What if I told you my second grade teacher was an awful, deceitful woman?
Can you believe an educator who is supposed to be responsible for shaping the minds of impressionable children, could stand in front of a 2nd grade classroom and tell kids there were NINE planets in the solar system?
She looked me right in the eye and straight up lied to my face.
"Pluto is the 9th planet."
Because of this woman, I walked around for over 30 years looking like an uneducated idiot, thinking Pluto was a REAL planet instead of a "dwarf planet."
Then this week, I had to read how NASA found an entirely NEW planetary system with multiple planets that could sustain life? She told me Earth was the only place which was inhabitable!
Now I'm stuck holding onto these old beliefs and I can't let them go. I've believed in Pluto for so long... I can't let it go now!
This woman's lies just keep adding up. Is there no end to the suffering she tried to inflict upon me?
You might be thinking, "Dan, you sound like a lunatic."
You're right. No rational human being could read any of what I just wrote and say "Yes. You raise some interesting points!"
Mrs. Burrell was simply doing the best she could from her level of awareness in the mid-1980's, passing on the info she had learned from teachers before her.
Fortunately, I have the ability as an adult to look at new scientific data and change the beliefs which no longer make sense. I can let go of the attachment to Pluto (which was oddly enough, my favorite planet as a kid), and see the exciting new life possibilities which exist in an infinite Universe.
Makes sense, right? In fact, it's exciting when you accept that there is so much knowledge we can still learn about our galaxy.
Now take my planetary manifesto and replace "second grade teacher" with "mom and dad."
Replace the statement "Pluto is the 9th planet" with any of the following:
"Money doesn't grow on trees."
"Children should be seen, not heard."
"Don't act like that. People will think you're weird."
"Stop crying. You're being a baby!"
"You can't trust men/women."
"You'll never make a living doing _________"
We hold onto these beliefs for a lifetime without questioning where they came from. When confronted with evidence that contradicts it, we ignore it and cling to the limiting thoughts which keep us safe.
A recent client had a lifelong belief she could not ask for what she wants. She told herself her needs were unimportant to people around her. It was rooted in an incident at 2-years-old where she fell from the bottom two stairs in the living room.
She cried and screamed out for her mother, who was on the phone. Seeing the child was scared, but ultimately OK, Mom continued her conversation.
The little girl screamed even louder to get her mother's attention, until the mom became irritated and aggressively whispered "Stop crying! I. AM. ON. THE. PHONE!"
In that moment, the two-year-old made a decision that would forever filter the way she saw the world.... "Asking for help when I need it makes people upset and I will be rejected."
But what if there was more to the story than what she saw at 2 years old?
What if her mother was completely overwhelmed trying to take care of multiple children, run a household, and do it alone because her husband had left?
What if the mother had been around children enough to know her daughter was scared, but not seriously hurt in the fall? What if her reaction had nothing to do with the little girl being an annoyance, and everything to do with simply trying to keep all the plates spinning?
What new possibilities could exist for my client if she opened her mind and found new data which allowed her to make a new belief?
We worked together to change her focus to the numerous times she had been supported as an adult. She realized her husband had always been in her corner, but so were old co-workers, bosses, and friends from years gone by.
As she let go of the disempowering thought patterns and opened herself up to speak more freely about what she needed, life started to get really awesome. She began to make deeper connections with girlfriends who planned "girls nights" on days when she allowed herself to be vulnerable and admit she was stressed out.
Doors started opening for a dream career that once seemed like an impossibility. All of a sudden, she found herself randomly making connections with the right people and being "in the right place at the right time." But none of it could have happened until she spoke up about what she wanted.
In 12 weeks, she has done a 180 turn, feeling supported, focused, and seeing new possibilities for her life that once seemed unattainable.
We do not have to shackle ourselves to the beliefs we made as children... because beliefs are only beliefs. They are not "truth."
If you are feeling stuck in an area of your life, it's because you have confused your beliefs for "truth." You are clinging onto an outdated story about Pluto and not seeing all of the other awesome possibilities that exist.
What is the belief you can't seem to let go of? Could you replace your certainty with a sense of curiosity?
Where did the belief REALLY come from? Where were you when you made this decision? And is there a new, empowering meaning in this old story which could help you live a more empowered life?
Much like the newly discovered Trappist-1 solar system, there is an entire galaxy of new possibilities waiting to unfold before your eyes.
All you have to do is be willing to challenge your outdated beliefs.