself thinking it, just try for a moment to say to yourself, “That is what is true for them, why?” Go deeper! If you want to engage with the person, try to find out why she or he came to the beliefs that are guiding her/him. Here are a few suggestion of questions you could ask:

  • Does believing that make you feel better about yourself or about the world? Why or why not?
  • How does believing that help you make good and healthy choices?
  • How does believing what you do limit your ability to change and grow and/or how does is help it? 
  •  How do you find what you say to be true?
  • Do you think this belief helps or hurts your connections with others?
  • Do you think this belief limits your thinking or expands your opportunity to learn?

Every time I hear myself saying that someone else’s beliefs aren’t true, I have to tell myself that is their perspective of truth. Then, I need to determine whether it is worth trying to find out more, leave it alone, or let them know what I believe.  One thing I know for sure is if someone is drinking or on drugs, I keep my mouth shut and walk away. If I care about the person and authentically want to know why they believe the things they do, I ask when they are sober. We each have to make that choice for ourselves. I can tell you I’ve grown and expanded in my beliefs because of being open to learn and listen about how others think.  If I am exposed to a belief that comes from a place of fear, often time I don’t comment, because I know I need to find my own way of expressing my beliefs, hence my blog, articles I’ve written, and my upcoming book. People who want to know what I believe will choose to read my work, follow me on social media, call, text, or email me with questions or asking for advice. Each of us is having experiences that are true for us right now. The quicker we understand that, the easier it will be to authentically connect with someone else. Our perspectives don’t have to be the same in order to find common ground. 

Our Personal Paths

I know that I’m not going to force anyone to change their beliefs or convince them that what they believe is true or isn’t, that’s not my job. I feel my purpose is to share my perspectives in case there is another person out there that can relate or that is looking to change, shift, and grow because they aren’t comfortable where they are, or they simply want to gain more perspectives to help them find their own perspectives of truth that work best for them.  All I ever can offer someone else is seeds from my garden. Not all my seeds will grow into big strong trees, beautiful flowers, or luscious edibles. If I’m sharing out of old belief systems of pain, chaos, confusion, and/or fear, I’m giving seeds that contain weeds and strangling vines that will do damage if planted. I can’t say I’ve never given these kinds of seeds out because I lived my life in a lot of pain for many years. I didn’t mean to hurt someone else, but I was self-abusing and when we self-abuse, the seeds we have become toxic, invasive species. The healthier I got, the more weeds and strangling vines I pulled out of my own garden. When I did that, I limited the toxic seeds I distributed.

We each start our lives with a collection of seeds. Some of them are inherently planted before we are even able to process thoughts. As we travel along our paths we are given seed after seed and we decided whether or not to plant them. Sometimes we have to make space by clearing out an area of our garden that no longer serves us. No garden is the same. All gardens are ever-changing, growing, and expanding. Some are not well kept and are neglected. Others are thriving with amazing life. Then there is everything in-between. 

Our Choices

Many of us limit our power by believing we don’t have any. We convince ourselves that we are trapped (a perspective). We give our power away time and time again by blaming others for the way we feel, think, act, and react. We give away our power by believing someone or something can make us live the way we are living. Nothing outside of us needs to change in order to live a better life. What needs to be worked on is between our own two ears. When we realize how much power we have to internally change our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, actions, and reactions, we open ourselves up to creating a beautiful expansive garden. 

We Are Here to Learn

Anyone who has ever gardened knows that it takes continued maintenance to have a healthy garden— we are no different. The longer we go without self-care and self-maintenance, the more the weeds will grow and spread. Even if we do take good care of ourselves, old weeds will pop-up looking pretty as they invasively spread and take life from our healthy flowers and plants.  We are here in this life to learn. 

We need those weeds to help us see how we can grow and expand in a healthier way,  or if we choose a destructive way. We just want to make sure we don’t let them take over. When weeds take over, we know by our addictions that we use to numb ourselves, along with anything else we do to avoid doing the work to change the things we don’t like in our lives (blaming, shaming, bullying, gossiping, etc.) The more open we are to learn, the more healthy our gardens will be. 

