View this post on Instagram
I have often led my life with a never-ending and often irritating (to my own core) sense of curiosity.
I have always been one of those who asks a ton of questions before accepting anything that is presented to me.
I have always been a seeker—of knowledge, wisdom, love, and understanding.
And in my quest, I have found that we as humans end up holding onto ideas, beliefs, and ways of doing things without even realizing or bothering to question the merit inherent to most of them.
For the longest time, I believed (and am still a work in progress) that my worth depended on each and every individual around me. For the major part of my life, I was like a headless chicken—simply running around seeking validation from almost anyone. Until one day, when I found my perfectly sensible and working head and put it back on!
It’s easy to follow what we’ve been told, eat whatever is being fed to us, because it’s convenient, time-saving, and comfortable. In order to fit into the “do-things-this-way-then-you’ll-be-acceptable” narrative, we actually do end up doing and tolerating so much crap that after a while it just becomes too much to even look at.
Over the course of time, as a curious individual and also a therapist, I have discovered that there are so many ideas, beliefs, and shoulds that are hindering our growth and happiness.
They only perpetuate the idea of control and do nothing to enhance the quality of our life, and most of the time they are totally, completely disconnected from our innate desires, needs, and sensibilities. Yet, we continue believing in them, giving them the power that they so don’t deserve.
Here are 10 ideas that contribute absolutely nothing to our growth:
1. Self-care is selfish.
It is amazing how so many of us believe this, and with so much intensity. What’s even worse is that people who believe this don’t leave a single opportunity to pass this down to somebody who shows them the other side.
In my book, The Intentional Being, I discuss how we basically use the word selfish without really understanding its true meaning. This word, by definition, means pursuing one’s own agenda with the intent to harm others. And I wonder, how does a simple act of taking care of one’s health, or setting boundaries for one’s self cause harm to someone?
One may argue that one man’s comfort is another’s pain. But, the crucial element that no one bothers to consider is “intent.” In order to get someone to conform, it’s convenient to throw a label like “selfish,” and in order to conform (for acceptability), we grab this and suck it up.
2. Oh! But, what will people think?
Every time I hear someone give people’s opinion as an excuse to let go of their own heart’s desire, I ask:
“Who are these people?”
“Where have they come from?”
“Who has given them so much power over your life?”
“Where do they vanish in your time of need?”
“If they are truly your well-wishers, why would they judge you in the first place?”
And most importantly, “When you are programming your life around the judgements and opinions of people, is it making you happy?” For most of us, the answer is an obvious no.
3. Seeking help is a sign of weakness.
Yes, a lot of people judge themselves for seeking help. I judged myself too—and quite harshly—when I found myself in a state where I genuinely couldn’t help myself. I beat myself up for being weak, stupid, incompetent until I accepted and embraced the fact that I don’t know everything, and will never know.
It’s only when I reach out and seek help, I am able to learn and grow. In fact, one of the most courageous things we can do for ourselves is to admit that we don’t know everything. It opens up room for more knowledge and perspective.
4. Not expressing yourself is a sign of selflessness.
No. It’s suppression because we are actually unable to take a stand for ourselves, owing to a fear that is holding us back.
5. We don’t need people. We should be independent.
Well, the fact of the matter is that humans are social animals. We need people and connections for survival. We are interdependent on each other. In relationships, some amount of dependence will always be there and it’s needed also. It’s tying our sense of self to the other, that creates a problem. We cannot be alone. Loneliness will eat us from within and leave us hollow. We grow and thrive in connections.
6. Being with someone because they are “nice.”
So many of us are unable to pull out of what we know are unfulfilling and unsatisfying relationships only because we don’t want to let go of someone who is “nice.” The fact is that being nice is actually the bare minimum in a relationship. It’s basic. It’s not extraordinary. We need to look at a lot more than just basic niceness.
7. Quitting is a sign of weakness.
I can’t tell you how much I have tortured myself with this idea—only to realize that it’s crap. Sometimes (not always), it’s okay to quit. It’s okay to move on to something better. Staying in something, only because we want to project an image of strength, is not sustainable. Stay in it, do it—if it’s fulfilling your purpose, or adds value to you and your life. Else, invest in something worthwhile and stop judging yourself for it. Quitting what’s not serving you can be one of the bravest things that you can ever do for yourself.
8. Moving on from a relationship means getting into another one (and quickly!).
Well, that doesn’t turn out great in the long run, usually. In fact, moving on doesn’t mean latching onto another relationship. It means allowing yourself to grieve the loss of what once was, letting the pain flow through you, working through the baggage, taking time to heal, and then being ready to start a new chapter. It’s okay and imperative to take your own time to heal.
9. Fulfilling responsibilities equals fulfillment.
Not always. Fulfillment comes from a lot more than just doing our duties (especially if we don’t connect to them). It comes from balancing responsibilities with our own desires.
10. Justifying bad behavior in the name of “They are like this only.”
When someone says that they behave like this because this is how they are, it clearly shows their willingness to accept and change. It’s definitely a sign for you. But when we say this to justify their bad behaviour, it’s a checkpoint for us. We need to ask ourselves: why are we justifying something that’s causing us pain?
We don’t have to believe everything that’s handed down to us. We must choose to believe and live in ways that serve our highest good and enable us to spread our light in our relationships as well.
Any idea that doesn’t propagate our growth, enhancement, and alignment with self is just not worth it.