If your mind doesn’t have something specific to focus on (i.e. creativity, finding solutions, accomplishing a goal, etc.) it will focus on the familiar and comfortable. That’s what minds do. Familiar and comfortable often includes behaviors, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and perceptions that directly go against what we most want for ourselves. Familiar and comfortable is most often not who we truly are and what we truly want, but it's what we learned at some point and then kept repeating, so it is easy and well known to us- it requires no effort.
Important question to consider are:
If the answers are “no,” then you can start by telling your mind what to focus on and how to be your servant, not your master.
Start by setting a daily intention for yourself.
I.e. “I want to make choices that support my health,” or “I want to be peaceful and calm.” Be clear and specific.
Create check ins with yourself throughout the day and notice when you’re being in ways that go against what you want for yourself.
Be gentle and nonjudgmental. Remember your intention. Think of all the ways in which your life would be different if you lived from that intention.
One moment at a time, you’re teaching your mind to work for you, not against you.
Breaking generational patterns is hard AND very possible.
Generational patterns are (unspoken and spoken) rules and norms within the family that are perpetuated from one generation to the next. This can include: relational dynamics, gender roles, poverty, abuse, thought and behavior patterns, education level, traumas, and physical illnesses, amongst others.
Breaking these cycles starts with one person believing they are worthy and deserving of more than just the status quo. It starts with one person daring to dream bigger and want more. Being the first one to challenge these long standing patterns takes courage, ambition, resilience, and an unwavering belief in oneself.
As a first-generation immigrant, college graduate, and professional, I've been through many practical and unique psychological obstacles fist-generation individuals face.
Growing up with limited possibilities tends to leave a deeper emotional wound that often permeates long after tangible ways of success are accomplished.
For example, even though you accomplished everything you set to, persisted through many obstacles and adversities, you might feel like you're faking your way through accomplishments, never truly feeling worthy of an abundant life. You might think that struggle and hardship is the only way to success. This deep seated belief is not always so obvious to us, but it can be recognized in self-sabotage, settling for less then what we want, and feeling guilty for success.
Chasing big dreams and being the first one in your family to start creating a different narrative requires continuous and intentional work.
At times, you might have to be your own cheerleader. People might not get you. Others will think it is impossible and unrealistic. But these are other people’s limitations and beliefs - you don’t have to take them on as your own beliefs.
The great thing about being the first one is that you get to create success on your own terms.
It doesn’t happen overnight and it starts with seemingly small things: Having a difficult conversation with your partner (although you’ve never witnessed your parents having one), going to therapy (although your family & friends thinks that’s for “crazy people”), asking for a raise (although you’ve been told you should be happy to even have a job), prioritizing your career (although you “should” be married already), deciding to be a stay-at-home parent (although you should be having a “real” job), believing in that crazy dream (even though people around you say you should settle).
You are creating a different future for yourself and for those who will come after you. You may not be exactly where you want to be, but you are well on your way!