Why Do I Stay Focused on this Topic?

If you follow FromALovingPlace.com, you know that I’ve written about this topic multiple times and in multiple different ways. Each post is different, but carries similar messages. This is part of my self-maintenance. I have to remember these things, because I’m not above being triggered. When I write these posts it soothes me. It helps me to see that a reaction I may have had was just a weed popping up that I need to pull out. Writing is one of the tools I use to pull out the weeds that can grow and spread if I don’t do something. Writing is my something. We all have to decide for ourselves, which tools we want to use, and how to use them. We aren’t here to plant our seeds in other people’s gardens. We can only offer our seeds. Writing on FromALovingPlace.com is how I offer the seeds I’ve planted. It also is helps me to plant seeds I’ve received. I use this blog to spread loving messages that help me maintain, grow, and expand my garden in a way that makes me feel good. If someone chooses to take them and plant them in their garden, the energy of love spreads. My seeds aren’t the only seeds. There are so many seeds that spread love. People don’t have to plant mine. That’s what I love about this process. The ones who offer different perspectives of love help me to expand my garden even more. Staying on this topic helps me to stay open to grow and expand. The more I can see the world through perspectives of truth, the more curious I get about learning from others. As I learned from my time in AL-ANON, I take what I like, and leave the rest.

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Friday Feel-Good Book Series: Books that Gave Me Seeds to Thrive

New Series Starts September 20, 2019

Hello Friends, Followers, and Visitors:

I’m starting a new series! I decided Fridays was a good day to tell you about the books that gave me seeds to thrive. Each Friday, I will tell you about a book I’ve read on my journey and why I would recommend it. The books will not be in any particular order. Just know that every Friday, until I feel like I’m done, I will share one of my treasures with you. It will be your choice if you decide you want to plant one of these seeds in your garden. I encourage comments, insights, and sharing the books that helped you. You never know what book I will feel energetically pulled to read next. I tend to have a good two to three books going at a time. Just remember the name of my site, comments should come from a loving place, or they won’t be posted. If there is a quote from a book that inspires you to live better, you can share it along with the author name, book title, and the page number the quote is from.

Why am I Doing This?

I’m often asked about the books I read. For those who don’t know me, I’m an avid reader of ways to make life better. I started my love of reading about this over thirty years ago. Here are a few of my favorite topics: self-help, spirituality, personal transformation, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, healthy living, brain studies, human development, sociology, psychology, religion, and cultural anthropology. Reading all these books has helped me see the person I want to be, ways (not one way) to get there, and be open to see what could be holding me back. They helped me discover my strengths and weaknesses, along with what I was ready for and what I wasn’t. I also have read about plenty of ways I don’t want to live. 

In every book I’ve read, I’ve discovered there are no new concepts, just different ways of presenting them. If the writer is viewing a concept through a place of fear, I look at how that affects their view of interpretation. If a writer is seeing a concept through a place of love, I look to see how I’m connecting to their beliefs about the topic before I consider their perspective of truth. No matter what, I know and understand that every writer is speaking from his or her own place of truth. I understand that just because they believe a certain way of doing things is the right way, it’s up to me to decide what is the best way for me. In the end, only I can decide the perspectives of truth that I will form my reality around. No one can force us to have a belief that serves or doesn’t serve us living our best lives. We have to be open to see how our own beliefs are affecting our reality and make a choice on whether or not to keep our energy believing what we do. 

I believe I can learn from EVERYTHING I read. If I feel an energetic pull to read something, I know there was a reason I was meant to read it. I look for the lessons. There hasn’t been a book in the categories I listed above that I got nothing from. There are some that I put down, because when the energetic force stopped pulling me to read it, I knew I got what I needed. Being a reader of this kind of material, it’s good to trust the journey. We don’t know where it’s leading us. 

When I read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson at fourteen, I had no idea the journey I was about to go on. I’ve read the book at least four times now and I find something new and different that resonates EVERY time. My fourteen-year-old self wasn’t ready for a lot of what I was reading, but it gave me seeds. I could see I wanted to live from a loving place. I just would have to go through a lot of life experiences before the material would truly sink in. 

