“When you understand how to change your paradigm, you will expose yourself to a brand new world of power, possibility and promise.” – Bob Proctor
Each of us has a unique way in which we view the world. For example, some of believe it’s friendly, some of us believe it’s neutral and some of us believe it’s hostile. Within that are yet more differences in beliefs, like it’s a friendly world but you still have to be careful because there are natural laws and the consequences that follow. Others believe it’s a friendly world and it’s purely your point of view that makes it friendly or not. The collections of beliefs that shape your holistic point of view is called your paradigm. There are approximately 7.5 people on the planet which means there are approximately 7.5 different paradigms. Which also means that there are over 7.5 billion different points of view. Yikes! No wonder it’s hard to agree on anything in this world.
Okay, so why does any of this matter? Why should you even care? Well, most people walk this earth with the sense that their viewpoint is right. Those who agree with their viewpoint are said to be right and those who do not are said to be wrong. So if I were to say President Trump is the best President we ever had, some would agree, some would say they are on the fence and yet others would vehemently disagree so much so that they may never talk to me again or would unfriend me on Facebook. I don’t know what your point of view is on this is matter nor am I concerned with knowing. You have a right to your point of view just as I have a right to mine. But what I invite you to consider is, what if your point of view is wrong? What if your viewpoint was simply the result of a set of beliefs that were handed down to you by your parents, teachers, community, friends, etc. In other words, what if your viewpoint is simply the culmination of everything learned at an early age, some of which is right and some of which is wrong.
Did you know that the vast majority of our beliefs are formed by the age of 7 and over 90% are formed by the age of 12. What psychologists have found is that our beliefs are not our own. They are the result of everything we learned at an early age from the people around us. As kids, we did not have much of a filter system. When an adult told us something as fact, we simply believed it was true. Now days, if the internet shows something as fact our kids simply believe it’s true. They rarely question it. That’s true for us adults too. Our litmus test is, if it seems true, it probably is true. But, what are we basing that off of? Oh yeah, our beliefs which we absorbed from everyone else.
So then we can ask what is right or wrong and how on earth would we know? The truth is, there is no right or wrong. This is one of the hardest concepts for people to grasp because at an early age we were taught to look at the world from a good/bad and right/wrong state of mind. In fact, as kids we used this natural sorting system to help decide what behaviors to continue and what behaviors to stop. If every time you broke something in the kitchen your mom would yell at you, you would figure out pretty quickly that that behavior is “bad or wrong” because the consequences were that you were angering your Mom. As you grew to understand that the best way to get the things you need like love, food, shelter, toys was to make Mom happy, you would begin to understand that it was not to your advantage to anger her. In other words, it did not serve you very well to drop dishes in the kitchen. Therefore, if you were to break another dish, you might hide the evidence somewhere so she wouldn’t find out. Right? And then, chances are, you would feel guilty for having broke another dish and not telling her.
So one of the first things I teach my clients as a life coach is to let go of this old paradigm of good/bad and right/wrong and replace it with a more holistic point of view which is, “Does this thought, feeling or behavior serve me?” If being distracted while in the kitchen causes you to break a dish, then allowing yourself to be distracted is not serving you. True? Hopefully, you begin to also realize that there are fewer and fewer dishes to eat with which also doesn’t serve you. At this point, you should choose something else. Right?
Of course! However, most of us take the path of least resistance (which is using the littlest effort possible to solve the problem). For most, this means hide the evidence so she doesn’t find out. That’s the easiest thing to do. However, there are consequences to taking this easy route. It’s a band-aid that doesn’t REALLY solve the problem. The long term solution would be to start paying attention to what you’re doing in the kitchen. That way, when you grow up and move out on your own, you’re not having to constantly buy new dishes.
