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Believing New Things

choice limiting beliefs self-care Oct 29, 2022
A seedling growing out of soil

We’ve talked a lot here about beliefs that we carry, but not so much about belief itself. What is belief?

A definition that I love to use is that a belief is a thought that you have had over and over until you accept it as truth. 

Some beliefs may be handed to us from our parents, our teachers and other influential adults when we are very young, and are more easily accepted without question. Other beliefs develop out of our lived experiences. And as Physicians, our scientist-selves love looking at evidence, looking for proof that something is true.

But at some point in our lives, we get the opportunity to start to question our beliefs. Sometimes this comes out of external circumstances; something happens, and we discover that our beliefs are not true. Take adultery for example. We may believe that it could never happen to us. And then one day it does. And we may stay in disbelief for some time, ignoring the reality, sometimes even ignoring proof or evidence. And this makes sense because something that we believed, a thought or set of thoughts that we had over and over again about the strength of our relationship, are now, at least in some sense, untrue.

But sometimes our change in beliefs comes from a different place. It comes from us choosing to look at our thoughts and beliefs, on purpose, and deciding that it doesn’t serve us.

This is work that comes up often in coaching on burnout, or weight loss, or any number of other challenges. As humans, we develop beliefs about ourselves, about how things are, about what is possible. And when we want things to change, we often have to get in there and figure out what we have been believing in order to make progress. 

A few examples of where these beliefs pop up:

  1. My patients love me because I always spend extra time with them
  2. I’m the only one who can do _________
  3. If I don’t say yes, then they won’t like me
  4. I need to be liked by everyone
  5. I can’t leave because my patients need ME

These are often tender spots for us, because over the course of years we have come to develop beliefs about our value to others that are dependent upon our willingness to always try harder, do more, say yes and help out. So we struggle to set boundaries or change our ways or leave jobs/roles because these beliefs are so strong.

But here’s a good question to get started with poking holes in beliefs like this. “Do you like your reason?” If you have been wanting to offload responsibilities, but worrying that others will stop liking you if you ask them to do their fair share, do you like your reason for not delegating? Is it serving you? Or are you stuck feeling resentful?

Although we have less control over our beliefs as children (for many reasons), as an adult, and someone with free will over your own brain, you have the choice to decide what you want to believe. And because beliefs are just thoughts you have had over and over again, you can decide what you want to believe and start to change from where you are to where you want to be. Do you want to believe that you can be effective in your care of patients AND have boundaries? Do you want to believe that you can take care of yourself at least as well as you take care of other humans?

The choice is yours. What will you choose to believe for yourself?

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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