I picked up The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle three times throughout a period of five or six years before I was ready to grasp his voice. I would make it through a couple of chapters, then put it down. I actually ended up reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle first. I did the Oprah course she had on it. After doing that, when I picked up The Power of Now again, I got it and loved it! I read it right when I needed to and right when it was important for a big step in my journey. 

The point is, when we are invested in this type of material, TRUST THE JOURNEY! Don’t beat yourself up about what you should read, or what you should do. You are ready when you’re ready. If you feel pulled to read something, GET THE BOOK! If you’re reading and all the sudden you stop—It’s okay! You read what you needed to for now, or you would have felt pulled to read more. Don’t get rid of the book! Sometimes you will find that it’s years before you’re ready, but it’s good to have so that when you are ready for it, you can open it and just start reading.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times this has happened to me. 

I hope you are excited to get on board! The fun will begin soon. See you back here Friday!

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 11 – Projecting Shame

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 11: Projecting Shame

“Shame erodes our courage and fuels our disengagement.”

-Brené Brown

 

Yesterday, we went through a list of ways we live in our shame. Most of them focused mainly on how choices and beliefs of living in our own shame affect how we live our lives. Today, we will go deeper into how shame gets projected to the world.

Shame is everywhere! Anytime advertising aims at people’s disapproval of themselves, they are aiming at the shame within. History proves individuals striving for a better life, way of living, and personal outlook will lead individuals to spend tons of money on trying to fix their insides by buying something to improve themselves or their life outside. Even though time and time again these things fail, we keep buying to try to avoid having to take a closer look inside to see how we are feeling about ourselves and why we are peaceful in this moment with who we are.

Our shame projects out and it gives the media, advertisers, products, programs, lifestyles, and money the power over our internal happiness and contentment. Is this any of these thing’s or people’s faults? NO! Our belief systems about what we are doing, seeing, wanting to change, and longing for are our own responsibility to look at. It is up to us to check-in with ourselves and ask ourselves why we are feeling driven to buy or seek satisfaction from life outside of us. Just think of it as a lesson. Don’t try to make it a personal attack on you as a consumer. We only buy into what we already believe.

If we believe money is bad

Money will keep itself away from us and/or cause us pain. Not because money is bad, but because our thoughts about money are bad. Why do we hate money’s affect on us? What kinds of decisions are we making with money to hate it? Are we expecting money to fill a void inside of us that comes from shame? It’s a choice to have a bad relationship with money. We project out that money is bad and we will be proven right. We actually are shaming money by continuing this relationship.

If we are shaming someone or something, we are shaming ourselves too.

If we believe something outside of us can make us happy

We are projecting out that we incapable of being happy otherwise. If we can’t be happy inside, it doesn’t matter what we have on the outside, we will project our inner shame and sabotage anything we attain from the outside world.

Take relationships as an example. If we believe a relationship can make us happy, or the person we are having the relationship with can make us happy, we are saying we aren’t happy without them. Think about the pressure we can put on a person or a relationship if we believe this belief. We start sabotaging the relationship by getting clingy, jealous, needy, suspicious, demanding, blaming, judgmental, etc. If our own personal worth and value is low enough we will try to get them to love us the way that we want to be loved instead of seeing the love they are capable of giving. We try to force them to be the way we think a happy relationship SHOULD be. We project our vision of happily ever after on them. We don’t even see the person in front of us, we see the illusion of the happily ever after that we created in our heads and we keep getting let down by the outcome. The relationship dies or turns into a nightmare and we use that to fuel our shame. Projecting our shame will destroy a relationship. It doesn’t matter if it’s romantic, friends, co-workers, or family. If we don’t accept ourselves, we won’t accept others, and the cycle of shame continues.

