The Books on The Back Shelf of Your Mind

We all have fears, worries, anxieties, and memories from our past that still haunt us. They are like books stored in a library on the back shelf of our mind. Just like a library our thoughts, and fears are stored in separate sections and we access the books in each of the sections everyday to help us deal with new experiences in our life.

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We all have fears, worries, anxieties, and memories from our past that still haunt us. They are like books stored in a library on the back shelf of our mind. Just like a library our thoughts, and fears are stored in separate sections and we access the books in each of the sections everyday to help us deal with new experiences in our life.


It might be time to rewrite the books that you have stored. Just like in a library there are books that are timeless and can be read again and again and never be outdated, I am thinking of a particular book that I love, rather cliched but I love it 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill. It was written in the 1930's but most of the principles still apply today and it is one I often refer to and have several copies lying about the house. So it is with the books in our minds, some will never be outdated but a lot of them are outdated and hold irrelevant information about our fears, and our beliefs.

The book of memories

The book of memories is a large book in which all our memories are stored and retrieved whenever required. Sometimes the pages of the book become distorted over time and sometimes the pages get ripped out altogether.

A lot of the time we keep this book on the very front shelf of our library and access it every single day when we re-live traumatic experiences. Reliving past experiences is debilitating and can literally stunt our mental growth. Painful memories that are still raw i.e. a few years old need to be talked about in an open way, preferably with a trained counselor. However talking about the event 10 years on is counterproductive and it's time to stop reading the book. Mentally put the memory in your book and get it stored on the back shelf only to opened on rare occasions. This is in no way discounting the traumatic event you are simply saying to yourself 'It's time to move on', reliving your past everyday will only halt your mental growth and you will be stuck for as long as you keep reliving old events.

New, more happier, memories should be stored in the book as often as possible and I think it's important to push yourself to get out, meet new people, puish beyond your comfort zone or get back in touch with family and good friends to start depositing happier memories in your book.

The book of beliefs

Beliefs shape our lives and make us the person we are today and it's important to revisit our beliefs regularly and keep them up to date. How do we do this?

As you walk along the path of life you will come across experiences that don't quite sit right with you and this can be a time to question and reposition your beliefs. For example when I was younger I used to go out with a group of friends every weekend (that was when the weekend started on a Thursday night) and our main goal was to have a good time, have a drink, and try and pick up a woman (Sorry, that was my mentality when I was younger). The experiences of the weekend were then spoken about with each other and I went along with the crowd at first and after a few times it didn't sit right with me. I questioned my belief about privacy and respect and made a new belief to respect myself and anybody I was involved with. From then on I always kept my experiences with the girls to myself as I didn't feel it was right to discuss intimate details with everyone, I always took a lot of heat for that but I stuck to my guns.

To question your own beliefs it's important to question others beliefs as well and then make your own decisions and find out where you stand on certain topics. Most people believe it is not right to kill another human being that is why we can live in relative peace and harmony. Yes, it's true there are a lot of people out there who kill but they are few and far between and the media sensationalize the people who do, therefore leading us to believe the world is a bad place to live, but is it really a bad place to live? we have to question the media's motives for printing stories of people who murder others, simply because it sells just like the thousands of books about crime they are bestsellers. I believe the media can help to fuel a murderers motivation to kill, I honestly do and I have taken a lot of stick for this viewpoint.

Question everything and look at your beliefs about everything. You start by asking the question: What are my beliefs about this subject? if you don't really have a belief and it's not important then leave it, if it's something important to you then form a belief around it but have reasons for it.

The Book of values and principles

This is the book that we access everyday and some people don't even have this book in their minds. This does not mean we don't have values and principles it simply means we may not know what they are and have never voiced them in any way. Having values and principles helps us to focus on the person we want to be and the person we would like to become. Over the last few years my wife and I have taught our youngest son the value and principle of honesty. At a young age he was prone to lying, about big things and silly little things. A lot of children go through this and they are basically pushing the boundaries to find out what they can get away with and that's part of growing up. However we know our son very well and always knew when he was lying. To teach him this value he would always be given a punishment for lying e.g. no TV, computer or xbox for the day. Over the last few years he has learned that lying does not help and that telling the truth, no matter the consequences, was always the best way. We would also reward him for telling the truth and thanked him for his honesty, he may have still got into trouble but far less trouble than he would have if he had persisted with a lie

Pick the values you would like to have in your life and try and live by those values. To help you choose values you can look at the list below. Decide on a few values at a time, and some of them you will already be living you just might need to solidify them. You will find that living this way has a tremendous impact on your life.

The book of knowledge

This book stores everything you have learned over your lifetime and like the book of beliefs you use it everyday as a way of gaining more knowledge and learning from new experiences. The trouble sometimes some people have is that they stop learning after coming out of school or university, or rather they stop actively looking to learn new things and form a belief that once you get past a certain age your brain can't handle new information. This is not the case at all, the more we use our brains to learn the healthier it will become, once we stop seeking to learn new things our brains become, metaphorically, atrophied.

This really is the information age we are living in and the human brain is literally evolving into being able to store more information and in a more efficient way. Imagine our parents having to learn everything we have learned in our lifetime it just wouldn't have happened however because our children are used to the amount of information they have to learn they don't know any different so they get on with learning and their belief is that they can learn new things simply because they have to.

If you actively seek to learn new information whether it be on the computer or going back to college or university then do it if you can, it will keep your mind young, open and fresh to new ideas. The book of knowledge should be updated everyday.

The book of you

'The book of you' essentially contains everything that makes you YOU, everything I have written about above and all the little quirks and personality traits. It contains your sense of humour, your preferences about life, it contains the very soul of you. Spend a little time reading the book of you i.e. spend a little time alone to get back in touch with yourself and keep being you and keep being as authentic as possible.

What books do you have inside you?


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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.