Home' Nova West : April 2010 Contents core belief that's behind it. If you're short
of money, ask yourself what attitudes you
witnessed in your parents -- were they
extravagant or overly frugal? This is an
exercise worth investing some effort in.
Our core beliefs are reinforced by our
childhood labels. These can be a single
word, a phrase, a nickname or even an
implied impression. For example, if a child
is never touched or hugged, they will
adopt the mental label of "unloveable".
Some labels are totally explicit such as
being called "stupid" or "clumsy". There
are two usual things we do with our labels
and that's to either live them out or try to
outrun them, neither of which is healthy.
The first response creates people who
constantly fail and lack confidence; the
second leads to workaholics and control
freaks. Labels affect us whether positive or
negative because they are restrictive either
way; they limit our experience of life. Why
must we always be tidy or polite or shy? For
that matter, why must we always be clever,
kind and loving?
We are not one dimensional and by
labelling ourselves or accepting others'
labels for us, we are not exploring our
whole selves or living authentic lives.
This issue relates directly to the last two. We
are, in fact, made up of a mass of opposing
traits so when you say you're calm, you're
cancelling out your wild side; you are
both polite and rude, shy and flamboyant,
diligent and lazy, honest and sly, and so on.
That's one of the reasons labels are to be
shed and rejected. We made choices early
in life to take on certain characteristics
and thus end up living half-lives, full of
compromises and unexplored experiences.
It doesn't mean we have to be all sorts of
things we can't accept, such as a liar or a
thief, but we should free up the idea in
our minds at least. Just by doing that, we
have already reclaimed your true selves.
We all have negative egos, a dark side, and
liberating it, accepting it, is very powerful,
indeed transforming. I can't emphasise
enough the freedom of just being ourselves
without fear or pretence.
The other good thing about accepting
our polarities is that it stops us being as
judgemental of others. When I acknowledge
my dark side, I also realise that others have
bodies change constantly, we can literally
change our minds in one glorious moment
of insight, and we can lift ourselves up,
spiritually and psychologically, through
processes that are like walking on fire in
order to become stronger.
All of life can be about transformation if
we choose to live in a spirit of exploration
and adventure. We don't need to have
physical makeovers, revamp our wardrobe,
shed kilos, have facelifts or engage a
personal trainer. We only need to be our
own best selves, no matter how hard that
Of all the approaches I could take
with this topic, I decided to talk about
the transformation that comes through
counselling seeing as that's my day job. And
it honours the brave men and women who
take this journey with me and truly and
This is the process:
This is the start of all self knowledge and
self value. As long as there's judgement
and self criticism, there can never be any
shedding of old skins and wearing of
bright new ones. We need to accept all of
ourselves, not just the bits we like. Then we
have to go beyond, into allowing. It's no use
saying, "I accept myself " if we don't allow
ourselves to be what we accept. This is a
daily decision because as soon as we start
prevaricating and disguising, we are already
lost. No matter what a client walks in to
talk about the first time, I send them home
with the same message -- accept yourself
and where you are right now then we can
start the journey of transforming what you
would like to change. If we instead focus on
the problem/issue itself, we would be off on
a wild goose chase, literally not seeing the
woods for the trees.
These are the deep seated beliefs we absorb
in childhood through things that are said,
what we see, how we're treated, things left
undone -- the good, the bad and the ugly. By
the time we go to school, we already have
thousands of them deep inside us, driving
our feelings, actions and behaviours. But
because they are unconsciously learnt,
they can only be unconsciously unlearnt
-- aye, there's the rub! Yet we are constantly
affected by them.
There is one way you can know what
your core beliefs are -- by looking at the
way your life operates around you. For
example, do you have supportive, healthy
relationships; do you have a comfortable
life, materially; do you do work you love?
When you identify the part of your life that
doesn't work well, you'll figure out the
© NOVA APRIL 2010
Transformation is about change
and altering, hopefully improving
but not necessarily. It's more
about becoming something else,
rather than just another version of the
There are many ways in which a
human life can transform in the course
of the journey between birth and death.
Death itself is merely a transformation,
and while we're still alive, we go through
many different stages of growth. Our
There's no need for a facelift or a fancy wardrobe. The
changes we seek start with feeling the love within us, says
counsellor Dr Charmaine Saunders.
'All of life can be about
transformation if we choose to
live in a spirit of exploration and
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