When you were nine years old, how old you did believe you were?
And when you turned ten years old, how old did you believe you were?
Maybe you stayed up until midnight so you could “experience” changing from ten to 1ten years old. Maybe you went to bed early because you were so excited, and when you woke up, you were ten. Double figures! Finally!
I was happy when I turned ten. I felt very grown up. Especially as I’d sometimes get a lift to school with a kid who was a couple of years below me. I was so much OLDER than him. I knew it all.
What’s fascinating to me here is how easily I let go of the belief that I was nine, and how quickly I embraced being ten.
One moment I believed I was nine years old, and the next moment I believed I was ten years old.
There was no struggle. No doubt. No wondering whether or not I was allowed to.
I just let one belief go and took on another.
It makes me think of all the times I couldn’t seem to let go.
Like when I stayed in a job I hated.
I’d complain, and feel frustrated to the point of tears, and almost fall asleep at the wheel every time I drove home because I was so drained… and yet… I did nothing about it. Because I didn’t quite believe that a different life – the life I kept daydreaming about – was possible.
Like when I held onto someone I had no chance with.
I never asked her directly because I was too afraid she’d say no. So instead, I lived in uncertainty. Everything was a sign she did or didn’t like me… everything had to “mean” something. It was exhausting.
Like when I cared more than what other people thought about me than what I thought about me.
I knew it was wrong, somewhere in me… but I couldn’t seem to help myself. It would be so much easier, I thought, if they could just let me be me! Why couldn’t they just let me be me?
Eventually, I let go of all these beliefs. But… like I just said: eventually.
Why not sooner?
That’s a bad question.
What stopped me from letting go of beliefs that I knew weren’t useful to me?
That’s a better question.
Because I let go of the belief that I was nine years old with hilarious ease. It was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done, actually. I didn’t even think about it. I just did it.
So what’s the difference between that belief and the other beliefs?
We’ll get to that. First, I want to play a game.
I want you to hold your hand out in front of you. Either one. I’m not fussy. And I want you to look at it. Then I want you to use that hand to pull a belief out of your head. It can be any kind of belief, but I’d prefer you do it with an important one. It will demonstrate my point better.
Ok. So you’ve pulled that important belief from your head, and now it’s in your hand.
Look at it. It’s right there. In your hand.
But… is it?
No. Of course it’s not. Because there’s absolutely nothing in your hand.
Because your beliefs aren’t real.
You make them real with how you live your life, of course. But you make them real. They don’t exist.
What’s the difference between the belief that I was nine, and the belief that I couldn’t live the life I daydreamed about, and the belief that I couldn’t let her go, and the belief that I had to care more about other people than myself?
There isn’t one. There’s no difference. They’re all beliefs.
None of them are real.
That means that letting go of one “kind” of belief doesn’t have to be any harder than letting go of any other “kind”.
But then, what holds us back?
For me it was fear.
I stayed in a job I hated because I was scared that if I tried to change my life, I’d fail.
I held onto someone I had no chance with because I was scared of how much it would hurt to be rejected.
I thought I had to care more about what others thought of me than what I thought of me because what if I was the real me and people didn’t like that and I didn’t have any friends?
I wasn’t scared to let go of being nine years old. What’s scary about that? I wanted to be ten. Good riddance to nine.
Letting go of a belief isn’t hard. We just make it hard by getting in our own way. @Matt_Hearnden (Click to Tweet!)
Once I let go of thinking I’d definitely fail to change my life, once I let go of that person I had no chance with, once I let go of caring more about what other people thought of me than what I thought of me, I felt the same thing every time:
And then I wondered why I just didn’t let go of them sooner.
We feel relief when we finally let something go that wasn’t even helping us.
We know that, and yet we still hold on. And we put ourselves through even more pain.
All because of a belief that isn’t even real.
The reality is this: you can let go of a belief at any time. You’ve done it countless times already. And yet you’re holding onto a belief, something that doesn’t exist, even though it’s causing you pain?
Matt Hearnden is a writer from the UK. He mostly tells stories only he can tell. He blogs twice a week at www.matthearnden.com just self-published his first book:42. Matt writes every day because he loves it and because it stops him watching Netflix. And, probably more importantly, he plays basketball and has lots of tattoos. You can find him on Twitter, IG & Quora.
Image from Angel Monsanto III