Are Your Beliefs Allowing You to Live Simpler?

We all have beliefs that have a habit of running our lives when we aren’t looking. And sometimes these beliefs will lead you away from what you want.

What kinds of beliefs lead you away from the simpler life?

  • That person can have it, but I can’t
  • I need to say yes to everything or people won’t like me
  • I need this item
  • I am not good at gardening/making my own food/living in the country
  • I don’t make enough money to live a simpler life
  • I make too much money to live a simpler life
  • I need to keep up with my friends
  • I don’t have enough time to live simply
  • I can’t complete this until it is perfect
  • More is better
  • Newer is better
  • If my kids aren’t in everything they won’t get into college
  • In order to be a good person I must have a perfect body, perfect house, perfect marriage, perfect kids etc.
  • I don’t deserve a simpler life, after all lots of people have it harder than me
  • I’m not capable enough of creating the life I want
  • I have bad luck
  • I can only be successful if I work, work, work
  • I can’t…
  • It’s too hard to simplify
  • I don’t have the energy to simplify
  • I am just not organized

Any I am missing?

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So now that you recognize some of the beliefs that keep you stuck, how do you overcome them?

  1. The reason you have these beliefs is something happened in the past and you decided that is how it always happens. Since then your mind has done its best to confirm this belief by interpreting events to prop up your belief. Can you think of what triggered this belief? If not, don’t worry about it, you can still let go of it.
  2. Think about how much this belief has cost you emotionally, physically, in relationships, spiritually, financially, and/or mentally. Now your mind has a reason to let it go.
  3. Create doubt in the old belief. Think of ways your belief is not true. Think of times when the opposite was true. If you think, "I can’t complete this until it is perfect," think of all the things you have completed that weren’t necessarily perfect and things turned out fine. People didn’t even notice. You moved on with your life instead of being stuck tweaking. And think about the times when you tried to make it perfect and you lost hours or the deadline was missed.
  4. What is the opposite belief that will help you in your life?  (How you believe is interpretation, so you might as well interpret powerfully.) For the example above you could think, "I have a clear outcome on what is enough for this project."
  5. Get more possibilities for your new belief. Read about people with those beliefs. Read about people with lifestyles you want. When you are envious, think about how you can get more of whatever you are envious into your life. Start propping up your more empowering beliefs.
  6. Repeat – you usually aren’t going to let go of ingrained beliefs right away, but keep at it.

Martin Seligman Ph. D., happiness psychologist and researcher, says that one of the main differences between optimists and pessimists is that optimists believe in trying new methods until you solve the problem or reach a solution. And pessimists believe the problem has no solution.

From Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism:

Optimism – reacting to setbacks from a presumption of personal power

  • Bad events are temporary setbacks
  • Isolated to particular circumstances
  • Can be overcome by my effort and abilities

Pessimism –  reacting to setbacks from a presumption of personal helplessness

  • Bad events will last a long time
  • Will undermine everything I do
  • Are my fault

Play with changing at least one of your beliefs today.

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Photo by: Bug Eddy
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