Most of my life I grew up believing that my dad didn’t need another daughter, and a terrible statement that an elderly lady told me which shaped how I would use my voice as an adult. If you’ve followed, SheHub, you have probably heard me mention these before, why because they have greatly affected me over my 46 years.
Just like many of you, WHO I am was shaped by my grandmother, parents, teachers, pastors and probably a slew of strangers. We’ve all had experiences that kind of define WHO we are, the WHO formed from beliefs that we have carried our entire life.
This idea made me think about Will and Jada Smith. I’ll admit, I have judged their parenting style, and thought, “What in the world are these people doing? How could they let their kids do that? What types of messed up parenting is that?”
But the more I thought about WHO I am and what I BELIEVE it made me see their parenting style from a whole new perspective. I now respect that they deeply value their children’s right to shape their own WHO.
A belief is: an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
Although we all have beliefs and accept them as beliefs, we need to consistently position ourselves to challenge them, especially the ones that keep us stuck. They can block our greatness.
Here are two examples that may help you challenge your beliefs.
Belief #1: My dad didn’t need any other daughters. I was the fifth and youngest daughter. Why would my dad need to check for me, better yet why would I need to check for him? I would tell myself; he has four other daughters checking for him. I am just going to stay in my own lane, do the things that daughters with absent dads do, send that once a year awkward birthday card and maybe call at Christmas…well if he was lucky. So, for at least 42 okay, 44.5 years I did the minimum daughter duties.
Side note: How someone treats you, shouldn’t dictate how you treat them, I could have been a better daughter, even if slightly better.
So, what happened here…
I carried this belief around. Once I challenged it since I had no clue where it came from; I realised I made an ASSUMPTION. An assumption is a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. My dad never told me he didn’t need or want another daughter. It brought to memory many fun summers I spent in New York with him and my sisters growing up.
The truth is, I was experiencing dissonance, which is an inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one’s actions. For example, my belief is that my dad doesn’t need another daughter, but my opposing action is still calling and sending cards which is my desire to be a better daughter.
Belief #2: You’ve probably heard me tell the story, well who hasn’t. It’s about how a little old lady at Salvation Army told my brother he sang beautifully, and I dressed nicely after we sang a duet in church. Can I freely admit without judgment that I am now 46, thus having carried this for 40 years? When she said that to me it created a belief for me that I should not speak up unless first asked to speak in certain situations.
Side note: This is why I strongly dislike conference calls because they have to say, Telanna, what do you think? At that junction, I, of course, offer valuable insight, but never before being asked. Is that crazy or what?
So, what happened here:
Once I challenged this belief, I realised two things. One, I formed an INTERPRETATION and two, I began to use it as an EXCUSE for not sharing my gifts with the world. Who in the world knows what the lady meant when she said what she said? I think it is worth mentioning that I didn’t become a world class fashion designer even though that was the positive statement she made to me.
I interpreted it as a negative statement and ran with it, and for 40 something years I’ve been running, why, because it has been a safe place to run. I’ve been using it as an excuse for not wanting to add value for fear of saying the wrong thing. If I say nothing I remain in a safe place, no judgment, but at what cost.
Challenging our beliefs should become the norm, and we should get comfortable with doing it. A great place to start is discerning whether your belief is based upon an assumption or interpretation. The possibilities are endless when you are fully AWARE of WHO you are and WHO you want to be.
Telanna is a businesswoman and personal excellence coach. Through her free resources and personal coaching, she helps moms manage their time effectively so can live out their purpose, by permitting themselves to do what they love. Find her on your favourite social media platform @escapeyourmess.