The Happiness Connection  

Limited by positive beliefs

What do you believe about yourself?

You may immediately think about your good qualities, or perhaps your mind defaults to your less-desirable traits.

It doesn’t really matter where your brain goes. It may be time to take a closer, yet broader, look at the things you believe about yourself.

All beliefs can be limiting.

If you think you haven’t got the co-ordination to play a sport, you’re likely to miss out on opportunities to build friendships or increase your fitness.

If you believe you’re exceptionally intelligent, then you may find yourself resistant to acknowledging mistakes, taking advice from others, or changing your mind.

I see myself as someone who’s dependable. That’s a good thing, right? How could that belief limit me or my level of happiness?

I had the perfect opportunity to discover the answer to that question as I was clearing out my mom’s house.

This has been an overwhelming task as it was full to the brim with stuff.

I decided to procrastinate a little and rent a storage container.

Things that require more consideration, or that the kids might want when they’re more settled have found a home here. I’ll revisit them in the next couple of years, when my energy returns, and I feel up to the task.

Other family members have also taken advantage of this situation and put some of their things in it.

As the container got fuller and fuller, I began to feel my stress levels rise.

Will the owners of the contents show up when it’s time to empty the box, or will it all fall on my shoulders? The container rental is registered in my name, so legally it’s my responsibility.

I knew I’d be there when the unit was ready to be emptied because I’m dependable. I know I can be relied on. But will anyone else be there beside me to claim all the stuff that isn’t mine or mom’s?

Here’s the catch in my dependability belief. Hanging on to it like a barnacle is another less constructive thought. Other people can’t be relied on to the same degree.

This perspective has come from past experiences.

When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer 20 plus years ago, I’m the one who supported her with food, laundry services, and other types of assistance.

When she died, I was suddenly thrust into the role of being the family lynch pin.

I didn’t ask for the position, but it was assumed I’d take on the role as matriarch. I organized. I problem solved. I took charge.

In my own family, I was the one who was responsible for all the things that concerned my children. I wasn’t a single parent, but it felt that way sometimes.

Of course, their dad attended soccer games and did pickups, but I was the one who sorted and arranged everything.

As my parents aged, I stepped into the role as their major support. I’m the CEO of Project Mom now that she’s widowed.

My strength and dependability have enabled others to assume that they don’t have to worry too much, because I’ll take care of whatever needs to be sorted or handled.

I don’t resent doing these things, but as anyone who’s experienced this situation knows, it can be exhausting.

I was unaware of my beliefs around dependability until my brother drew my attention to them.

As the container became fuller, my stress levels rose. I became more adamant about ensuring that everyone who had any items being stored realized their things weren’t my responsibility.

It was up to them to make sure they were either here to collect them or made other arrangements to store them when the time came.

My sibling didn’t appreciate me repeating this message every time he put something of his in the box. It was as if I was suggesting he wasn’t dependable.

I have no reason to believe that, but I wasn’t thinking about him. I was only thinking about myself.

I wasn’t being selfish. I was being human. You and I are at the centre of every thought and decision we make.

His reaction to my behaviour caused me to pause and think about what was happening. It drew my attention to my beliefs around dependability.

This awareness has allowed me to take a step back and release those feelings of stress.

  • Yes, I’ve often found myself being the one who got things done.
  • No, I’m not the only person in my world who can be relied on.
  • Yes, I’ve enabled people to take the easy way out by stepping up and doing things myself.

The past doesn’t have to determine the future. Worrying about something that may never happen is a waste of energy. Everything in life is a choice.

I can choose to be dependable, without choosing to believe I’m the only one with that characteristic.

Just like the bottom of a boat, beliefs need to be inspected occasionally for barnacles of negativity that may be clinging to them.

Believing I’m dependable is better off without the thinking I’m the only one who is.

More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories