I decided to do a search on Google using the key words “belief system” and one of the first things that came up was the instruction to “challenge your belief system” (not much instruction on “how to do the how”) But one of the suggestions on challenging your belief system struck me as odd; it said ~ “choose like minded friends”
That is an interesting directive; I chose like minded friends most of my life. And when I thought about that statement, choosing like minded friends was actually natural and also a part of the problem. Like minded isn’t always a positive thing!
~ As a child at school I chose other kids who were withdrawn like I was. I fit in better with them.
~When I was a young adult, I chose other survivors of dysfunctional families who were in denial. We stayed in denial together.
~ I chose men who thought that they were more important than I was. I didn’t think I agreed with them, but my actions and the acceptance of the way that they treated me as “less than them” shows that we were in fact like minded.
~I chose friends who like me, were pretending that their lives were wonderful. We were like minded in our denial.
~ Sometimes I chose girlfriends that “used me” and took advantage of me to baby sit their kids or to drive them somewhere. They used me and I thought doing what they wanted was “love”. I thought that their needs were more important than mine were and they agreed with me. We were like minded that way.
The point is that I chose like minded people without realizing what was mixed up in my own mind! I didn’t realize that “like minded” was not necessarily a good thing!
The only way that I could change anything about my life was to find out what my belief system WAS and where it was on the wrong track. That is not the easiest thing to do because the belief system forms when we are very young and we don’t realize in childhood when our normal is in fact a “false normal”~ meaning NOT normal or healthy at all. It was a challenge to figure out what was dysfunctional IN my own thinking. “I had to expose “my normal” to myself and reject it as the “false normal” that it was.
So many “self help books” and “self help programs” focus on changing the thinking by using will power. Positive thinking, affirmations and “acceptance” of the past i.e.: it happened now let it go. I tried that for about 25 years before I found out that the real changes in my operating system came quickly when I found the roots of how the dysfunctional beliefs got there in the first place. I was not born broken. I was not born with a false normal belief system.
Choosing “like minded” people to hang out with and to have mutually respectful relationship with was a lot healthier for me once I found out the beliefs that were dysfunctioning and dysfunctional in my “mind” in the first place and then changed them; then it was much easier to choose “healthy” like minded friends instead of the like minded unhealthy friends I had gravitated towards in the past. It’s obvious to me now that when friends and associates exhibited abusive and devaluing traits that were so familiar and even comfortable to me that it was only natural to connect with those people who seemed so “like minded”.
I am happy to say that have a much healthier idea of what “like minded” is today. I pursue mutually respectful and mutually valuing relationships. I try to be aware and to resist dismissing any “red warning flags” that I get when I meet a new friend.
I have also discovered that “true” self help is actually helpful and does not add more confusion.
Please share your thoughts about looking at the topic of “like minded” through a new grid of understanding. The truth set me free, but it was not that easy to find it.
Another little snapshot of truth;
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