Sunday

The Importance of Updating

"As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge." - Henry van Dyke

I was thinking recently of the importance of updating. We feel it natural to update our homes, to redecorate now and then, to freshen it up, or to give it a new look, and usually, despite the upheaval of furniture moving, paint splashes and the inevitable clutter it brings to the surface, we feel better when it is done.

The newly done surroundings are invigorating and stimulating (unless of course you have a really bad colour scheme going on. lol) and it makes a difference to how you feel in the space. As these bouts of transformation are usually accompanied by clearing out old stuff too it can feel like a breath of fresh air to inhabit this familiar space.

The same is true about our personal look and style. Some people update their image regularly, trying out new hairstyles and changing clothes with the trends. Most of us tend to go with what is tried and true and once we get past the teenage experimental stage, never think of moving much out of our comfort zone.

Which brings me back to what I originally meant to write about.

Updating our mindset.
So often, we make up our minds about something and it becomes a 'fixed belief'. In fact we no longer even question it, it just becomes 'the way it is'.

This is the way we as humans work, we can't keep constantly questioning our choices, likes, dislikes etc. or it would use up all of our conscious mind (our RAM - in computer speak) so once we have decided something, it is relegated to our subconscious mind, which then goes about its business quietly beneath the surface, deciding things for us based on previously inputted information.

That's great (most of the time) as it leaves us free to use our consciousness for everyday living. The downside comes through us no longer questioning certain beliefs, preferences etc. We don't even notice that these subconscious decisions are being made, so we miss out on the chance to update our judgements of things that we decided long ago, for whatever reason, we didn't like or were not important.

Everything evolves and changes. Just living and the passage of time updates things, so that things that were once relegated to the 'not interested' pile, may now be interesting, if we gave them a chance, instead of repeating the thing we have repeated for years - I don't like that!

The truth is - just because you didn't like that years ago - how do you know you won't like it now?

I can think of a lot of things that I updated my views on and all involved a questioning of something I thought was a 'fact'.

When I was very small I didn't like tomato's!
I thought they were horrible things and couldn't work out why anyone would want to eat one. So for years and years whenever the subject of tomato's came up my response was "I don't like tomato's".

Flash forward to a 13 year old girl having a sleepover at a friends house, still awake in the early hours of the morning and whispering in bed so as not to wake the rest of the family, we both agreed we were ravenous! My friend decided to tiptoe downstairs and see if she could find something for us to eat.

Five minutes later, she appeared out of the darkness and handed me my feast - three digestive biscuits and a huge home grown ripe tomato.

I was tired, hungry and taken aback. I was just about to go into my - I don't like tomato's routine, when she looked at me straight in the eyes and said "eat it". I saw her take a big bite out of hers and pull a salt cellar out of her dressing gown pocket that she then sprinkled on the exposed flesh, "like this" she said handing me the salt.

On autopilot, I copied what she had done. It was absolutely delicious and I was totally amazed. I was converted! I love tomato's now and just think, I could have spent the rest of my life trotting out the phrase "I don't like tomato's".

I know that was just a small example and I am sure I could have happily gone through the rest of my life without eating tomato's! but that, and other situations like it, make me wonder how many times in life we are missing out on enjoyable, life enhancing things, through decisions we made long, long ago that we don't even think to question and update?

"While it is wise to accept what we cannot change about ourselves, it is also good to remember that we are never too old to replace discouragement with bits and pieces of confidence and hope." - Elaine N. Aron

I was speaking to a lady quite recently, she was in her early Sixties and had just retired, she asked me about my painting (as I had an exhibition of my paintings at a local library) then said wistfully, I would love to paint but I am not at all creative. I asked her if she had ever tried? "yes, when I was at school but I was useless, the teacher told me that all my proportions were wrong". That was it! 50 years ago and she took one comment and made up her mind she wasn't creative and had been saying it ever since. She loved Art and colour but had never once, even thought of trying again because "she wasn't creative".

