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My Journey

How Do You Know?

Monday, January 20, 2014
Written by:
Christy Johnson, Ph.D.
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Many years ago when I told a wise octogenarian friend I wasn’t a hugger, she asked me “How do you know?,” which startled me since I never considered another possibility nor where my belief originated.  I grew up in a family who didn’t touch except when forced to hug our more distant relatives when they visited.  I remember particular dread hugging my paternal grandmother, whose coldness I recognize only in hindsight.  Over time it surprised me how much I actually appreciate hugs.  Later I unexpectedly discovered physical touch as my primary “love language,” something I might have missed if I still disliked hugging.  (By the way, if you haven’t checked out the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I recommend it.)

“How do you know?” goes to the root of your beliefs.  Everything from your food preferences to your deepest fears depend in part on what you believe.  Check to see if what you believe meshes with your experience, whether you have enough data to know one way or the other, if your belief no longer applies, or whether the belief belongs to someone else.  For example, my husband claims to detest certain foods he’s never tasted and I still occasionally fall into the perfectionism black hole I catch as “not mine” when it surfaces.

Ideally what you believe about yourself changes as you do.  When you ask yourself how you know and realize you don’t know, you open room for a fresh perspective, perhaps even some liberation.  I only disliked hugs because historically they felt uncomfortable and unpleasant.  The belief narrowed my options, made life more constrained and less joyful.  Now I know myself, my soul level self, better.  Getting acquainted with yourself can shift everything.

Have you released any beliefs about yourself which no longer or never fit?  How do you know which beliefs about yourself support you authentically and what needs releasing?

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