Home guest articles 5 Healthy Ways to Break Free from Tribal Thinking

5 Healthy Ways to Break Free from Tribal Thinking

written by Guest Blogger September 6, 2012

Are the beliefs of your friends and family making it difficult for you to create the changes in your life you know will benefit you? Today guest blogger, Kyra Schaefer who is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, shares with us 5 ways to halt the influence of your tribe. 

If you have a desire within you to achieve something but you feel you cannot do it due to the people around you, then you may need to break free from tribal thinking. Let’s take your first steps together!


Before we discuss how to break free from tribal thinking, let’s first define it. Tribal thinking includes the family or social unit that we grew up within and the resulting conditioning that came from existing in that family unit. This may include beliefs about religion, right and wrong, and more. What we believe is possible for us to achieve as adults, for example, is mainly due to our inherent conditioning…unless that link is broken.

Breaking free from the way our tribe thinks isn’t always easy. We are used to evaluating situations based on how the tribe would address them. Thus we judge right and wrong based on how the group thinks. Our fear at this stage may include fear of disapproval from our tribe. However, tribal thinking is an increasingly old way of living and moving through life, with more individuals challenging and breaking free from these old ways of group thinking.

Tribal thinking still works as a mechanism because the feelings of security which we derive from belonging to a group can feel much safer than exploring our personal unknown, independently. Unfortunately, the “safety in numbers” mentality restricts opportunities to grow and expand our personal consciousness.

Eventually, we may feel we want to break free from the tribe, but not know how to do it. This process can take months, and often, years, so we must be gentle with our personal pace of expansion. Let’s examine a few things we can do to break free from tribal thinking.

1. Do Things on Your Own

Choose to do activities you enjoy without checking in with the tribe. This sends your subconscious the message that you are valuable as an individual and you are allowed to make decisions without the approval of others.

2. Speak Your Mind

Practice speaking as honestly as you can about a given issue to two or more (non-married) adults in the tribe. This helps to create openness, vulnerability, and individuality. Speaking in this way shows you have backbone and promotes dissolving the overarching familial dynamic of privately swaying persons of tribal influence, one at a time (aka, the gossip chain).

3. Enlist Support

When you take an individualistic action, watch to see if it elicits support from the tribe or if it threatens the tribe. More than likely, a person from within your tribe (or an outside friend) will emerge as a supporter for your efforts to realize your individual freedom and support you in breaking free. Continue speaking with this supportive person.

4. Stay Open

Those threatened by your actions may cause contact from them to wane. Continue to reach out to them without expectation of results. This shows them that what you are doing for yourself is a gift of higher self-respect and not an offense to them. It also empowers them.

5. Practice Being in Your Power

Continue to do the practices, affirmations, exercises or activities that affirm who it is you want to be. Have the firm commitment to yourself not to fall into old group habits where fear is your motivation. Group activities are great, as long as your voice is present in the group. You can be in the group, but not of the group.

Breaking free from tribal thinking is often an uphill climb, but it is easier than you think. With practice, patience and support, you will find that you can traverse any personal barrier. Be kind to yourself during this time. Enjoy, relax and take it one step at a time.

About the Author

Kyra Schaefer, C. Ht. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Hypnosis Certification Trainer and founder of the Arizona Hypnotherapy Clinic in Phoenix, AZ. She shares mental health tips and hypnosis downloads via her newsletter and blog at http://www.arizonahypnotherapyclinic.com/.

Being a free thinker opens us up to self-doubt and, in some cases, loneliness by being “disowned” by our tribe. It takes real courage to think for oneself and move past the programming that we’ve been exposed to and influenced by. Do you have any tips in how to safely break free from tribal thinking?

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