As we’ve grown as a society we’ve accepted programming to shame and be shamed. Shaming is going on every day. The little pieces of us that believe that we are supposed to be perfect eat the shaming up with a spoon. We even project our shame out by spewing it at other people for not living up to our expectation of you name it, a role-model, mother, father, husband, wife, sister, brother, citizen, politician, political party, religious group, ethnic group, gay person, straight person, white person, black person, foreigner, and we can go on and on. If you are spewing fear and hate, you are projecting our global society’s darkest weapon of mass destruction. SHAME!

We are shaming to try to make someone or something else feel small. We only do this when we feel small ourselves and are trying to make ourselves feel better by taking someone or something down with us. The Law of Attraction says we get more of what we project out…Do you see how this can be used as weapon of mass destruction? If our focus is on the worst in people, we bring out more of it. We create more fear and like the woman I talked about personally attacking me on Day 5, she tried shaming me as a parent and taking me down to a small level. For a little bit, her projected shame had a negative affect on me. If I didn’t have the experience I do, that event could have taken me down and kept me down. Carrying that much anger, fear, and rage is only fueling the shame within us, which depletes our loving energy.

We are capable of shifting our own energy away from this vicious shame cycle. We can focus on projecting love instead. This is the difference in representing what we stand for instead of what we are against. It is so easy to fall into the energy of what we are against, we can’t watch the news, political campaigns, social media feeds without seeing what people are against. We have to stay centered in what we are for, and the only way we can do that without trying to make someone else feel small is by embracing our own humanness and accepting and loving ourselves exactly as we are. Otherwise, we will at some point or other fall into the grips of projecting our shame instead of what most of us are truly intending to do, which is projecting our love and compassion.

We aren’t capable of forcing others to face their shame, fear, hate, or any other harmful beliefs. We can choose not to feed our own. It’s a choice each of us has to make EVERY SINGLE DAY. We operate so much on autopilot and have picked up beliefs that we aren’t even aware of by being exposed to the programming over and over again. If we don’t want to keep our own cycle of shame going and contributing to all the shame in the world, we have to face it head on and prove it wrong, not to anyone else, just to you. As you see your self-shaming ways dissipate by simply being aware, you will notice AMAZING shifts around you. You will start spotting more and more to like, appreciate, and enjoy about living your life. Once again, it’s the Law of Attraction, we get more of what we put out. Telling the world we love ourselves, and having expectations of something coming back to us because of it can’t fool the Law of Attraction. We have to truly and deeply feel that love for ourselves, and from there we will attract more to love.

When we get there is when we start focusing our attention on the things that matter, which is what we want to see more of. The heroes are the priority over the people causing others harm. We start seeing the difference in giving a person our love for the good choices they make instead of feeding the shame in the world by bringing the attention to those who are living in their own shame. If we contribute to someone else’s shame, we are making it worse for ourselves, them, and for the world because we are taking part in keeping the shame cycle alive. None of us are perfect and even if we do our best not to contribute, we will sometime fail. It’s in those moments we need to stay open, learn from our failures, and just keep attempting to do better next time. No need for self-abuse, just take responsibility and learn.

Just for Today

Be aware when you see your shame or others being projected. See that if it is someone else’s shame, we don’t have to take it personally. We don’t HAVE to feel attacked by someone else’s choices in how they are choosing to live their life. Just be aware of the choice.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 11 – My Participation in the Shame Cycle

Reading the letter can help us to take in the material in a more personal way. Writing our own letters becomes a contract we make with ourselves as a commitment to be and do better.

 

Who Do You See in the Dark?

In the dark, I see you. When all the motion of the world has stopped, you are there. In the calm, you come alive. I can’t blame anyone for what I see in the dark. It’s what’s inside of me. In this place, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings fester and come alive. They can lift me up or take me down. I create stories of all my inspirations and fears. Nothing is happening in the moment. My body lies dormant on the surface. Yet, I see you.

During the rush of the day, I miss your power. I can get caught up in whatever is going on. Sometimes I’m calm and collected and other times spinning on the hamster wheel. There are days meditation seems impossible because my mind is running so fast, other days I’m able to embrace the joy and peace that come in the moments of awe and gratitude.

