But in the ‘research’ part of our endeavour, we learned that you only needed to keep the collar on in the training phase. That once the dog had learned where not to go, she wouldn’t go there any more. In fact, one of our neighbours has two very boisterous yellow labs who, when we walk past, come barrelling up their palm flanked drive, only to screech to a halt at an invisible barrier. Panting and smiling their doggy smiles they jump with enthusiasm to come and eat the little four-legged snack that tottered along by my side. I couldn’t believe it worked that well!
Then, a little while later, I was in Melbourne, interviewing staff of a corporate client. As I sat between meetings, having just finished my afternoon snack of nuts, I noticed that one of the little buggers was stuck in my teeth (the nuts, not the staff). I HATE that! After having my second set of braces removed, some four years earlier, I had permanent retainers put on the back of my top and bottom teeth. These retainers are the bane of my life and I can often be found digging things out of them - annoying, really. And, not at all pleasant for those with whom I dine, let me tell you!
So, as I tried to bridge the gap between what I felt with my tongue and where to put my finger, I began to ponder. “I really need to go to the dentist,” I thought to myself, mouth open, finger jammed into it, gazing at the ceiling as though it contained a map of where I could find this nut. “Can’t afford to go to the dentist”. Was the internal response. And this little conversation with myself almost went unchecked until I thought. “Hang on, why can’t I afford to go to the dentist?” And I realised that I was habitually trotting out a belief that was no longer valid.
On my return to Australia, I was starting from scratch, all over again. I had spent a year living in Thailand where I had depleted my savings. I was not working. I was living with my parents. So, at that time, I couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. However, things had changed.
My business was thriving and the circumstances that gave birth to that belief were different. So, why hadn’t I changed my belief? Because, habit means we don’t have to apply our conscious minds to every situation or task, every day of our lives. So this outdated belief lived in my unconscious, quickly appearing when the word ‘Dentist’ was used, then sinking back into the vastness of my unconscious (a vastness that grows with every passing year, let me tell you!) Instead of questioning that statement and weighing up whether or not it was still valid, I would habitually connect to the belief that I couldn’t afford it.
And so I sat, contemplating all this as I sipped my laxative tea - don’t worry that’s a whole other blog that I promise never to write. This was exactly like the electric dog fence we’d bought. A long time ago, I learned my boundaries and to push myself past them was fruitless or painful; or both! Little did I know, that the dog fence had been removed some time ago, but still believing it was there, I never crossed that line. What are the electric dog fences of your mind? They may have been put there a long time ago, but how can you be sure they’re still there? They may have been put there by someone or something else but it’s you that keeps them there.
What are some of the beliefs you hold that stop you from doing things that need to be done to gain what you want? What were the contributing factors to taking on that belief in the first place? Do they still apply? If not, isn’t it time to change that belief?
Now there are many techniques used by different kinds of therapists all over the world to change beliefs. Very fancy strategies that involve brain coding, hypnosis, visualisation . . . bla, bla, bla. As a therapist, I always like to try a more logical approach before pulling out the big hypnosis guns. As a clinical hypnotherapist, I do believe these strategies have their place, but I find that the effects are, in some cases, not as enduring as applied logic. Logic has a power to ‘switch on’ that little light bulb over your head. To bring on an “ah ha!” moment. Plus, its something you CAN try at home, and continue to apply throughout your life, and I encourage you to do so. Therefore, let me take you through the steps of the Happy Apples Belief Audit.
Get a pen and paper and create the following columns:
You’ll also notice that I have included a column to determine the date the belief was last checked. If it is anything less than say, six months, its out of date! Do something to re-assess.
When you’ve finished that, focus back on what you wrote in your first column. For those that you have discredited evidence, decide what steps need to be taken to get what you want. What’s the first step? Take it, today!