14 Nov I’ve never really been good at hiding my facial expressions…
And it has caused A LOT of problems in my life and still does. In fact, it cost me a trip to Paris once. For real. It did! So grab a cup of coffee, get cozy. It’s storytime!
When I was a kid my grandma was going to take my sister and I to Paris. It was kind of a big deal; we had never been on a trip with her before, I hadn’t been out of the country, and definitely hadn’t done anything as fancy as Par-ee. This wasn’t one of those relationships where grandma was a big part of my life; I saw and talked to her about two to three times a year. So the fact that she was going to take us on a trip was really really exciting.
After dinner, my family was standing around and my grandma said: “Children should be seen and not heard”. I rolled my eyes. It was a reaction that I didn’t even realize I did. I don’t remember how old I was, somewhere in the 10-13 year range. The conversation continued without skipping a beat. Nobody acknowledged that I did an eye roll. I’m not even sure my dad saw it. It would have been one of those things that I wouldn’t even remember as an adult because it was that mundane. Except….
Apparently, my grandma noticed it and didn’t like it. She called the next day or a few days later (I can’t remember) and told my dad that I couldn’t go to Paris because I rolled my eyes. She was taking my sister instead. And that she did.
Bam a core belief was born! A few actually. The belief that expressing my feelings is not a good thing; showing displeasure in something will cost me so I should not say anything; that children should not speak; there are consequences for disagreeing with adults (aka authority figures), and that I was bad because I disrupted the family system. In short, using my voice is a terrible idea. And throughout my life, those underlying beliefs played out the cycle: I could point to many experiences that further cemented. In previous posts, I’ve talked about how and why the brain looks to reaffirm beliefs. If you haven’t read them, I invite you to check them out.
And before you say “Oh you spoiled brat, Waah Waah, You couldn’t go on a trip”. It’s NOT about the trip. The brain is constantly looking for Love, Safety, and Belonging and at that moment it was about not belonging, being shunned from the tribe, and in the brain that equals death. If we think about how we have evolved from caveman days, we understand that people who survived were part of a tribe. Our brain is primitive in some ways and still relates being rejected by the core group as you might not survive. This is one of the reasons the brain values belonging. We are literally hard wired to connect. That event was impactful for me because my child self made the meaning that I wouldn’t be accepted or be part of the family if I expressed how I felt and just be who I was.
So how does that affect my adult life and my health? Those beliefs were running the show, so there were many situations where I didn’t share my feelings, I didn’t speak my truth and I stayed quiet about things. There was also a general sense of shame about who I was. Those beliefs contributed to some of my behaviors that weren’t really in line with my truest self; to choices that allowed patterns to repeat over and over. All of that takes a toll on your mind and body; it literally produces physiological changes, that include recalibration of the brain’s alarm system, an increase in stress hormone activity, and alterations in your internal systems. Costly to say the least!
Now that is not to say that the Is singular event is responsible for all the hurtful things I’ve ever done, any physical alignments, or all my problems. Definitely not. We are a compilation of the experiences in our lives. Beliefs stack. It’s a combination of these stacking beliefs that do the real damage.
That’s also not to say that it wasn’t inappropriate for me to respond by rolling my eyes or that she was wrong in not taking me. This isn’t about blame. This is about excavating key events, dissecting the meaning you made of them, feel the unreleased feelings around it, and letting it go while shifting the belief. Reframing beliefs helps you move closer to what you truly desire. That’s how habits are changed. That’s when the magic happens and transformation takes place.
Can you name an event you’ve experienced when you were you get and the belief that you made about it?