What Do You Believe?
What we believe drives who we are and what we do. Our beliefs direct how we feel and the way we perceive the world around us.
In other words, whatever we believe to be true IS true for us.
The question is: Do your beliefs move you forward into joy and fulfillment? Or do they hold you back in fear, worry, and negativity?
Beliefs are used in many ways....
- as an excuse for being close-minded
- as a reason for playing "small" and not moving forward
- as the grounds for not conquering fears
- as the basis for living in misery
But we can also use them to turn our lives around when we:
- re-examine our beliefs
- let go of the limiting ones
- establishing new, more life-affirming ones
In reality, a belief is just a thought that we've had over and over and accepted as true.
The good news is that beliefs can be changed.... just like socks. (Okay, it does take a little more effort though :)
Changing our beliefs involves - literally -changing our mind about how we choose to view and experience our self and our world.
Where do our beliefs come from?
"Give me a child for his first 7 years and I'll give you the man."
- Jesuit maxim
Most of our beliefs were established in early childhood from our parents, caregivers, authority figures, and other important people in our lives.
But it's not their fault. (No blaming allowed!) It's just how our brain works.
You see, up until the age of 7-9, our brains are like sponges - soaking up everything around us. Everything we see, hear, and experience - thoughts, words, emotions, actions, nuances, etc. - goes directly into our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is like a gigantic storage unit for our entire life.
At this early age, we haven't yet developed the critical mind filter that enables us to interpret reality from fantasy. So, all input we receive physically, mentally, emotionally, is taken literally as "gospel" truth.
For example, if a child hears, "you're a silly girl" or "son, can't you do anything right" - or any of those phrases we say in teasing or in exasperation - it goes into their subconscious mind/storehouse and depending on the frequency and surrounding situation, and their emotional response to it, it can get ingrained as a belief. (Remember, a belief is a habitual thought that is accepted as true.)
The tricky thing is that because these early "habitual thoughts" become seeded in the subconscious, they are hidden from our conscious mind - at least until something triggers it. Unconscious beliefs are usually triggered by some kind of emotional upset. So the thing to remember when you're in an upset is that it's actually a gift! It's an opportunity to heal.
Next time you have an upset, take some time to delve underneath it and uncover the hidden belief. Here are some questions to get you started:
What are you feeling right now? Sometimes in the middle of an upset you're feeling so many things at once it's hard to sort it all out. Sit down with a paper and pen and list all the different things you feel. Don't judge, just quickly write down everything that comes to your mind. If you've already written it, that's okay. The point is to write fast and get it all out on paper.
After you've made your list, go back through it and highlight or circle any feeling or emotion that stands out of seems particularly intense. Group them into categories or similar types as it makes sense. Make notes about any insights or aha's you have experienced while doing this exercise.
Then, take each feeling group and ask yourself, "When have I felt this before?" Write down those times with as many details as you can remember. Do this for each of your feeling groups.
When you have finished, review everything you've written and look for similarities, patterns, repeats. Make note of any aha's or insights that come. Write a short summary statement about what you have discovered from this process.
Our beliefs - those things we tell ourselves over and over and accept as truth - are the foundation of our lives. Uncovering old, worn-out beliefs that no longer serve us is an important step in our spiritual evolution.
Clearing these limiting beliefs allows us to set new, more empowering ones that will enable us to move forward and create a more joy-filled life.
© 2009 Becky Waters