In today’s video, I respond to someone who wants to know how to change deeply held beliefs around sex.
Read or watch below to learn how to change beliefs about sex.
Zachary Stockill: Everyone has a certain framework that they rely on to go through life and make sense of the world. And every once in a while in life, I think it’s worth pausing, recontextualizing and reconsidering that framework just to make sure that it’s actually serving us.
In today’s video, I’m going to respond to someone who wrote to me who is doing exactly that. And who wants to know: how to change beliefs about sex?
So I was doing a Q&A on Instagram recently, and a question came in from someone who follows me, asking…
“How do I change deeply held beliefs surrounding sex?”
Number one, I think it’s the wrong way to frame that question.
If I can pick that apart a little, I think you’re framing this issue wrong. And in so doing, you’re putting yourself at risk of putting yourself on the defensive, and not accepting new information.
What I mean is, if you’re telling yourself “I’m trying to change my belief,” immediately, I think, it’s going to put you on the defensive a little, and might make you less receptive to new information.
So I wouldn’t necessarily frame this process as how to change beliefs about sex. I think a better way to look at it is: How can I gather some new information, new data, and new facts?
Number two, I think a great place to start is to go back.
Think back to the very beginning of your life, and start asking yourself…
Where did I pick this belief up? What were the earliest ideas that I was exposed to around sex, sexuality, women, dating?
Think back to your childhood. And think in particular about your preteen and early teen years. What were some of the ideas that you were forming around sex and sexuality at that time? What was the source of some of these ideas? Where were these perspectives coming from?
We often carry the perspectives that we formed around sex, sexuality, and dating in our early years around with us for the rest of our lives. Even if they aren’t necessarily serving us.
So it’s a great place to start; think back to the beginning and think about where this belief came from.
An additional point is, I think it’s probably time to start reading and learning a little more widely. Start reading and learning from people who you haven’t necessarily encountered before. And try to make the group of sources that you’re relying on for new information as diverse as possible.
Read men, read women, read young people, read old people, read people like me who are still alive. Read people who are dead; philosophers from long ago. However, you want to do it, make sure you’re gathering new information from a wide range of sources. Make sure you aren’t going to one school or one person or one book or one thinker to form your entire view around sex and sexuality or dating.
As you do this…
Always be asking yourself: What makes sense? And what seems rational? What seems realistic?
This is going to be an ongoing process of trusting your gut, trusting your intuition, trusting your rationality. And always ask yourself: does this make sense? Does this feel true? And does this seem true? Does the evidence seem accurate, seem realistic? Does that seem acceptable to me?
At the same time, read widely and learn from a wide group of sources, but also consider the source.
Frankly, I think it’s better to learn from someone who’s putting their real face and their real name out there, than some anonymous commenter on Reddit. I think that many anonymous commenters on Reddit, or any other internet chat group, can have valuable things to offer. But I don’t trust that as much if someone’s being anonymous, and hiding behind a computer screen, rather than putting their real face and name out there. Just my opinion. But that’s how I feel; always consider the source.
As you consider the source, realize that you may gain a useful insight or useful perspective from someone as a result. You may agree with them on certain topics. And you may not agree with them on other topics. And guess what? That’s totally fine. As I often say, I don’t agree with everything anyone says, including myself. There are certain things I said a few years ago that I might reconsider saying today…
So take the best and leave the rest when you’re learning from anyone.
Don’t rely on any one person to provide you with all the answers.
And as you go through this process to change beliefs about sex, always be asking yourself… Is this current belief serving me? Is this belief making me happier, healthier, and more successful?
Whatever the case may be, always be asking yourself if your beliefs are actually working for you.
It frequently amazes me how many people go around with terrible belief sets that are getting them nowhere. And they may be devout believers in a certain belief set, but it’s getting them nowhere. It’s keeping them miserable. It’s keeping them unhappy.
And at the end of the day…
A good question is: Do you want to be “right?” Or do you want to be happy?
I don’t know about you. But I’m always going to choose the thing that makes me happy. Because life is short, and we’re all going to die. Thus, I think it’s a better use of our time to choose beliefs that actually serve us; to choose beliefs that are actually going to get us where we want to go.
As an example: one belief that I first heard from Caleb Jones is the belief that everything in my life is my fault. Now, you may say, “Zach, that’s not necessarily true. Obviously, people get sick, there are road accidents, and there may be any number of things that could happen to you that are not your fault…”
Of course, there are exceptions. But the belief set of being a victim and being a victim of circumstance is not going to make me happier. It’s not going to make me healthier, it’s not going to make me more successful. It’s better for me, and my overall level of stress and success and happiness, to take ownership of my life and walk into the world every day with a better belief set.
Everything in my life is my fault. I have power, and I can make choices.
And in this case, I don’t care if that belief is “right” or “accurate,” and I don’t care what anyone else thinks of it. This belief serves me well. Since I started incorporating this belief into my life, I’m happier, I’m healthier, I’m more successful, yada, yada, yada. This belief is serving me, so I’m going to keep it.
Finally, I’d remind you that all we have power over in this world is our perspective.
So the fact that you’re asking me this question, the fact that you’re taking the time to reconsider your beliefs, I think bodes well for your future. Because you seem to realize that, indeed, all we have power over in this life is our perspective.
So it’s crucially important to consider new perspectives and to choose perspectives that are going to get us where we want to go.
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