I have never been a proponent of reading self-help books, although I have read a few good ones, most of them do not really “speak” to me, like the one that I just read- “You are a Badass”. OMG, I love it, if not for the title alone right? I mean, talk about getting hooked right off the get-go.
So, now that I have peaked your interest, I am going to take some time to give you my version of some of the things that really spoke to me about this book and why they spoke to me. I will get pretty “real” and “authentic” as I talk about some of these very important and even more personal issues.
Counselors are human too, ya know? This sparks the ever-important conversation about how much information is too much information to share but here are my thoughts on this. If you are going to spill your guts, become totally vulnerable with me in therapy and tell me your deepest, darkest secrets, your fears, dreams, frustrations and traumatic experiences, I want you to feel like you know who I am as a professional and as a human being sharing in a very intimate moment in your life. So, with this token, I will be speaking to you as a therapist, mother, woman, sister, daughter and any of the other hundred roles that most of us carry around with us on any given day. I own who I am, just as you own who you are.
I come from an all-American dream family with the white picket fence and parents who have been married forever (and they still are, which is a miracle these days). I learned some of my most basic beliefs about myself and relationships from them. Just like you, my parents taught me how to communicate (or not communicate) my emotions, I learned what parental roles looked like, how to treat others and more importantly what being successful and happy was ‘supposed’ to look like. We all learn basic belief systems from our family which is why it gets pretty messy and complicated when we come from dysfunctional families where parents are fighting, yelling or just not talking at all.
Families that are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet or trying to go to school while working and raising a family- kinda like me. I spent most of my mothering years working full-time and going to school while raising my two boys. Talk about learning time-management skills and becoming the ultimate multi-tasker right? Anyway, we base what life is supposed to be like, based off of these beliefs which enter into what is called our sub-conscious mind the moment that we are born. The subconscious mind is all about feelings, instincts, intuition and this is where nothing has a filter.
Filters come from our conscious mind, who by luck, is the one that keeps you up at night incessantly worrying about all of those impossible things that you cannot change. It is in our conscious mind that we get ourselves hung up on the “should’ves, would’ves, ought to’s” of life. In our conscious mind, we analyze everything from how the furniture is positioned to why is he coming home late and even that nagging thought that, as parent how are we screwing up our kids, LOL. We all do that so don’t worry, they will blame you for something just like we blame our parents for some things too!
So, now that we know a little bit about where our belief systems come from and how are mind works, what are we going to do about it? Well, like the counselor that I am, we spend some time processing this. Here is how you can start understanding your belief systems and how they impact you.
Our thoughts are the most important tools that we have in our life. To change our lives, we must first become aware of what those subconscious beliefs are and how they translate into thoughts in our conscious mind. When we get that done, we learn how to change those thoughts!
Write down a list of areas in your life that are less than perfect in your life right now, then pick one at a time, writing down five things that come to your mind when you exam each one, are they thoughts filled with fear or hope? What were your parents or other significant people in your life beliefs about these things?
Example areas: money, job, marriage, parenting
1. Dedication to the other person
2. What my partner needs and wants is more important
3. Should last forever
4. There should be no fighting
5. All decisions should be made together
As you can see from this example, there is a neat little mixture of ideas. There are some areas that could use some work though too, right? Awareness is the first step, more to follow soon!
About this Woman Warrior!
Samantha Afanador is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the proud owner of a private counseling practice in Apex, North Carolina Peak Professional Group. She has over 20 years of experience in the mental health field and has been a woman warrior since the very tender age of 16 when she first stood up for women's rights in the Dominican Republic. She has played many roles in her life and uses her sense of humor, authentic projection of herself and her clinical knowledge to support and mentor those around her.