Monday, August 22, 2016

Changing Negative Beliefs From Childhood For Good, Part 1

I have read that many of the issues and negative beliefs that adults carry around with them have their origins in their childhood, and I believe it. If there's one thing I wish I had known growing up, it's the law of attraction. It might have saved me a lot of grief. Unfortunately, the notion that your thoughts and feelings could affect your life is not something that was well known at all during the 1970s and '80s, when I came of age. I was raised Catholic, and I'm sure if The Secret had been published 30 or 40 years ago, it would have been frowned upon and dismissed as cult-like beliefs. The New Age movement was something that seemed a little scary to me at the time. Despite these stigmas, Dr. Wayne Dyer published his first book on how thoughts can affect your life, Your Erroneous Zones, in 1976 but it wasn't until a few years ago after the release of The Secret that I even knew who he was. 

Nonetheless, better late than never as the old saying goes. I know that all of my beliefs around men, love, and relationships have their roots in my childhood and I'm sad to say, they're not very positive or helpful ones. It's a weird thing, because I have zero negative beliefs when it comes to money, my weight/body image, and the new career direction I'm moving into. Even though my father could be a little stingy when delegating part of the paycheck to my mother for groceries and other necessities, I never felt that we were wanting more money and if I did hear that saying, "Money doesn't grow on trees" it never affected me in a negative way. As a result, I feel good today when I think about money and attracting it, and I always feel like there's enough of it for everybody. 

Same with my body. I grew up tall and thin and have stayed that way, and maybe that's why I have zero body issues and rarely, if ever, criticize any part of it. I do like my body and my looks and I take care of both. 

But...the opposite sex? Dating? Love? Marriage? I still have all kinds of issues in these areas (I'm actually tearing up a bit as I type this paragraph, which goes to show you how affected I am by it all.) The fact that I fell for a man online last year that had EVERYTHING I wanted and actually was deeply attracted to me back...EXCEPT for the fact that he isn't single and eligible/available hasn't helped me improve my beliefs up to this point all that much, despite what I've written on here during the past year. Although I did forgive him, I still have moments where that whole head-shaking scenario still gets to me a little bit.

I haven't had a date in years (yes, I'm being raw and honest.) The last few times I did online dating, I wanted to vomit. It was so bad. We're talking being hit on by a blind guy looking for a chauffeur that asked me numerous questions about my hair, and a couple that was looking to add a third wheel to their relationship (it was the woman that reached out to me, making it even weirder.) I went out with a guy that was much shorter in person than what was stated in his profile, plus he used photos that were definitely at least ten years old. And he had diarrhea of the mouth so bad, he ended up only asking me one question about myself during the whole time. 

I gave up on online dating and did the LOA thing full force, and focused on myself and my life. Then I attracted Mr. S and for months afterwards my beliefs and positivity that I worked so hard to build up took a gut punch. 

I know that I have a problem, and I know where it comes from. And I want to change it. I know I can change it. I know this is possible and it has worked for other people. 

It comes from my childhood. 

For starters, two of my siblings are divorced. My oldest sister remarried; my brother never did. I was a kid when both of these divorces took place and they were nasty. I think my brother went through a worse situation than my sister did; I seem to remember hers becoming final much sooner and with a little less drama. 

As a kid witnessing all this and overhearing one side of the phone conversations between a sibling and their soon-to-be ex-spouse, filled with insults and expletives, there's no doubt some of this affected my perceptions of love, marriage, and relationships. 

My father was funny, literally. He brushed off the ending of both marriages by joking that "the good ship lollipop capsized." (My dad was very funny at times.) Maybe that was his way of protecting me and not making a huge deal out of the life changes. But nonetheless, I kind of grew up thinking that life-long love was no guarantee and that you couldn't always trust the other person in the relationship. 

(Today, however, I realize that both my sister and brother made very poor choices. My sister's first husband gambled and used cocaine. My brother married a very flirtatious woman that loved male attention, and when she got breast cancer my brother wasn't always there for her. She ended up turning to other men.) 

