Changing Your Mind

Changing your mindHave you ever noticed that people have a tendency to change their minds?  Whether people change their minds because they need to add variety to their daily routines, want to initiate play, desire to create something new, or because they have gained new insights that now overrule their previous beliefs, it is inevitable that people will change their minds about some thing at some time.

We can either perceive this change as wise, for example when children go through their various stages of development, or we can perceive it as being inconsistent, erratic, unstable or possibly even immoral.  But this determination has to due with people’s perceptions about the accuracy or rightness of the new belief, opinion, or subsequent action.  It doesn’t make the act of changing one’s mind right or wrong.  All we can hope is that there is wisdom in the decision.

I’m not going to dwell on the making of right decisions here, but rather that all of us will make new decisions, adopt new beliefs, and set a course of new actions.  This is part of life.  In fact, if nothing in your life – what you think, feel, or do – is changing, you may not be fully living the passionate and fulfilling life you were meant to live. 

So, here’s the challenge.  How do you change your mind in a way that you don’t lose your mind?

Your Mind Can Drive You Nuts

Perhaps you’ve noticed that your mind has a way of churning and twisting thoughts into pretzels before a decision is reached.  You may have even suffered while your internal debates raged.  This may have been particularly painful when wrestling with whether to adopt a belief that you previously decided was wrong, bad, or not right for you. 

Face it.  People have a hard time going against their previous decisions.  It makes them feel like hypocrites, liars, or just plain stupid, and no one likes how that feels.  Even if it is obvious to them that they need to change their mind, they may delay the shift or even prevent it to avoid the internal pain.

So, what can we do in order to not be thrust into this dilemma?

The Shelf that Creates Freedom

We’ve all heard by now the analogy that you can’t add anything to a full glass.  In other words, we cannot learn anything new if we are already full.  When you are full, you need to remove something first to make room for the new item.   This is where the pain and internal struggle emerges.  We get emotionally attached to that which we have chosen to fill ourselves.

People have learned to not only name everything, but to categorize it into good, bad, right, wrong, works for me, doesn’t work for me, even red, blue or purple.  We then often add our justifications to prove the categorizations.  These justifications may be derived from parents or other people we trusted categorizing the belief for us – such as “money is dirty.”  Or we may have already accumulated on our own a host of beliefs that back up the new belief.  In either case, these new beliefs, their classifications and their accompanying justifications fill our mental glass.  Get the point?

To remove the emotional struggle of removing items from your glass, I would like to introduce you to the concept of the Shelf.  What if everything in life doesn’t need to be categorized?  What if instead, you decided that it was ok for some things to remain a mystery or undetermined?  What if you could then place these uncategorized thoughts and beliefs on a shelf so that at a later date you could – if you ever choose to – look at them again, fresh, without emotional attachment?  Then, you could have an unencumbered choice to see if it works for you now, in this moment, or not. 

Conversely, what if you had something in your mental glass that might not work for you any more?  What if you took that discordant belief or thought and placed it on the shelf making it once more uncategorized – something that should you choose to, you could look at again to see if it fit in that moment in time. 

Though I’m sure there are some universal truths, many truths or beliefs depend upon a particular moment in time and situation.  Something may be a right fit for you when we are 20, but no longer fits when you are 35 or 60.  Changing your mind doesn’t make the concept right or wrong.  Your belief fits and works for you in that moment, or it doesn’t.  In a way, it’s much like fashion.  Trends come and go as do some beliefs and attitudes.

This is what I call freedom – freedom to choose in the moment to create and adorn your life in a way that is fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful. 

So, do you plan on using your shelf to regain your freedom?