Flies in the Glass
As a child, I caught flies and put them in large, glass jars with foil for lids. I poked air holes in the foil, but they were not big enough for the flies to escape. And of course, the flies wanted to escape. At first, the flies would try to fly away, but they would always run into the foil. They tried again and again to fly away, but with no luck: the foil always blocked their escape. Eventually, the flies stopped trying to escape. I removed the foil from the jar and guess what?
The flies still did not try to escape, even when they had a clear path to freedom. The flies had created a new belief—I cannot fly—and they were no longer flexible. The flies had accepted this belief as a truth and so it remained a truth, even when the circumstances changed and made it invalid.
So how about you?
Do you have any negative beliefs that you have allowed to solidify as truths in your mind? Here is a list of some of the most common negative beliefs I see in my practice:
- Losing weight is too difficult
- Everyone in my family is overweight
- No matter what I eat, I always gain weight
- People who don’t eat meat get sick
- I am not strong enough to fight
- I am too fat
- I am too weak to lose weight
- I need to eat fatty foods to feel satisfied
- I am not allowed to eat very much
- I can’t lose weight
- I am always hungry
- I can’t stop eating
- I can only sleep when I am full
- I have to eat everything on my plate
- I need to be skinny to be loved
- I can only eat at certain times
- I will never lose weight
- My…is too fat
- My body is repulsive
- My obesity is genetic
- Staying slim is difficult
- Working out kills
- I have to eat what I pay for
- I will only be happy and content when I lose ten pounds
- If I don’t eat everything on my plate, the weather will be terrible tomorrow
What do you believe about your weight and eating habits? What have your parents, siblings and grandparents said about your weight and eating habits? Take ten minutes to write the answers down.
Now, ask yourself if what you have written is true. And then answer this question: how do I know that what I think is really true?
Now think about this: not everything that we think is true or an accurate reflection of reality. Remember: you used to believe in Santa Clause, didn’t you?