I’ve had a belief most of my life that I didn’t belong – either to a group, or ironically, to my biological family – that possibly stemmed from Janis Ian’s similar belief in her song lamenting “Being the last one called for basketball.”
As a child, I placed meaning that I wasn’t liked and no one wanted me on his or her team when I was the last not chosen for kickball. That’s right, not just the last called but the teacher had to make someone take me. That created the belief, while mistaken, that protected me from the shame of not being wanted or liked. That belief hid the fact that I was chosen to be in a play and did have friends who really liked me.
That mistaken belief was a coping mechanism that drew me further toward being a wallflower until I had the capacity to notice it as a mistaken, moral meaning to an experience I had when a child.
That belief was useful, logical and very true at the time it formed. Yet it became a huge limiting factor as I grew older.
Sometimes our beliefs prevent us from establishing healthy, honest relationships with others and even ourselves that say, “Oh, I can’t handle group sports … or conflict … or do any kind of math … or communicate effectively … or be seen as anything but as a confused person.
Events don’t inherently contain meaning. It’s the meaning we give to past experiences that matters because these meanings create the story about us. Our external circumstances almost always reflect our stories about what’s possible.
Guess what? We can recreate an entirely different meaning for our experiences. We can re-write and form new beliefs that support us in personal growth.
Our yoga or meditation practices allow us the opportunity to externalize the parts of us that created our inner stories. To ask them to be outside of us where we can spend time and create space to reflect upon them, to see and acknowledge them. We give permission to see it differently, perhaps in a more positive context.
To continue to overemphasize our perceived failures and traumas, enforces those beliefs and lessens the faith that is there for future capacities.
Open your heart toward the parts of you that have held those mistaken beliefs to create the space for transformation to begin. Extend appreciation to them for how hard they worked to keep you from feeling badly about yourself. Acknowledge their intention for you. Then see if they’d rather go play on that team instead of keeping you pulled in to fear.