Finding Long Term Solutions
When you get that everything that happens in your life is the result of your habits and beliefs, you begin to realize why it so important to analyze your beliefs and identify the ones that are no longer serving you. Let’s say you are completely annoyed with your spouse. He or she keeps comes home late every day and leaves home alone with the kids to the point where you feel like you’re going to lose your mind. All you want is for him or her to come home early so you can have a break, have someone to talk to who is a rational human being and who can alleviate you from the monotony of being a stay at home parent. Yet, night after night, your spouse is late and you have grown tired and impatient. This night you might think, “Tonight’s going to be different. We had a good talk last night. She said she would be home earlier. All should be good.” Yet, here it is, nearly 7 pm and she’s still not home. “Ugh! Where the heck is she? Why is it so freaking hard for her to get home on time? Doesn’t she understand how much this is angering me? We’ve talked about his a hundred times and still she’s not home. Clearly, she doesn’t care.”
This string of thoughts are the result of your paradigm. In your world view, the other person should be home early, perhaps in time for dinner. She should be more present and aware of what her family’s needs are. She should listen to your needs and when you say you’re unhappy she should do something about it. If you take the time to share their frustrations, she should at least make an attempt to improve things.” In other words, in your mind there’s this list of things that she should be doing. If she’s not meeting that criteria, she’s failing her duty as a mom and spouse. Make sense?
The problem is, she has her own list of things she should be doing like making sure she gets her work done before she gets home so she doesn’t disappoint her boss or her clients. She also might be thinking she should be organizing her day the night before because otherwise she might miss some important things the next day like meetings or deadlines. Who knows what her point of view is. All we know for certain is that she has a different point of view from yours. Even more important is that she has a set of beliefs, which she is not even aware of (because most beliefs are subconscious), that is causing her to do what she does. Like the belief that she has to work hard to keep her boss and clients happy or the belief that if she let’s something slip through the cracks, she may get fired. There’s also the belief that if she gets fired it will take a long time to find another job. Then there’s the belief that it usually takes time to find another job which then triggers the her belief that there is a very real possibility that you and family will have nowhere to live and no food to eat. So these subconscious beliefs are what’s driving her to stay late every night. They aren’t necessarily serving her but it’s what she believes so she stays trapped in this cycle of coming home late despite you being unhappy with her choices.
The point is, for our behaviors to change, our beliefs have to change. Once she understands that her beliefs are based out of fear and are what’s keeping her trapped in this cycle, she has a chance to change her beliefs so that they are based on faith. With regard to you though, your chances of changing her are slim. How long have you been trying? Has it worked yet? Probably now. That’s because changing beliefs takes willingness to change, willingness to stick with it indefinitely, and the knowledge to know how to do so.
What will it take?
If you’re unhappy with her choices, the best things to do is change your situation. You can do that by leaving her (which may or may not bring happiness and is not always good for the kids) or you can find a way to be at peace with her choices. If you’re unhappy, it means that your thoughts and beliefs are not serving you. They are causing you to feel frustrated and even angry with her. For example, the thought, “Clearly, she doesn’t care.” is toxic. If continued, it will drive a huge wedge between you two, causing you to feel isolated, unappreciated and alone. To find a way to be at peace with her choices, seek to see another point of view that comes from faith, harmony and love. Clearly, she does care about you because she’s working hard to take care of you and the kids. She’s even working late every night to do so and usually at her own expense. In other words, seek to find the good in every situation and give your spouse the benefit of the doubt that they are doing the best they can with the point of view that they have. You can’t change them, but you can find ways to be grateful for what you have while working towards what you ultimately would love. This will also bring out the best in her and give her opportunity to grow by seeing the unending love in you.
I have seen many marriages, including my own, dramatically improve simply by one partner improving his or her paradigm view. A dear friend of mine said, “When I look back, my eyes fill with tears. I can’t believe I came so close to letting this amazing and wonderful man go.” She went from praying every night that he would just go away and never come back to falling madly in love and thanking God that she was able to finally appreciate the wonderful man he was. I can wholeheartedly say, I’m grateful for my man too. The more I practice noticing all the wonderful things he does every single day, the more I fall deeper in love with him. Love is blind but only when you let it be. Open your eyes to the beauty of the person you met all those years ago and practice, every day, appreciating them for all that they are. In the end, you’ll be so glad you did.
Many blessing for a happy and loving relationship!