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Sayings To Live By - Not

by Gavin, Unlock Your Happiness.com
(Cape Town, South Africa)

Of all the sayings to live by, the one featured here is NOT one of them. It puts you into victim consciousness. There are many good sayings to live by, including family sayings we adopt from our parents and other family members. However, there are sayings or expressions that, while on the surface may seem quite innocuous or even funny, have a tendency to send our brains a subtle message that is in fact not good for us at all.

I'm thinking here about something my dad used to say quite often, in a kind of jesting manner, yet with a tinge of conviction behind it too.

One of the sayings to live by - not!

The saying was simply this: "ALWAYS at it; NEVER stop", or some variation of that same theme, often preceded by, "Yes, Phyllis."

My dad would say this when my mom asked him if he was still busy wherever he was; or if he was seen taking out the refuse, or washing the dishes by hand, or repairing something at home, or working on some admin work he had brought home from the office. This statement of his almost became a kind of mantra.

"Yes, Phyllis, I'm still at it; never stop." I still chuckle about it to this day.

I adopted my dad's mantra, in jest

As a kind of joke, and in affectionate memory of my dad and his various sayings to live by, I started using this same expression at home too, to tease my family.

My wake-up call

Then one day it dawned on me: Hey! This is actually a 'victim' statement. It is creating and entrenching a few undesirable beliefs in me that can adversely affect my entire relationship with life itself. By regularly repeating this to myself (for the benefit of my family audience and my own sense of humour) I was in fact telling my brain that...
  • I am always working; this is just how my life is; woe is me;

  • I don't have all the fun that other people have; my life is just work, work, work;

  • I must be unworthy of enjoying life; for me it is all a slog and I'm just not deserving enough to have the kind of life that others have.

When that dawned on me, it was like a wake-up call. What had I been doing to myself all these years? What had meant to be funny and humorous had been polluting my mind with thoughts that were not supporting me.

I had unwittingly adopted sayings to live by which my brain was in fact taking on board without question -- which is what the reticular activating system of the brain does. It absorbs whatever it is told, without question or analysis or rejection.

So, if we constantly feed our brain with the same thing over and over, that idea becomes a deep-seated belief. The scary thing is that it does this even though we may consciously know that we are only joking.

A more useful saying

So, of all the sayings to live by, here's one I think is a far more useful one to adopt:

Say what you truly mean, and truly mean what you say.

It's fine to tell jokes, or to use family sayings that we know are not really true, and we do it in humour. The trouble comes, however, when we say (or just think) the same thing repeatedly over time. That is when false statements come to be believed.

We need to affirm good beliefs, not silly ones

It is said that when we tell ourselves something often enough, it becomes a belief. So it is clearly important that the things we tell ourselves repeatedly - either alone or by means of saying it to others - are truths that we would want to have as our beliefs, and the beliefs others have in relation to ourselves.

Are YOU unwittingly polluting YOUR belief system?

Do YOU have any such sayings to live by that could in fact be detrimental to your happiness, success and quality of life in the longer term? If so, why not share them at this site - either in a comment to this post, or by writing your own Web page like this one. (See links below.)

~ Gavin


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