But my negative beliefs were also being formed in school. I was bullied -- by both girls and boys. I wore glasses, I looked like Amy Carter, I was a quiet kid that did her homework, and I had a funny voice so I guess I was an easy target. I have since read a lot of articles as to why children bully other kids. Mostly it's because they are the ones with the issue -- their parents are divorced or going through one, they have low self-esteem or learning issues and they're jealous of the kids in the class that seem to have what they do not. In fact, looking back I realized that many of the boys in my classes that gave me a hard time were the ones with the worst grades that were constantly being sent to the principle's office and going to detention. 

I remember one time in elementary school, my best friend at the time wanted to tell me something in secret, so she took me behind the classroom door. When the other girls in the class saw us behind the door, they started to call us lesbians. My friend got so upset she started to cry. Another time some of the popular girls pretended to like her and invited her to play games during recess. I was very suspicious of their behavior, which was out of character for them and did not participate. Then they stabbed my friend in the back by pretending to be her friend and then kicking her out of their little clique.

(This same friend, by the way, dumped me for no reason when we entered junior high, other than saying she wanted to "branch out." I think she was influenced by the time by the popular kids telling her I wasn't cool enough to be friends with. Nonetheless, I ended up falling in with a lovely bunch of girls that I still see in person on occasion today, and we're connected on Facebook as well, of course.)

I don't really get kids and why some of them have to act this way. I can only imagine it must be far worse today in the Internet age, where everyone is on Facebook. 

And junior high? Forget it. I still remember the day I was walking up the stairs, wearing an ESPRIT miniskirt that I was proud of. I had an awful perm at the time and huge glasses, but I was trying. Two older boys with long hair (we called them "band guys" as they were wanna be Jon Bon Jovis at that time) were going in the other direction. One of them said to the other loud enough on purpose so that I would hear it, "I hate it when ugly girls try to be sexy." 

I ignored them, but I never forget those words. 

I never dated in junior high or high school. At the junior high dance, the guy I had a crush on got visibly very uncomfortable when I asked him if I'd like to dance withe me. He reluctantly obliged but his date -- one of the "popular" girls (who was homely and had an acne problem) pointed and laughed at us during the entire song. (For the record, the song was "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship. To this day I flip the station when it comes on the radio.)

This is an incident that happened 30 freaking years ago. Thirty! And yet, as you can see, in some way it still bothers me, or I wouldn't be writing about it.  

As a result, to this day sometimes, a small part of me still thinks the same thoughts that I had 30 years ago. Namely, that, there's something wrong with me. I'm not attractive. I can't have a guy that I think is attractive, as he won't want me back. That I'm not worthy in some way. There's no good men out there anyway that are available. They're all taken and married. I'm in my 40s and it's too late for me to find a soulmate. Guys can't be trusted -- they're mean and all they do is break your heart. I can't attract a "cool" guy -- he wouldn't want me. And...if I were really all that, someone would have found me and married me a long time ago. There must be something wrong with me if I'm single. I've also heard other people say to me, "It's because you are pretty that you're single. Guys are intimidated by you and afraid of rejection -- so they tend to ask out women that they know won't turn them down."

I could go on and so on. I also remember some of my high school girlfriends having bad experiences with guys which only reinforced my growing beliefs at that time that males couldn't be trusted. 

It's awful and it's ugly. I thought I had put most if not all of these feelings to bed years ago. But today, honestly, this is how I am feeling. I'm letting it all bubble to the surface right here on this blog. I'm not writing all of this to feel like a victim, by the way, or because I'm seeking sympathy. I'm writing it because I want to change it. 

I'm going to end this post for now, and write part two during the week when I'm feeling a little better about it. For now, I think acknowledging these beliefs and recognizing where they came from is an important first step in the right direction. And one thing I do know for sure: a belief is NOT a fact. Facts have been proven by scientific proof. A belief cannot be proven. Beliefs are malleable and only feel true for the person carrying them around. 

I'm tired of feeling this way, and I'm tired of feeling held back in this area of my life, and I know deep down in my heart that these beliefs are not true and I know I can change them. I'm a child of God -- there's no way I can somehow be unworthy of my desires. 

Today, I'm setting a powerful intention: This week, I intend to defeat my negative beliefs around men, love, and relationships and kick them to the curb once and for all. I intend to heal this area of my life and let the sadness and darkness of it be replaced with light and love.

More to come. 

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