But in the dark, when the world is no longer calling on me, I see you. I might not always recognize you, but I know you’re there. I might not remember to call on you, but your power fills me. You are the me I’ve created in my mind. Only by seeing you, can I take control back and become conscious of the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings I’m feeding into my dreams, which feed into how I perceive the world around me. My world is dictated by this image inside my head. I have the power to create my inner world, but first I have to see the truth in the darkness. Who do you see?

Be conscious of what you create in the dark.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2018

 

 

Perspective is the Key to a Happy or Miserable Life

“It isn’t the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it’s how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer.”

-Pema Chodron

Perspective is the key to a happy or miserable life. We all come with a set of ingrained beliefs. Some of them will work for us and others will work against us. Then we go through life gathering more and more beliefs and again, some will work for us and others will work against us. We get fixated on what is true according to our beliefs. It starts so early! As much as I try to teach my kids perspective and give them examples of other ways to look at any given situation, they still believe their way is the only way that could be right. The battles for right and wrong, no wonder why some of us have so many issues in relationships. If we are battling for right and wrong there is a winner and a loser. That is a competition, not a partnership. I can’t hear other people when I’m so fixated on being right. I can’t hear someone talking to me if they are so fixated on me being wrong. All I’m doing is coming up with my argument.

Perspective opens our mind to possibilities. We can see things from other angles and really get our creative brains flowing if we can simply change our language from I’m right, or I’m in the right to this is my perspective, what is yours? We are more open to understand if we don’t think in absolutes. We can come up with real working resolutions when we are not acting against one another but working for the betterment of the relationship with one another. Does this mean we can’t have strong beliefs and convictions? Of course not! We just stop being limited by them. We open ourselves up to understanding. We still may not agree with what another person says or does, but we can all agree to disagree whenever we sit fit. You can agree to disagree with this article and that’s ok too.

All I can say, I’m happier when I am not competing to be right. When I don’t understand someone’s perspective I can ask questions, I will learn enough in their answers to know if it’s worth sharing my beliefs or not. I know I won’t change someone’s opinion by saying they are wrong, but it might change eventually in time when they are ready. If we aren’t battling a person to make their beliefs wrong, and simply offering our perspective, it is much easier to disagree and keep things peaceful. If a person doesn’t feel threatened by our opinion, they might remain open enough to hear what we have to say. We also may be able to hear what they have to say, who knows we may alter our perspective on some issues.

No person can be 100% right all the time. We are all shaped in very different ways, this doesn’t make any of us right or wrong. We need to have people who are different and who have different beliefs. This is how we learn empathy, compassion, and acceptance of others. This is what makes us better people. We can turn to judgment, hate, and bigotry if we want too. All I know is when I go there, I don’t feel good. My stomach gets tied in knots. I get tense. I get angry. Overall, I feel like a miserable human being. Though I can fall into some nasty cycles of judgment here or there, I do become aware much faster now and can work my way out of it for the most part. I have a few stragglers that keep rearing their ugly head from time to time.

When I don’t work myself out of my misery, I know there is a bigger issue at hand. I know the issue doesn’t involve me changing anyone else’s behavior except for mine. I don’t have to respond any ONE way to people I disagree with. I have tons of options. When I know that AND can spot it, life becomes so much easier.

Perspective of knowing, I CHOOSE to see things the way I do is so incredibly freeing. This perspective is what opened doors for me out of toxic relationships and helped me to be kinder and more loving to myself and others.

Now, I can look in the mirror and know that I have a choice in what I want to focus on. I can focus on the areas of my body and mind that cause me to not like myself or I can CHOOSE to celebrate what I see.

I can look at someone else’s beliefs as a personal attack or I can see that they are only reflecting their own beliefs on me. I don’t have to agree with them under any circumstance if I CHOOSE not to take on their opinion.

I find it fun to play with perspective now when something really gets to me. It may take me a little bit before I’m ready to play, but once I get there I feel soooo much better. Seeing things with an open mind never means we have to agree with anything that we don’t feel comfortable with. What it does do is help us trust our gut to tell us what feels comfortable and what doesn’t. At least, that’s my perspective.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2017