An interesting question of mindset and freedom was sparked when CHO Trustee, Sue Newport of Asentia Healing with Animals came across an unexpected visitor in her barn....
This little chap was spotted in our barn while the horses were having their feet trimmed. We didn't realise he was there initially and even when we did, he just stayed there observing what was going on until we had finished and I went and took this photo of him, the click of the camera frightening him off.
I have found it useful, when an animal unusually catches my attention, to consult an animal spirit guidebook to see if there is a message that is helpful at that time in my life. On this occasion I used 'Animal Spirit Guides' by Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D. and what resonated with me was this:
"It is important at this time to break out of your social conditioning and express yourself more freely".
How many of us feel trapped in not being able to be who we would like to be? According to Dr Carol S. Dweck in her book 'Mindset' there are 2 main mindsets, the fixed and the growth one although we generally have a measure of both. If you are of a fixed mindset you believe that you cannot change your qualities and so you spend your life proving yourself at school, in your job and in your relationships that you are good enough. If you are of a growth mindset you believe that you can grow in all aspects of yourself through your efforts, challenges, strategies and others helping you.
So which mindset is more dominant for you? Mine used to be mostly the fixed one but now the pendulum has swung more into the growth mindset and it feels so much freer. Just having an awareness of this in itself can be liberating because once we know something, we then have the choice to do something about it.
So, what can we do to break out of our social conditioning, an inevitable by-product of being born and brought up in the culture of the country we live in? Defining 'social conditioning' is a big subject but the things that spring to mind in this context is what we learn in childhood from parents, relatives, friends, school and college; expectations arising in childhood and in employment; physical and emotional traumas experienced particularly when very young. These, as well as many other things, all contribute to the way we perceive the world we live in and consequently how we react to life. The following steps are from my experience of starting to break out of my social conditioning and my hope is that this will be helpful to someone who is wanting to break free :
- Have a strong desire to want to change because you are the only one who can make that happen
- Be patient, it may be very slow progress and take time
- Find support and help, don't try to do it all on your own
- Be prepared for emotional, spiritual and physical ups and downs, and be courageous to push through the lows and enjoy the highs
- Know that you have all the resources within you to meet the challenges of this process of change
- Remember that change and growth is embedded in the energy of LOVE, not fear.
Trusting in the process of change and growth can see us all through into a new sense of freedom and opportunity to be the person we are meant to be.