Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mistaken Beliefs

Positive affirmations are used by many people, but I just couldn't ever seem to incorporate them into my life.  I just always felt like I was lying to myself.  It wasn't until I got a book from my therapist that addressed positive affirmations in a different way that I saw the real value in using positive affirmations.  I was looking through my notes and was reminded of the process I learned in the book (sorry, I apparently forgot to write down the name of the book in my notes).

To start this process you pick a "mistaken belief" you don't randomly pick out a positive affirmation, you start at the root of the problem.  The phrase "mistaken belief" changed everything for me, as I read it the first time I realized that it isn't the "positive affirmation" that is the lie, it is the "mistaken belief" I have been telling myself all my life that is the lie.  I was really excited about trying this process.  I decided to start with one of my most destructive mistaken beliefs which is how I value myself.  I don't have a high value of myself and what value I do give to myself is connected to what I do.  I remember reading something in Co-Dependent No More which helped me understand what I was doing, it said:

"At the heart of most rescues is a demon:  low self-worth.  We rescue because we don't feel good about ourselves.  Although the feelings are transient and artificial, caretaking provides us with a temporary hit of good feelings, self-worth and power."

When I read this quote I realized that I was "rescuing" everyone and everything hoping that by doing so, I would be noticed, I would be valued.  I can't seem to value myself on my own and have fallen deep into the co-dependent trap more often than not and so this is something I really wanted to work on.  I came up with my mistaken belief, "I need to be perfect to be seen and valued by others."

After I came up with my mistaken belief, the second step was to write about the evidence that lead me to this belief.  I wrote about things that happened in my life that brought about this mistaken belief.  The third step was to write the truth, not what I had come to believe, but the real truth about this mistaken belief.  The fourth step was for me to write about why this mistaken belief wasn't promoting my well being.  Once I was finished writing all of that, the final step was to come up with my affirmation which was "I don't have to be perfect, I am loved and valued just for being me."

This was huge for me, because I came up with an affirmation through this process that didn't feel like a lie.  I could actually believe this affirmation and incorporate it into my life.  I wish I could say that since I did this exercise I haven't fallen into the low self-worth trap, but I have.  Sometimes the old feelings sneak in and take over.  The mistaken belief has been in my head for many, many years and it is hard to break that cycle, but I keep trying and reminding myself of the new positive affirmation.

Since learning this process I have used it many times taking old, mistaken beliefs and working through where they came from, how they are hindering my progress and coming up with positive affirmations to counter act the mistaken beliefs.  I'm dispelling old beliefs, incorporating positive new ones and step-by-step healing.    

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