I grew up with several negative beliefs that I later began to understand were myths because they were simply never true.
Negative beliefs, on the other hand, can sometimes be true to some extent, but often, they too, can have a long-term detrimental impact on the way you view yourself.
And, if you actually believe these myths or negative beliefs and ‘surrender’ to them, where you act as if they’re true, in time others will begin to believe them as well. But, help is on its way!
I’m thrilled to announce the recent publication of my new book “Shedding the Myths We Grew Up With”!
I wrote this book with the hopes that others, like you, will discover the joy in finding out that the myths (or negative beliefs) you’ve lived with, and have been burdened by for most of your life, are in fact, just myths.
In the process of discovering this, you’ll likely make far better decisions about the way you want to live your life simply because you’ll be dealing with the facts, rather than the fictions.
That’s certainly been true for me, and for many of my clients over the years who’ve worked through the process of shedding their own myths.
I’d like to provide you with a sample of my book, in particular, the introduction, so you can decide for yourself whether it’s a book that might be helpful to you. And, if so, you may be interested in the two-day workshops that I’ll be offering that are based directly on the program that I present within the book to aid in shedding your own myths.
I believe working in a group setting is the most effective way to deal with shedding myths, mainly because you’ll have access to others who’ve been challenged with myths in many of the same ways as you have; the ongoing support you’ll get from me, as well as from one another, can offer you a life-changing experience.
So check out my website on the “Workshop” page for dates of upcoming workshops, and send me an email as soon as possible if you’re interested in participating. (Workshops are limited to 10 participants.)
The following is the Introduction to “Shedding the Myths We Grew Up With”:
I hid behind a desk in one of the small offices and was struggling not to cry. And failing. It was my first day on the job, and I was about to be exposed as the fraud that I most certainly was. I’d been hired by a management consulting firm to do a job that I was in no way qualified for, and nobody knew that except for me. But that had just changed.
Moments before, a young woman who was vacating the office next to the one I was now hiding in casually enquired about my background. I’d always hated that question. I lived in fear of it. I knew what she wanted to know: where did I go to university, and from which faculty did I receive my degree? In my paranoia, I’d long suspected that only people who had degrees to boast about ask others about their ‘background,’ if only to size a person up based on where they went to university and how many degrees they held. As always, whenever I found myself in that uncomfortable situation, I chose to answer her question more generally and rambled on about my experience working on environmental and social issues. After listening patiently for over five minutes, I figured she was probably sorry she asked me anything in the first place. But before she turned on her designer heels to walk away, she ended her chat by informing me that the firm only hired people who had at least a B.A. to do the job I was about to start. I had no such B.A. in anything, let alone in an area that would be in any way relevant to the firm that just hired me. And worse, she clearly knew it. I hadn’t thrown her off the path at all. Damn.
So there I was, a three-year old disguised as a 35-year old woman, crouching down behind a desk in a vacant office, wrinkling my new suit, with mascara running down my face, terrified that the partners of the firm were about to discover this information and fire me. I was hired as a contractor only because I had a small environmental business that taught homeowners and community groups how to recycle and, at the time, the firm was looking for someone to work on some environmental consulting projects. My husband happened to meet one of the partners of this firm on a plane, and he mentioned in a very general way the kind of work that I did; and this partner suggested that I give them a call. I did, but there was no formal interview where I had to send in or even present a resume; I guess they just assumed I had at least one degree, and after a very brief meeting, one of the partners just hired me on the spot. I had no idea how I’d replace this job that I needed so badly if I were to lose it. My husband and I had just separated 3 weeks before, we had a 4-year old son, we were so much in debt that we were considering selling our car, and between the two of us, I was the only one who had a job, at least until that minute.
In short, the partners never did find out, well, at least for a year or so, and when they did, they couldn’t have cared less. During the previous year, I’d built a strong reputation for being very good at what I did; I completed my work on time, and always gave more than what was required of me. Apparently, the only thing they wondered about was why did someone as intelligent as me not have a degree? I was dumbstruck. Me? Intelligent? Wow, I really did fool them after all.
