Before we are socialized, we are as authentic and natural as we can be. As we internalize what we are told, and we say it over and over to ourselves, it gives us something to hold onto, that we can count on. It keeps us feeling that we belong, are accepted, taken care of, and safe.

These thoughts become embedded beliefs and include times that we we were hurt by something someone said or did that we didn’t understand. We made a decision about ourselves, others, or life in general at that time, and it has become a safety line that we believe is necessary to our survival. Don’t cross the line. Danger!

We support those beliefs by limiting ourselves to fit inside our idea of safety at that time. Others can hurt me, Fight back, Stay quiet, Go hide, Life is hard, I’m not good enough, I am different, There’s not enough for me. I have to fight for what I want, I can never ask for what I want, I’m not lovable / likeable, Please them, Be a good girl / boy / lady / gentleman… and so on.

Dr. Karen Wynn is a Canadian and American Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University. Her research explores the cognitive capacities of infants and young children. In her studies we see babies of six months old deciding who to like or dislike based on what they thought they saw happen. Our decisions begin to limit us starting right there.

Sometimes we become aware of the limitation, realize it is not currently useful, let it go, and grow from the experience. You have done it many times. You have had many beliefs such as Santa, the Easter Bunny, or whatever the norm was for you. At some point you began to realize the truth and soon, simply dropped the belief. This is the same.

Some will give you a little cognitive dissonance; shake up your world as you see new possibilities that couldn’t exist until the belief was gone. You may try to not see those at first. You will develop a sense around when you are avoiding an area – being righteous, or taking unnecessary control are often signs. That is when you are on the scent of the treasure. Joseph Campbell would tell you that you are on your hero journey and to follow your bliss. Absolutely true. There is also bravery and fortitude required as for any heroic effort.

Even if it is a deep core negative belief about yourself, life, or others – with determination, and sometimes help – you can drop it. This is my specialty. People can achieve amazing mindset shifts with the right support. Having had these experiences ourselves means our capacity to see, accept, and understand what others are going through has grown. We become better leaders, friends, parents, and spouses because of our determination to be authentic and lead from that place.

The Straight A Progression (check out the last blog) will show you the way to separate from the voices you have internalized and begin to witness them and your reaction to them. That is the treasure – these are the monsters that have been keeping you in your cage – limiting your possibilities. Your true self is waiting just outside the box…