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The Unlearning

Part of the “work” of personal growth is constant self-awareness and reexamining your thoughts. As I’ve been thinking about growth opportunities, particularly in my career, I realize that there is some unlearning I need to do. Like most people, I was raised a particular way and was socialized to believe certain things. I’ve been challenging those beliefs.

This is part of the “work” one must do to release old habits and old ways of thinking that no longer serve a purpose. My main goal is to live all areas of my life authentically and in congruence with my beliefs. I need to get to the source of my beliefs and determine if these are truly my beliefs or beliefs passed on to me that may be holding me back. If they don’t serve a purpose, then I need to let them go or reframe them so they do serve a purpose.

I’ll share a few examples of beliefs I’m challenging:

  1. One must not share an opposing/different view so as not to offend the other person.
  2. Always make peace.
  3. If one doesn’t have anything nice to say, one must not say anything at all.

I’ve found these particular beliefs could potentially prevent me from speaking up in situations where I need to. These beliefs are antithetical to field in which I work – public health/social services. Additionally, I earned my graduate degree in social work and made a commitment to advocate and serve underprivileged populations.

In all humility, I’ve advocated and helped many people. In my current position, I manage resources, which includes people. I’m required to use my expertise to solve problems and make decisions. I advocate at a higher level. I’ve found beliefs can manifest themselves subconsciously, causing me to struggle with speaking up in certain situations because of this subconscious, almost automatic way of thinking.

Could this discomfort also be related to the growing pains of living outside of my comfort zone? Perhaps. I’m here to examine all of the possibilities. Maybe the “discomfort” is really caused by beliefs that don’t serve me well.

My challenge to the first belief:

  1. One must not share an opposing/different view so as not to offend the other person. This was definitely what I picked up on in my family growing up. We were not taught that you could express disagreement to another person, especially an authority figure, and go on with your life, maintaining the relationship. It’s unrealistic to think everyone thinks and believes the exact same things. I’m constantly providing opposing views, especially at work. The reaction I get isn’t always pleasant. Systemic problems, social problems, resource problems, people problems…problems are not pleasant. For the greater good, people need to get over their offenses. I take comfort in performing the requirements of my job with integrity. In terms of family and friends, I’ll work on making my delivery more palatable to the people I love, but if I want to live in integrity and honesty, which I do, then I will speak the truth even if it’s an opposing view. Therefore, I will let this first belief go because it can hold me back from having authentic and truthful relationships. It can prevent me from performing at a high level in my career.

I will unpack my thoughts on the other beliefs in forthcoming posts. Each belief I listed have a theme and feed into each other. I want to free myself from them.

What beliefs do you need to unlearn?

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