We all have opinions, beliefs, preconceived notions, etc. And I've noticed, in myself and others, a tendency to discount anything that falls outside of what we've decided we "like".
For example, when I discovered a country and western singer whose songs I liked, I found on his website that he was giving a concert about 60 miles from my house that very weekend. Did I go? I'm sorry to say no. Why? Well, all my preconceived notions popped up... I don't like crowds, I'd have to drive sixty miles to get home at night after a concert and I'd be tired, my husband probably wouldn't want to go, country and western crowds aren't my style, yada, yada, yada...
So rather than say "Wow, look what the Universe has arranged for me. A concert close to home just as I've discovered this singer whose songs I like", I instead went with my limiting beliefs and "preconceived judgments" and did not go. And then about a week later, it hit me! I'd been handed a gift, and I turned it down because of my preconceived ideas about what I "like" and "don't like". The Universe had arranged a wonderful treat for me, and I said, "thanks, but no thanks, not my style". So the door was open, and I slammed it shut not even bothering to consider what wondrous gift/experience might be waiting for me.
Making Choices Based on Limiting Beliefs
Now, I'm sure that you can think of such examples in your life. To give you another example, the other day, a good friend of mine who is retired was invited to a "dinner & dance" evening. She told me she wasn't going to go because she'd been to those kind of events throughout her career and she'd had enough of them. They were not any fun and you were "stuck" sitting betwen two people and had to talk to them all evening.
Now of course, since it's easier to see the "mote in someone else's eye" than in your own, I immediately "got on her case". I told her she was assuming it would be the same as in her past, and plus, she wouldn't be working, she'd be there to enjoy herself, etc. etc. It was easy for me to see how she was limiting herself by her preconceived ideas of what she liked and didn't like... Luckily for her, she decided to go (after my wrangling, how could she not) and she had a great time! She ended up "dancing all night" and she's 80 years old. She also mentioned to me how there was a 93 year old woman there who also had a great time and danced all evening. How's that for letting go of preconceived notions and being willing to open yourself to new experiences.
Choosing to Let Go of Preconceived Notions
Yesterday, someone called who's going through challenging times and is looking for a new place to stay in a roommate type of situation ans wanted to know if I had any suggestions... but she had a whole list of things that she wouldn't accept. And also a list of reasons why she couldn't find what she was looking for. Another case of limiting ourselves with our preconceived ideas of what's right for us and what's wrong.
Yes, I know! We all do it! However, I've realized that my preconceived ideas often block the door to enjoying what's here and now in my life. There are things that I've automatically said no to because of a belief or opinion, and when I've been willing to let go of that opinion or judgment, I've often discovered that I'd been incorrect in my assumptions.
For example, my husband always wanted a boat. However, I don't like gas-engine powered boats (smelly, toxic, noisy, not environmentally-friendly) so a boat with an engine was out (says me). Sailboats are nice but I've been sailing with a friend, and they're a lot of work. So that was out (says me). And then, I went for a ride on a pontoon boat. Yes, it has a gas engine, but I opened my mind to the possibility and I loved the experience. I was floating down the river in a slow-moving boat, just sitting at the prow and admiring the scenery as I floated by. That was great!
Yes, I was creating pollution with the engine on the back of the boat, but it's a small 25 HP engine, so I felt it was a good compromise. Not as much work as a sailboat, and much less pollution than a speedboat. So what I discovered is that when we are willing to step past our preconceived notions of what we like or don't like, we can discover a whole world out there waiting for our participation and enjoyment.
Watch Out for Those Preconceived Notions!
It's all in our attitude. I recall a few years ago getting pulled out of a security line at the airport in order to get a more intense screening, pat down, etc. I decided on the spot that I would make this a pleasant experience rather than resist and grumble. So I treated the security agent (female) as a friend. I commented jokingly that if she was going to be touching me so intimately, the least I would expect is a shoulder massage. Well, to my amazement, when she reached my shoulders, she proceeded to give me a small massage.
Wow! An experience that usually would have irritated me and brought up plenty of preconceived ideas on airport security (yada, yada, yada) turned out into a pleasant experience. And all because I decided to let go of any preconceived ideas of how this was going to be and how I didn't like the whole experience.
The moral of the story? Treat every experience as brand new. Approach it as something you've never done, never heard of, never judged, never had a preconceived opinion about. Simply trust that if the Universe is sending something your way, there is a Divine reason for it and there will be a blessing in the experience if you remain open to it.
Create a World That Works: Tools for Personal and Global Transformation
by Alan Seale
Grounded in the convergence of ancient wisdom teachings, evolutionary consciousness, universal spirituality concepts, and the basic principles of quantum physics. Create a "Transformational Presence" by: * Engaging your intuition * Making choice and opportunity your habitual approach to life... and more. And so we begin to tap into the greatest potential of ourselves, our families, our communities, companies, countries, and even our world, and have the courage to act on that potential for the greater good of all.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com