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When I Challenged My Worldview – My World Healed

Written by: Susan McNamara, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Susan McNamara

We all want something in our lives to be different. So why is it that things so often stay the same? To get to the answer to this perplexing issue is to understand that the beliefs we hold, the very ones that are mostly unknown to us, are the key to making our lives different.


Female traveler go on an adventure alone.

Perhaps the single most powerful thing you can ever do to open yourself to greater health, healing and a life of your own making is to become aware of the beliefs you hold when it comes to life and the living of it. What you believe about anything is what drives your capacity to make different choices, along with what you dare think is possible.


Equally, your beliefs can continue to drive old dysfunctional behaviors, as well as limit what you might dare to hope for.


Choosing how we look at and explain things like health, healing, and how we get to live our lives can seem straightforward enough to say, but it is anything but. Most of us have little idea what drives our beliefs, and therefore our actions, being consciously and unconsciously influenced by how we were raised, the times we are living in, dominant attitudes, as well as what is coming across our screens. To tap into what you believe in at a deep level is akin to asking a fish about the water it’s swimming in. Likely the fish would say, “What water?”


Why is it so difficult to change?


Our ideas about reality are so deeply, seamlessly and unconsciously ingrained in us that to challenge them can feel like challenging our very existence. It can feel terrifying, off limits, and reckless in terms of our roles and responsibilities to our communities to see the world differently than the mainstream, such as the idea that our bodies can heal themselves. On a physiological level, alarm bells will go off anytime we find ourselves stepping outside the protection of collectively held worldviews, leaving us feeling as if our very lives are at stake, or at the very least, our position in the tribe.


That is why one of the most courageous and self-valuing decisions you will ever make in your life, and therefore for the world, is to make the commitment to go beyond your fears and what others might think. Working with the fears I have around being different and living differently than the status quo is a journey I have been on for decades; a process that has challenged me to my very core.


For as long as I can remember I have had an overwhelming feeling that it was dangerous to my very existence and to my belonging in the world to believe in things like the intelligence of the body, my capacity to be my own healer, or the right to live my life as I see fit. I have often felt there was something very wrong with me that I should believe differently and want more than I was being offered. Though difficult to do, challenging these fears has left me with a hard-won inner authority and a greater sense of freedom than I have ever known.


But it wasn’t easy. This path requires becoming aware of yourself and what it is you believe. It means learning to take stock of what you are choosing and why. This as opposed to seeking shelter under the cover of the herd mentality. So, while we all need to belong, it becomes a question of what the cost of belonging is to both ourselves and to our communities when we can’t call into question the nature of how things are. For when we can challenge long-held belief systems in balanced ways, we create greater personal health, sovereignty and possibility for ourselves, which then goes on to serve as a sound and viable contribution to all the community around us.


The science of behavior change would say that only about 10% of our choices are conscious. The rest of what drives us comes from the realm of our unconscious mind; home of our past conditioning, fears, cultural influences, religious upbringing and more. The obvious question then becomes, if what is underpinning our beliefs is mostly unknown to us, how do we make the invisible, visible?


Some ways to explore what drives you and shape your worldview


  • Think of your life as a feedback loop. To make how you really feel about something accessible to your conscious mind, pay attention to the words and phrases you use. They are a clue to deeply held belief systems. For instance, what are the major themes you find yourself obsessively thinking about when it comes to your health? What are the words you use when talking to others?

  • Notice when you think someone has violated something you hold dear. Question why it bothers you. As a young mother raising kids differently than the culture at large, I felt like my values for protecting life were being violated at every turn in a world awash in junk foods and junk images. I had to get very clear with myself about why it was so hard for me to tolerate the choices others were making.

  • Pay attention to the fears you have around health and your body. Challenge their validity as you wonder where they came from. Ask yourself, “Whose belief is this anyway? Is it mine?” This one question alone has become a game-changer for me, and it all started the day I realized that the fear I was holding about my health was not even mine. It was my mother’s long standing fear that she was going to get cancer.

Wonder is the voice of the soul


Begin to wonder why you believe what you do. To wonder is to connect with the voice and wisdom of your very own soul. It is to open yourself beyond the conditioning, fears and habits you have adopted. It is to set your feet on the path of greater possibility. Best of all, it is to align yourself more directly with a worldview that transcends your blind spots, as well as those that have been passed on to you; putting you directly on the path of living a life based on knowing what you believe in and why. With that knowledge in hand, you are ready to live a life of your own making.


Susan McNamara Brainz Magazine
 

Susan McNamara, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Susan McNamara is the author of the book Trusting Your Body: The Embodied Journey of Claiming Sacred Responsibility for Your Health & Well-Being. She is also the founder of The Healer Within: An online healing program for women. Susan cares deeply about how we are treating ourselves, each other and the planet, and is committed to helping others live according to real human needs and what it is that matters most.

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