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  • Writer's picture Marilynne Cahn

Ingredients for recipes of life

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

Our lists of ingredients for the recipe of a successful life are our belief systems carried in our sub-conscious minds. We get our lists from family, culture and our life experiences. We believe our way of living, our attitudes and our behaviours will result in our perfect life. And then the missing ingredients and the things we cannot change are blamed for our lack of joy and harmony.

Unfortunately, it is rare that anyone or anything contains all the right ingredients, so most of us make do and try to build on the qualities we find - as long as there are enough of them. If you hold a belief that your partner can only make you happy if he/she has certain attributes, when those attributes are missing, you will have internal conflict. The assumption is that he/she will be unable to fulfill you unless he/she changes. Then you can only make one of two possible choices. One is to try to develop what is missing - that your partner will change in time... and the other is to look elsewhere. To take either route means that you are placing blame on your partner - blaming him or her because you do not feel fulfilled. Of course our shopping lists of ingredients for the perfect person are not limited to other people. Our shopping lists will set us up for disappointment. We have many lists ... attributes we're lacking; qualities that we think will make us a better person; perfect partner; perfect job; perfect child etc.

Before reading on, write out:-

1. A list of qualities you feel you are lacking - the ones that you feel will make you a better person and write down all the qualities that you feel you possess that are important to you.

2. Write your list of what you feel makes the perfect partner.

Compare your completed lists - you may find one list longer than the others, which will give you an indication of where you place the most blame. If you are more demanding of yourself, self-blame probably is your default and vice versa. So our expectations are really our demands and when they're not met, blame will always be the consequence. The longer our lists of expectations, the less opportunity for those unexpected, serendipitous moments. When we are focused narrowly, we can only see what we expect ...if we expect something negative, that's what will probably appear and then if something good happens we may find ourselves saying 'this is too good to be true'.

Fearing the 'want nots', the things we want to avoid, is why we have lists of 'wants'. But having a negative experience once doesn't mean that another situation will evolve in the same way. Rather than saving us from our 'want nots' - our dislikes, our hurt and pain, our fears merely prevent us from experiencing all sorts of possibilities. Life may not be exciting but it is predictable...or so we think!

We're in conflict with our world because we think we know best . We may think we're not like that, but if you relate to these lists, then you have set ideas about life. When we look at our beliefs from a global perspective, what we see is that what is perceived as a virtue in one country, culture, society or individual may be considered differently in another. Which perspective is correct, if any?

Holding onto our beliefs as truths blinds us to the truth of others. Even if we don't agree or relate with others' views, what prevents us keeping our minds open to them? No-one can take our beliefs away from us, but keeping an open mind to other ways of seeing life can transform and broaden our own world view. All we have to lose is narrow, limited thinking...but we can gain so much ...and open to the many possibilities and opportunities that life presents.

I help you gain clarity with attitudes and belief systems, to improve mental and physical health, and to identify the steps you can take to live more harmoniously and dynamically.

If you would like to explore your shopping lists and belief systems, call or email me or book via my website for an appointment.

0410 312 755

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