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We Are What We Believe Ourselves to Be

In 1981, I experienced a life-changing event that I'm still discovering new ways to utilize. It is one of the foundational experiences that started me on the road to working with healing on the mental and emotional plane, as well as the physical.

It started with a disagreement I had with my wife. In response to something I said, she replied, "That's just the way I am!"

I was about to retort, "But you can change," when I remembered the roller skating incident and wisely decided to shut up and leave the matter alone.

My Many Failures at Sports

You see my wife liked to roller skate and wanted me to go with her. I told her that I couldn't roller skate. I knew this to be a "fact" because growing up I struggled with sports of any kind. I had health problems that interfered with my stamina and made it difficult for me to run. I also seemed to have problems with balance and eye-hand coordination. I was the kid who was always chosen last when teams were selected, so I knew that in sports, I was the liability.

The one sport I loved was basketball (because I was tall), but I practiced for hours and hours and never became more than an average player. My brother, who was two and a half years younger than I, was equally good and hardly practiced at all.

I'd gone roller skating once, as part of a church group. I'd struggled to try to balance on the skates the entire time and just towards the end of our time at the rink, as I was beginning to feel a little more comfortable, my legs flew out from under me and I landed on my tailbone. It hurt for two weeks and I vowed I would never be foolish enough again to try roller skating.

Proving to My Wife I Couldn't Rollerskate

My wife had insisted, "But you can learn," and I had finally relented. But in the back of my mind was the thought, "You'll see."

She was remarkably patient with me as I stumbled around the rink trying to get my balance. Towards the end of the evening, I remember thinking, “Maybe I can learn to do this after all.” I swear, that not more than a few seconds after I had this thought, my legs flew out from under me and I fell flat on my butt, just as I had done as a teen. My tailbone hurt for another two weeks.

I had proved to my wife that I couldn’t roller skate. She never asked me again.

Did God Make Us That Way?

So, when my wife said, “That’s just the way I am,” it sparked a thought process in me. I began to wonder, “Am I the way I am because that’s how God made me and there’s nothing I can do about it or am I the way I am simply because I believe that’s the way I am? Can we really change who we are?”

I decided that maybe we were the way we were because of our beliefs and not because of some arbitrary limitation. If there was one thing I was absolutely sure of about myself, it was that I was terrible at sports. I knew this to be 100% true. I had all the evidence to back this belief up, too. The humiliation I experienced in gym class, the feeling of being the liability for the team, the shame of struggling to do things that other kids seemed to find so easy and all the hard work I’d put into basketball, only to wind up having sort of an average competence.

So, I decided to put this question to the ultimate test. I decided I was going to go roller skating with my wife.

Changing My Belief

For the next two weeks I meditated everyday and during my meditation I visualized myself roller skating. I pictured how I would maintain my balance. I saw myself having fun with my wife. I even pictured what would happen if I started to lose my balance. I pictured how I would fall without hurting myself and get up laughing. I rehersed it all in my mind.

Two weeks later, I broke the news to my wife. She was going roller skating each week with her mother and I told her, "I'm going to go roller skating with you tonight."

She replied, "You're kidding?" You see I had gotten her to buy into my belief, too.

I insisted. And, guess what? I actually managed to stay on my feet the entire evening. I even managed to have fun. I was not graceful, by any means. In fact, my wife told me that I looked like Abraham Lincoln on roller skates, but I actually succeeded and went roller skating with her from then on.

It was five years later that I learned why I had struggled so much with sports. I found out I had that I had dyslexia from a Brain Gym instructor and got my brain integrated. But that's a story for another day.

I had learned a valuable lesson. I could change something I thought was absolutely unchangeable about myself by changing my beliefs. It was the experience that opened me up to all the knowledge and ideas that eventually became what I call "emotional healing."  The many things I've been able to change about myself since that time by simply changing my beliefs is nothing short of miraculous to me. But more importantly, the growth I've seen in others as I've helped them alter their inner beliefs has been a source of great joy and happiness to me.

This is why I'm so passionate about teaching people about how their mind and their heart work together to create their experience of life, and how they can alter their mindset and heal the emotional wounds they carry to change their life for the better.

To be continued...