It took another 14 plus years, until I was 50-years old, before I began to believe that I was actually an intelligent woman, despite what I feared was true all along: that I wasn’t. After successfully working at the firm for almost five years, I decided to finally face one of my greatest fears, which was to see if I could achieve academically what I, and everyone in my family of origin, believed I never could. So at 40, I quit my job and enrolled in a first year arts program at a community college, and then a year later, I transferred over to a local university. In total, I remained in the academic world for 8 years, and in that time, I accumulated three degrees: a Bachelors, and two Masters. By then, one would think that I would’ve come to realize that I had it wrong all along about not being intelligent. My grades were usually in the ‘A’ range, and I received a great deal of encouragement and affirmation from my professors in my role as a student, so how could I argue differently? I didn’t know how I could at the time; all I know is that from the deepest core of me, I still did.
So I began to ask myself how, after all those years at school, could I have been so wrong about my assessment of my intelligence, and for so long. How could a belief – especially such a blatantly incorrect belief – be so ineradicably etched into my being such that it would take half my lifetime to replace it with a completely opposing one? And what if I’d believed the opposing one so much earlier, even in my early 30s? What would I have done differently with my life? What might I have accomplished? In what ways would I have been a different person had I believed I was as intelligent as I eventually came to see that I was? Who robbed me of that life I didn’t get a chance to live? Who the hell needed to be accountable for this??
I didn’t find answers to those questions until many years later, but for a very long time; rather than believe that I was actually intelligent, I just chalked my academic success up to working diligently and being incredibly organized. It was only after working as a psychotherapist for several years with clients who seemed as incapable of changing their negative beliefs about themselves as I was, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, that I began to understand the reason why I was trapped in, and limited by, the rock solid beliefs that I had lived with for most of my lifetime. The answer was simple: I was stuck in a myth. A myth?? Isn’t that a fictional story? Well, yes it is. In fact, according to one dictionary, the definition of the word ‘myth’ includes “an invented story, idea, or concept”, and “an imaginary or fictitious thing or person or “a mistaken belief ”, and often we aren’t just stuck in one tenacious myth or mistaken belief, we might have several on the go. And, so entrenched are these myths within the individual that it seems almost impossible to separate the myth from the authentic being that exists at the core – especially if the person has inadvertently absorbed several myths throughout their lifetime, and they simply can’t identify themselves in the absence of them. But, if the myth is as entrenched as I’ve suggested, such that it lives so seamlessly and invisibly within the individual themselves, then it probably won’t be surprising to learn that it was quite difficult to convince my clients that they were stuck in a myth; it was like trying to convince them that they were taken over by nasty, mind-altering aliens; so who needs therapy now??
The purpose of this book is to help you identify the extent to which you’ve been living, and fighting, with your own myths; to gain an understanding of the many impacts they’ve had upon you and on your life over time; to offer you a way to begin to step away from the limitations these myths have set for you; and to build a sense of self that’s grounded in the truth of who you really are.
To this end, this book is divided into 4 parts: In Part 1, I’ll introduce you to the concept of personal myths, and how these myths are formed. In addition, I’ll discuss the various types of coping styles, or mechanisms, that people generally adopt as a way to manage the fears and shame their myths inevitably invoke.
In Part 2, I’ll present 27 case studies that illustrate the concepts that I’ve presented in Part 1. These case studies will highlight the ten most common myths that I’ve become familiar with, both personally and over the years in my psychotherapy practice. In each case study, I describe how the individual’s myth(s) was developed, the impacts it subsequently had upon the view the individual had of themselves, and on the subsequent choices they either made or didn’t make as a result.
In Part 3, I’ll present a step-by-step process that will help you identify your own myths, and introduce you to various ways you can begin shedding them – at least enough to allow you to create the kinds of opportunities for yourself that you may not have known were possible while, either knowingly or unknowingly, living within the narrow scope your individual myths permitted.
And, in Part 4, I’ll leave you with some ways to release yourself from any lingering anger or resentment that you may hold toward those who aided in the development of your myths, as well as some final words about how you can learn to live with the scars your myths inevitably leave behind.
I hope you enjoyed reading the introduction to the book! I’d love to hear your feedback since your input is the most important part of writing. If you wish to purchase, you can find it here on Amazon.ca.