For more than twenty years, I wouldn’t eat runny eggs thanks to the whole Edwina Currie salmonella egg scandal that happened in the U.K. when I was ten. I also get very twitchy about someone putting tins in the fridge–kept hearing about how dangerous it was back in the eighties. And while I will eat some fish with bones, each time I do, I remember that the Queen Mother choked on a fishbone and wound up in hospital for four days.

It would be all too easy to assume that this royal incident was frequently discussed in my family. Nope, I saw it on the evening news. A quick Google reveals that this happened in November 1982. I was aged five. And here I am over thirty-eight years later damn near holding my breath as my husband and children eat fish with gusto and no qualms. 

Humans have many millions of events and associations on file in our mental filing system, the subconscious, driving our current thinking, feelings and behaviour.

Many of them are out of our awareness, or we consciously continue using the same information even when it’s outdated. It’s only when we pause and question our default stories, judgements, rules and habits that we get to question and update them. This isn’t something that we have to attempt to sit down and sift through one by one, though. Life takes care of this by continuously presenting us with situations that allow us to challenge what’s on file. 

Some of it might be pretty minor in the grander scheme of things. So, me finally eating soft-boiled eggs again is great, but it wasn’t having a major impact on my life. And honestly, I’m not missing out because I don’t take great delight in sifting fishbones like the rest of my family. That said, I didn’t need to avoid fish altogether and finally started eating it in my early twenties. 

Willingness to adapt in seemingly smaller areas of our lives serve as reminders to question old narratives, beliefs and judgements in more significant areas.

We all need to notice bias, generalisations and straight-up lies and untruths we’re peddling to ourselves as facts or inadvertently or consciously allowing them to interfere with living our lives happily and authentically. 

Why do we do things in the way that we do them for as long as we’ve done them?

What’s the baggage behind it? Sometimes, it’s taking our rigidity about something fairly innocuous–I don’t eat soft-boiled eggs–and asking where else our rules and rigidity show up in our life. For instance, some of that same twitchiness about food poisoning shows up in my attitude, at times, to rejection.

Where are we always trying to ‘get’ or ‘avoid’ something?

Have we been saying, doing or avoiding something for a very long time that needs further examination?

Also, what do our habits around certain things tell us about ourselves? Noticing my twitchiness around certain things helped me acknowledge that I’m ‘receptive’ in certain areas. As a result, I need to be mindful of what I’m absorbing and question or double-check things.

Adulthood is about unlearning all of the unproductive and harmful messages, associations and habits we’ve picked up along the way so that we can become more of who we really are. If we notice the opportunities to ‘update’, we get to heal, grow and learn.

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