Change Your PTSD Identity
Your beliefs drive 100% of your behavior. Every time you make a choice or take an action it’s based on a deep-seated belief system you’ve been operating on for years. What you do and how you do it (and the success of everything you attempt) is affected by what you accept as truth. To sum it up, you are who you believe you are.
Your most embedded beliefs occur between the ages of 0 – 3. This is the time when your subconscious mind learns the bulk of its programming. The experiences you have during this time, plus the people who share and shape your world influence every belief you come to hold. This means that you receive your beliefs at a time before you have the knowledge, maturity or intellect to choose them – and then you operate guided by them for the rest of your life. That is, until you decide to change.
When a trauma occurs your already available beliefs can further embed and/or evolve depending on what you think and experience during the traumatic event and afterward. This can be a problem if your original belief system is strongly negative, self-abusive or influenced by unhealthy ideas. Later, that system will directly and dramatically affect your recovery. In fact, your beliefs can actively halt, stall or resist your healing efforts.
If you believe you can or believe you can’t overcome the past and PTSD symptoms that’s what will happen. This is why proactively engaging with your belief system and structure is so critical; your beliefs (consciously or subconsciously) can help or hinder your healing process and, ultimately, your success.
If you’re finding it hard to move forward and reach the recovery gains you seek it’s a good time to explore your beliefs about yourself, what you deserve and what you are capable of. When your rooted, core beliefs are in the negative your first focus in healing must be changing your beliefs to be more in alignment with who you want to be and what you are hoping your healing achieves.
The following five steps offer a simplified way to begin shifting any belief:
1 – Identify the negative belief that needs to be changed. Take an inventory of your self-talk and notice what negative thoughts and beliefs frequently occur and make you feel bad about yourself and what’s possible for you. State each belief as simply and directly as possible. (e.g. “I don’t deserve to be happy,” or “I am unlovable,” or “I am broken and unfixable.”
2 – Identify the positive belief that will be more supportive to your recovery. The most effective beliefs are stated in the positive, very specific and in the present; craft your new belief – the one you would rather have directing your behavior – with these concepts in mind. (e.g. “I deserve to be happy,” or “I am completely lovable,” or “I am healing and on my way to a full recovery.”)
3 – Identify proof that the new belief might be true. For every belief there are clues that it is right, possible and available to you already. Look for the clues; ask others to offer their insights. Sometimes clues will be big, hanging like a neon sign you just haven’t noticed. Other times the clues will be small and subtle yet will indicate an opening to a new way of thinking.
4 – Identify choices you’d have to make for that belief to operate in your life. Beliefs drive your choices but they also respond to them. Start making choices based on the new belief, i.e. If this new belief were true how would that change the decisions you make? For each new choice you face filter it through the new belief as if the belief is already true and verified.
5 – Identify actions you’d have to take for that to embody that belief. When you hold a belief you act from the core concepts it holds as truth. If the new belief were true, what actions would that allow you to take? Start filtering all of your actions through the new belief; identify the possibilities and opportunities it opens up and behave in alignment with them.
You don’t have to believe the new belief right away. What’s most important is that you maintain an attitude of “I am open to believing __________.” You are now entering a training program for your mind, body and soul. When you change beliefs it changes who you are all the way down to your core. Of course, you won’t right away believe the new belief. It will take time to acclimate to, embrace, embody and act from it. That’s okay! The more slowly, methodically and deliberately you shift out of an old belief develop a new one the more you own the change; the more deeply and dramatically it will affect who you are and how you live.
Source: changeyouchoose.com by Michele Rosenthal