Learning to unlearn – repeat it to yourself a couple of times. It’s such a powerful phrase. This week, this phrase crossed my path 3 times. I saw it on Pinterest (lol), I read it in a book and Adam Roa reminded me of it in an online webinar. So it’s only fitting that it’s this week’s topic of my morning musings.
When you’re born, you’re a blank canvas. You’ve heard that before. It’s just your body & soul. Along the way, we’re influenced by society, parents, culture, religion, friends…Everything you think – your patterns & beliefs – are taught to you. People taught you about “right” and “wrong”. And because you don’t know any better as a child, these things become your truth.
For example, when we were told off by our parents, we interpret that what we did as “bad”. We remember and try not to do it again. This interpretation is stored in the brain & turns into a thought. The thought repeats itself until it becomes a belief. And the belief then manifests itself into your life because you act on it.
Some of these beliefs serve us. They work for us. They make us a better person and get us ahead in life. Other beliefs, however, limit our growth. Some examples of limiting beliefs that I’ve encountered in my life:
- money doesn’t grow on trees
- it’s difficult to generate money
- relationships are hard
- work isn’t always fun
- as a woman, you’re considered a slut if you enjoy sex
What do we do with limiting beliefs?
At one point or another, you’re going to have experiences that question these beliefs. It feels like you’ve hit a wall in your life. You’re not getting ahead. This can take form in a few ways: maybe you’ve experienced burnout, had a series of failed relationships or have been dissatisfied with your career for years.
So then if you want to change these circumstances, you need to take a good, hard look at the stories you’ve been telling yourself around these issues.
Let’s take burnout as an example. It’s really easy to point fingers and say: I’m burnt out because my work is super stressful and busy. But what about looking at the stories you’ve been telling yourself?
Maybe you were taught that “people who work hard make more money”. So you’re here working your butt cheeks off, making extra hours, taking on extra responsibility just to prove yourself, only because you think that if you work harder, the reward is bigger.
Unlearn patterns & beliefs that don’t serve you
Do you see how the example above does not serve you? Instead of believing that working hard means making more money, maybe you could start telling yourself a different story to avoid burnout. Something like “money flows to me easily”, “it’s safe to ask for help” or “I am worthy of success and joy”. What you upgrade your story to depends on your current story.
Unlearn the things that limit your growth & happiness.
It’s easier said than done though. Unlearning means critically looking at your behavior and thoughts. It also means looking critically at ideas that have been taught to you by people you love, like your parents, or your culture/religion. Saying that you’re no longer accepting their beliefs as your truth can be a painful process. Not everyone is going to be able to understand why you’re questioning their beliefs. Especially if these beliefs serve them well. You’re really shaking up the status quo.
How do we unlearn?
Identify – you first need to identify what stories you’ve been telling yourself around many areas in your life: love, money, career, sex, relationships, spirituality, your body, your intelligence, your health — and lots more.
Analyze – what purpose do the stories serve in your life? What did they mean to you in your past? Do they empower you or not? What did these beliefs teach you?
Unlearn & Upgrade – generate new stories that serve you. How can you upgrade your beliefs so that they serve you and allow you to be the best version of yourself?
Implement & Relearn – now it’s time to actively catch yourself every time you think of old beliefs. Implement and relearn by using affirmations, or posting post-it notes on your mirror. Surround yourself with these upgrades!
Learning to unlearn
Learning to unlearn is powerful. I know from from my own experience that it’s a BEAUTIFUL process. Scary, but beautiful. The process opens up your mind and allows you to see the same situation from different perspectives. It releases judgement. You’re basically reprogramming your own human experience. Changing & shaping your future!
And let me tell you, if it takes 30 years to learn something, it’s totally ok to take a long time to unlearn something. Self-love and patience are required when you’re stepping into this process.
Do you have any stories you tell yourself that you would like to unlearn? Or do you need help identifying the stories? Let me know & we can dive into this together. With much love of course.
You’re an amazing human & soul. You are here to learn! We’re in this school of life together. Let’s make sure we graduate <3