Most of us learn out of something from what we do or failed to do and without knowing them we have created wrong beliefs. Rarely we do something out of the ordinary, the usual- TO UNLEARN.
By unlearning we mean to let go of life's "lessons" we hold so dear in our lifetime. Lessons that actually hold us back and tie us down, keeping us from improving ourselves. Ten of these, according to an Australian clinical psychologist Jo Lamble, should be unlearned:
1. I MUST HAVE A GOAL
If our teenagers don’t know what they want to do when they leave school, we panic. If our career doesn’t seem to be taking a clear direction, we worry that we won’t get there. But where’s there? If you want to change something, for example give up smoking, lose weight, gain extra qualifications, then it’s a good idea to set a realistic goal and work out what steps are needed to achieve that goal. But there’s no need to set goals for the sake of setting goals. You will only find that the goalposts keep moving.
2. LOSS IS SIMPLY UNBEARABLE
The idea of losing our partner or a child is torturous. Most of us would do almost anything to prevent such grief. But by fearing loss, we forget to live for today. We forget to be grateful for every minute we spend with each other. Fear of loss can also cause jealousy and suffocating behaviour.
3. WHAT WILL THE NEIGHBOURS THINK?
Worrying about what others think stops us standing up for ourselves. It stops us walking away from an unhealthy friendship. Fear of criticism can even stop us choosing a career that we have always wanted.
4. EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO COPE
Whenever we’re going through a tough time, it’s easy to assume everyone else is fine. Thinking: ‘She doesn’t seem to be having trouble with her baby’, or ‘Their marriage seems perfect’, is not only unrealistic, but it makes us feel very isolated. The truth is that most people are struggling with something. The struggle is what unites us as human beings.
5. I CAN’T CHANGE WHAT'S HAPPENED
What’s done is done, that’s true. But just because you’ve endured hardship, or you had poor role models as parents, doesn’t mean you can’t change the way you think and behave. So much more is known about how our brain works. Just as those with brain damage may learn to walk or talk again, those who had a difficult upbringing can learn to love and trust again.
6. I SHOULD ALWAYS STAY RATIONAL
How often have you been told to be rational? It often comes up in arguments. Our brain is not just designed to think logically. We have emotions and a body too. Eastern philosophy talks about using our wise mind, which is made up of logical thoughts and gut instinct, to make decisions. Learn to listen to your body. It’ll tell you when there’s danger about. Combine the power of the mind and body and you’ll be wiser!
7. LIFE WOULD BE PERFECT IF ALL MY WISHES CAME TRUE
How often have you thought: ‘If I won the lottery, I would be happy’, or ‘If I get this job, life will be rosy’? Sure, it would be wonderful to win the lottery or land a dream job, but wishing for a different life can take your mind off everything you already have – your friends, your family, your health. Don’t take for granted all the good things you already have in your life.
8. FAILURE IS THE OPPOSITE OF SUCCESS
Worrying about failing can be as paralysing as trying to eliminate the possibility of risk. It’s not just a cliche to say we learn from our mistakes. Research shows that most people fail in their first six to seven attempts to give up smoking. Then they succeed. Our children benefit just as much from losing a sports match as they do from winning. Success is built on a platform of failure.
9. I MUST WEIGH UP THE RISKS BEFORE I DO ANYTHING
The trouble with having to eliminate all possibility of risk before you make a decision is that you could miss out on a great opportunity. Instead of thinking: ‘Is there any risk involved?’ Try thinking: ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’ Serious problems will be obvious. Anything else will no doubt form a new and valuable life lesson.
10. I SHOULD TRY TO BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME
While there is a lot of research supporting the benefits of being positive, negative emotions also have their place. It’s appropriate to feel deep sadness at the loss of a loved one or having been made redundant. It’s normal to feel angry when you have been treated badly. It’s not healthy to suppress feelings of sadness or disappointment or anger. In fact, you will be able to feel happier if you allow yourself to feel the negative emotions before moving on.