Expanding our Sense of Self
We are so much more than we take ourselves to be. Further, we can experience much more harmony among apparently disparate aspects of self. For example, if who we take ourselves to be is “agreeable and helpful,” we may not have developed our ability to be “firm and assertive.” Our fundamental identities are usually truncated at best, or fragmented – split at worst. Our core limiting beliefs, fear, emotional wounds and traumas contribute to this narrowed and often rigidified sense of self. Becoming whole requires embracing aspects of ourselves that we have previously denied or insufficiently developed. It requires courage, persistence and honesty.
Discovering Core Limiting Beliefs
Some of our most fundamental beliefs, such as “Can I trust people?” “Is the world safe?” “Will my needs be met?” are formulated implicitly before we are four years old. They serve as filters through which we perceive our world and lives. They significantly influence how we feel day to day. We need to understand our roots of anxiety and roots of depression.
Our beliefs and experiences become slowly organized into a fundamental sense of “this is who I am.” The more fear and wounds in the organism, the more truncated the identity, the more suffering is likely and the greater the potential for polarization, separation, addictions, anxiety, aloneness, depression and anxiety.
It is in this sense that we “create our own reality.” Limiting beliefs keep us from realizing our full potential and achieving better mental health. It is an adventure to engage the process of discovering and challenging who we take ourselves to be. It is an adventure to transform our lives so that our ambient daily experience is of peace and well-being rather than the typical sense of worry, feelings of depression and anxiety, resentment, shame, guilt or deficiency.
Cultivating Positive Feelings, Emotions & Gratitude
The Positive Psychology movement has been a strong force in contemporary psychology. It represents a much-needed correction from the 1960’s emphasis on “getting out” the negative emotions, which led to an incessant digging for the problems. Cultivating affects such as gratitude, empathy, appreciation and forgiveness have a positive effect on our mental health, relationships and well-being. It also is an important dimension of spiritual practice.