NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, The Healing Project.
I recently completed an exercise on beliefs from Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life Companion Book.” The exercise was straightforward and consisted of sentence completion for nine topics. The objective was to uncover hidden beliefs which may be holding me back in certain areas of my life. In this blog entry, I will share some of the insights that I gained from completing the beliefs exercise.
The topics which were explored in the beliefs exercise were: Men, Women, Love, Sex, Work, Money, Success, Failure, and God. For each word, I wrote the various thoughts which popped into my head. I tried not to think too deeply about the “right” or “best” answers for any of the topics. I spent about twenty minutes uncovering my beliefs and then took some additional time to review my answers and look for insights or “aha moments.”
Some Surprise Beliefs…
For some of the areas, there were no surprises. I knew that I had issues regarding Work, Success and Failure, and I will be writing about those topics in a later post. I also knew that my feelings about Love and God were basically positive in nature. However, the biggest surprise for me in doing the beliefs exercise related to my feelings about men and women. I learned that I have basically positive feelings about men and a lot of not so positive attitudes about women. Because I am a woman, my attitudes about my own gender bear some exploration…
My Beliefs About Women and Men
Here are a few of my statements about women:
- Women can be catty, petty and mean.
- Women aren’t nice to each other.
- Women can be too obsessed with appearance.
- Women have fewer advantages in life.
- Women don’t know what they want.
- Women are too picky.
In contrast, here are some of my thoughts about men:
- Men have more advantages in the world than women.
- Men have more fun than women.
- Men are easier to get along with than women.
- Men generally feel better about their bodies.
- Men are not to be feared or hated.
If I read the above statements and didn’t know any better, I’d think they were written by a man! I was definitely surprised to learn some of my hidden feelings about men and women, but what does this all mean? I am still processing this information, but here are some of the insights I’ve gained thus far…
Beliefs About Women – Or About Myself?
Many of my statements about women were more about myself than about women in general. I am picky and unsure as to what I really want in life. I have a tendency to be obsessed with my appearance and I am often not very nice to myself. I can be catty, petty and mean, particularly towards myself. While I have many advantages in my life, I sometimes don’t appreciate what I have and times, I feel guilty for the privileges which I enjoy. I question whether or not I deserve to have the many benefits with which I’ve been blessed.
I sometimes feel as if I’m not a “normal” woman. After all, I’m not very maternal, I’ve never really wanted to have children, and my domestic skills are sorely lacking. While I enjoy being pretty and feminine in terms of my appearance, I have often tried to develop more masculine personality characteristics. I have believed that I should be more career-driven than is my natural tendency, especially since I was lacking the drive to bear and raise children. I beat myself up on a regular basis for not achieving the societal vision of success, a goal which men traditionally feel more pressure to reach.
Strength – Masculine or Feminine?
While I know a number of strong women, I think I’ve always associated strength more with the masculine than the feminine. Unlike many other women I know, I do not fear or distrust men. I find that I easily build rapport with men and in general have positive feelings about them. Before I got married, I had more male friends than female friends.
The women with whom I have bonded tended to be other women who don’t fit the traditional female mold. I feel that more traditional women don’t “get” me and sometimes look at me as if I have two heads. At times, I feel judged by other women for the choices I’ve made in life, particularly the decision not to have children. I do not begrudge their decisions, but I feel that they begrudge mine.
Next Steps for Me
Of course, I don’t know that any of my suspicions about other women are true. We often project our own beliefs onto others and are frequently unaware that we are doing this. The Beliefs Exercise has helped to open my eyes regarding my beliefs about women. Now that I am aware that some of my beliefs are not empowering and don’t really serve me, I have a choice and some additional work to do. I need to decide what I want to believe about women and about myself. I choose to adopt more loving and empowering beliefs about women in general and about myself as a woman. As this process evolves, I will share my new insights, as well as the ways in which I am growing and learning in this area of life.
Follow-On Questions for Readers
- What are your attitudes about men and women?
- Do you find that you have more positive attitudes about your own gender or about the opposite gender?
- In what ways do your attitudes about men and women positively or negatively impact your life?
- Are there any dis-empowering beliefs which you would like to release?
I encourage you to take some time to explore your beliefs about Men, Women, Love, Sex, Work, Money, Success, Failure, and God. Powerful change begins with awareness. As Dr. Phil says, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” The Healing Project is all about self-awareness, empowerment and positive change. Although some insights can be painful, they often serve as a springboard toward growth.