This post could go on and on, as I give examples, but I guess by now you have the idea. We are constantly filtering things out of our current experience because of decisions we made years ago that we now accept as 'fact' and no longer question.

I am so glad that some of my 'facts' were challenged, or I would be missing out on some wonderful things.

Would you believe that 10 years ago "I am not partial to Cats and their fur irritates me" used to be a 'fact' for me! I say this with two of my three adorable and much loved cats laying at their spot on the corner of my desk as I type. Thank goodness I updated that belief.

Have you updated any of your beliefs lately?
Can you think of any 'facts' that you could challenge?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

8 comments:

Barbara Scully said...

Another great thought provoking post S. And I have found that there is great freedom to constantly reviewing your attitudes and behaviours to see if they still fit. And often they don't. I used to hate men and think they were all bas**rds, then I met one who had the patience and insight to see through my bolshi attitude. And I am glad he did!:)

Susannah said...

Hi Barbara, I like the fact that you mentioned that there is great freedom in reviewing attitudes and behaviours. I hadn't thought of it like that but that is what it is! Each assumption you challenge frees you to become a better fit with your current self - excellent point, thanks for that :-)

I am really glad you questioned your assumptions about men and I bet your other half is too.

Can you believe I didn't used to like cats!?!?!? lol

Joyce Mason said...

Susannah, thanks for the opportunity to think about reconsideration and renovations, perfect topics for Mercury Retro! I've toyed with letting my hair go natural--now very gray underneath the auburn color I've used for years. As part of my BD celebration, my best friend and I are going wig shopping so I can try on the idea. What a great way to test the waters before beta testing on the hair follicles, LOL!

I love your message. There are so many ways we get stuck, and I just got help from my husband last night on seeing a decision I made years ago that didn't serve me. It was based on an interpretation of an experience I had 46 years ago. I have several like the woman's idea she wasn't artistic. This post will cling for weeks to come as I sort out giving a facelift to old ideas! Thank you.

PS - I appreciate your quoting Elaine Aron whose book, The Highly Sensitive Person, has been invaluable to me. I also took one of her classes on the topic here in Sacramento.

Susannah said...

Hi Joyce, what a great idea to let your hair go natural! I bet it would look wonderful.

I considered it myself but the 'growing out' period is the bit I haven't quite fathomed yet - what to do while I look like a badger! lol

Thank so much for dropping in and leaving a comment - much appreciated.

Oriana said...

Got you beat in the tomato dept....took me over 40 years to eat a fresh tomato. Then I learned they were even better for you if you cook them, so now I have sauteed tomatoes daily at lunch with olive oil and fresh herbs from my garden. It's tough though to let go of old beliefs, even when we know they don't serve us. I've been working on releasing every negative reaction I have to anything and trying to find a different response. I'm trying to rid my body and mind and spirit of all negativity. Not possible, I suppose, but it feels good to try! Another insightful post, my friend.

Susannah said...

Hello Oriana, oooh, I like the sound of the way you have your tomato's - I may try that. :-)

You are right, it isn't always easy to release the negative reactions to things, responses become habits and become deeply ingrained.

It is also important to remember not to give ourselves a hard time about stuff too, just try and notice when we are responding from habit and maybe denying ourselves some of lifes joy!

Thanks very much for dropping in Oriana - it always always good to hear from you ;-).

Bex said...

Hi, I read this post at the right time. It confirmed that there is always hope and room for change.

I have been in the process over the last few years of updating my mindset, there have been many changes over the last couple of years, some more pleasant than others, but all were educational!

Work wise I stuck in a total rut and that is the only real fly in the proverbial ointment, however, I am free to change that and Rome wasn't built in a day ;)

Thanks for an inspiring post.

Susannah said...

Hello Bex - I love the way you say "I am free to change that"- as long as we stay aware and remember that about things, then we are half way there.

Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment, much appreciated. :-)

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