Just because we believe something, doesn’t automatically make it an absolute truth. Just because something looks or feels right to us, doesn’t denote factual accuracy. Just because we think we have ‘evidence’ for something being a certain way in our lives, doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone.
And here’s why:
The human nervous system is survival-oriented, and a lot of what was designed to keep us alive in caveman times is still present today. Seeking safety via familiarity, risk-averse behavior, categorizing, danger-scanning and ingratiating ourselves with our tribe members are just a few examples. Unfortunately, prioritizing happiness and fulfillment is not on that list. Extended periods of happiness are typically perceived as a vulnerable state. Think of it this way, if you’re sitting on a log by a big beautiful bonfire, listening to some drum beats and happily chewing away on a piece of fruit, you’re chill. You’re happy. You’re in the present moment. What are you not doing? Noticing the tiger creeping up on you.
Out in the wild, spotting the problem before it spots you is integral to your survival. In a townhouse in suburbia, conceiving of a potential future problem in order to avoid it generally makes no sense.
‘But what if the car breaks down?’
‘Well no, but if it does, I won’t have the money to hand to pay for it!’
Cue: Massive stress response, no ability to fight or flee the issue, all the health problems associated with cortisol AND you’ve poured a bunch of focused attention into a potential reality where your car breaks down, energetically increasing its likelihood.
So where did we get the idea that postulating things we don’t want to happen is the ‘smart’, ‘adult’ and ‘responsible’ thing to do?
Speaking generally, from our parents. They worried, they stressed, they fretted, and they made comments like ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do when that electricity bill comes in’, ‘that jacket is going to have to last you at least another year’, ‘we have to keep that money aside in case XYZ happens.’
Your survival tactic of ingratiating yourself with your tribe means you likely adopted a lot of these beliefs. But if your tribe wasn’t living the life of their dreams, you can safely assume those beliefs aren’t necessarily helpful.
So, who are you still ‘copying’ that might not be the best role model for what you’re trying to achieve today? Drop it in the comments and feel free to reach out to me about this on social media.