...In case you’re stuck, I’ll share another example. One from my life. It’s not my primary or earliest BAD, but it’s one off them.
My mom was dating a man I strongly disliked. I thought I’d be really mature about it and have a talk with her about finally dumping him. I was about 9 years old.
In my mind, this conversation was definitely going to change things. I mean, who can resist the thought out, logical appeal of a 9 year old? My arguments were fool proof. I was sure my reasoning was very sound.
I made my case. And was promptly informed that she will date who she wants, thank you very much, and I’d be smart to get used to it.
In that moment—I can remember exactly where I was sitting (at the head of my purple bed, knees drawn to my chest) and the look on her face (matter of fact, a little sympathetic but not about to compromise), I said to myself: “My opinion doesn’t matter here so I might as well keep it to myself. I’m not putting myself out there like that anymore.”
And so began a pattern. Of hesitating before giving my opinion. Of only sharing myself when it was clear that my opinion was wanted and desired (and “clear” is a subjective judgment call so that didn’t lead to much sharing). Of waiting until someone directly asked me how I felt before offering up anything.
You may have noticed…people rarely beg for your opinion, no matter how close you are or how much they love you. It’s up to each of us to offer our opinion, not to wait to be asked for it.
Just like Rick, the beliefs I invented as a child were carried into adulthood. They showed up everywhere because that’s the thing about patterns. How you do anything is how you do everything. Our beliefs become generalized and we unconsciously apply them to everything.
I was guided to this particular BAD relatively early in life. I was helped to see the beliefs I formed and how those beliefs have impacted my life.
Being aware doesn’t automatically mean beliefs don’t affect you, but awareness is the first necessary step.
From a place of awareness I can be on the look out for when I’m quietly trying to fade into the wallpaper, or biting my tongue because no one asked for my opinion.
And I can consciously override that pattern. Over and over until it gets easier. That’s what I’ve been doing the past few years.
Consciously overriding the pattern and questioning the beliefs I formed, too. With questions like: Is it really true that people don’t want my opinion? Can I know that just because they haven’t asked, they don’t care? Does it even matter whether they want my opinion or not?
And that, when made a daily practice (it’s not a one shot deal), is how you change a pattern.