What is a Belief?
A Belief is an assumption you have or the meaning you give to something, believing it is true, acting on it, without testing how valid this assumption really is.
In our Wheel of Life we have different areas, being Personal Life, Family and Social Life, Financial, Career, and Spiritual Lives. Beliefs about ourselves, who we are, what we are, our perceptions about our lives, are created within each of these areas and are also the internal rules by which we live, whether we are aware of it or not. Studies have shown that a habit is formed within 21 days. A belief can be created a second, and hold true until it is challenged for its appropriateness.
How are our beliefs created?
Most of our beliefs came from childhood, how we perceived situations, actions of others, ourselves amidst people and the results of experiences. We gave meaning to these experiences and accept those meanings as true, thus creating a belief about it. E.g. At school you had to recite a poem, the class mates laughed at you – “it made you feel small and belittled” – so the belief is created ‘-speaking in front of other people humiliates you” and if that’s not enough, you generalize this belief as if it is true in all circumstances! Since you belief this now, every time you have to speak up – you will feel ‘small’, ’inadequate “and without confidence, whether it is true or not. Another example may be that you have voiced a wish, e.g. you would like to have a nice piece of clothing. Your mother/father lashed out at you that “Money doesn’t grow on my back!” “Feeling guilty, you came to the conclusion, make the decision and then belief that your needs are not important enough to be met”. Your belief in adulthood thus, “I am not deserving of what I want” or “I am not good enough to have what I want” This again is widely generalized, creating a new belief: “I’m not deserving of good clothing, -job, -spouse, -friends, -children, -house,” etc. Take note – we do not consciously ‘think and remember’ these incidents and how they came about. Also note there is a strong emotion linked to each one of these generalized adopted truths.
Where, why and how are our beliefs, memories, and habits stored?
Our subconscious mind is the store room of all our thoughts, memories and habits, beliefs, etc. One of its main functions is to keep us safe, from any perceived danger and acting towards our highest good in accordance with our beliefs. Your subconscious mind operates so to say on autopilot based on your constant thoughts, focus and the accepted beliefs you hold true, on various areas and topics in your life. Your subconscious safeguards the body functions. You don’t think about it consciously, like breathing, your organ functions, etc. It also guards and the functions of the mind, anything that will keep you safe – according to your beliefs – irrespective if it is good or bad for you.
Your subconscious is always at work. It never takes time off, and it never sleeps. It is constantly busy creating your life, based on your thoughts, beliefs and actions. It does not judge your thoughts; it doesn’t decide what is good or bad for you. It does not decide what to do or what not to do. Judgement is a function of your conscious mind. That is how we label ourselves and others, based on actions we saw and beliefs that are adopted as truths. Here is also where all our perceived irrational fears reside, irrespective how real, unreal or life-threatening these fears may seem.
How to Change our Unsupportive Beliefs?
We can change our beliefs by becoming aware and realizing that when we react in a way that does not serves us good, or bringing forth situations that cause us to feel inferior, not confident enough, happy, joyful or feelings of unworthiness etc. What we experience in our outside reality was created by us in our inner reality, our thoughts, beliefs and emotions.
We do not have an ‘undo’-button on our subconscious mind, to change our thoughts, actions, behaviours and habits in an instant. So how do we change beliefs, thoughts, habits that do not serve us anymore?
Becoming aware of your emotional state (Below is only one an example)
• Be aware of the feeling or emotion you feel right now, in this moment – are you happy, sad, angry, hurt, joyful, fearful? Name your feeling or emotion.
• Be aware of the thoughts passing through your mind – Ask yourself about what you were thinking just now, that caused this feeling that you feel right now?
• Associate the feeling with the thoughts that brought the feeling about, to learn from it.
• E.g. Question: Why am I feeling anxious right now?
• Question: – What made me feel that way?
• Answer – “I can’t go to…. I can’t drive in heavy traffic” that matches your belief on your personal capability and driving ability.
• The answer to your questions will be a possible belief of what causes you to feel anxious.
• Now start questioning your belief –
• Question: Can I really not drive in heavy traffic? Was there a time that I could drive in heavy traffic? Was any other person capable of driving in heavy traffic?
• Is this true NOW? – Give reasons to yourself to the question of Why your belief may be true or not? Explore deeper to find the real reason your belief is based on.
• Should your belief be untrue with the knowledge you have, change it to a belief that is empowering!
Till Next Time
Be Aware of your Thoughts