What is belief?
Often in life we talk about things without having a clear idea of what they really are. Most people treat belief as if it’s a thing, when really all it is, is a feeling a certainty about something. If you say you believe that you’re intelligent, all you’re really saying is “I feel certain that I’m intelligent”. That sense of certainty allows you to tap into resources that allow you to produce intelligent results. We all have the answers inside of us for virtually anything or at least we have access to the answers we need through others but often our lack of belief of certainty causes us not to be able to use the capacity that resides within us.
Your beliefs are the colored glasses through which you see the world. You interpret everything around you through those lenses.
Everyday life is impossible without holding your own set of beliefs. Just because belief exists silently doesn’t make it less powerful. Most people are guided by belief in the work they do, their religion, loyalty to their family and all kinds of values they hold dearly to themselves. But there’s a problem when your beliefs start to gain the upper hand and get into the driver’s seat.
Your mind is a powerful thing. The stories you tell yourself and the things you believe about yourself can either prevent change from happening or allow new skills to blossom.
Here are many reasons why it can be hard to stick to good habits or develop new skills. But more often than not, the biggest challenge is sitting between your two ears.
Financially: “I’ll never get ahead. Rich people suck. I’ll never get out of debt. I’m not one of those people.” Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Relationships: “I’m not loveable. I’m ugly. I can’t maintain a relationship. I’m not the kind of person who can commit. I can’t find my perfect match. Most marriages end in divorce so why try”?
Physically: “Diets don’t work for me. God meant for me to be fat. Skinny people are shallow. My body wasn’t made for all that exercise. Eating healthy is too much work”.
Emotionally: “I’m just flighty. I’m moody. It’s not safe for me to show my emotions. The healthiest way to deal with emotions is to let them all out as soon as they come up. I don’t have emotions”.
Mentally: “I’m not smart enough to get ahead. Only smart people can do great things. If you’re too smart, people won’t like you. Going back to school is the only way to gain more knowledge”.
Here’s how you can change your beliefs
Identity is Part of a Belief
Suppose that in your negative self-talk there is a thought such as: “I feel like such a loser.” What our mind does with this kind of thought is building a mental story. In a way it plays a very short mental movie. In that movie our mind projects an image of our self as a loser character. That character has one attribute, “Loser”. For that moment of the movie, this is your whole identity. Since it is a version of you based on only one negative attribute it is a completely distorted self-image. In that moment you have no other characteristics, no other history and no other qualities that would make this image accurate. It is a false image, but because the imagination fixates on one attribute and exaggerates it to a whole personality, it is accepted as true in the moment. It also might seem true because it is congruent with emotions you feel in that moment.
This Self Image is a False Identity, but we don’t notice it as a lie.
The part we don’t see of the movie is that it is archived in our sub-conscious memory. Our mind doesn’t give proportional credit to all our other qualities and characteristics. Our mental process isn’t concerned in bringing up all our previous experiences and accomplishments to create a truthful image of our self. Our mind is making a simple movie for the moment in an effort to explain the current emotions. Our mind does not fairly and proportionally balance the “loser” identity with all our other good and generous qualities. When our mind plays the “Loser”, the movie fixes that as our WHOLE identity. It also sees the “Loser” as what we have always been and what we will always be. Whenever we look to those “Loser” moments in our past our memory calls on the “Loser” character to show up in our memory and imagination. Another word for this false self-image of an identity is “Ego.”
By taking something that is a slip up in one moment and exaggerating it, we have turned it into a self-rejecting self-image and will generate lots of emotions every time we think about it. We can also generate feelings unconsciously nor realizing our mind still has it stored as our identity. Your mind doesn’t care that it’s believing a lie. It also doesn’t care that the lie is about something so fundamental as who you are.
IDENTIFY ONE CORE BELIEF AT A TIME
It is unhelpful to rush the process of healing by trying to solve every core belief you’ve identified all at once. Start with the most severe and persistent core belief first. Often you will discover that there is one main core belief that seems to pervade a lot of what you think, feel and do. Target this first.
BELIEVE YOU MATTER
You are important! There is value to your existence. You are a person of worth. It makes a tremendous difference to the world that you exist. There are things you were meant to do and become. It matters that you work to do and become them.
BELIEVE LIFE MATTERS
Not only do you matter, but life itself matters. How you use it therefore matters. What you do to squander the moments or use them to their fullest matters. We are given only one mortal life to discover and fulfill our purpose, to develop our talents, abilities and character, to love and lead and become the best we can be.
BELIEVE YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
You can live a profound life by doing things that are profound. You can add meaning and purpose to life by doing meaningful and purposeful things.
Believe you have the capacity for the great good. You can touch a life and make it better. A simple act of kindness sends a ripple through life that continues to radiate out as others, inspired by you, to do the same.
You look for opportunities to bless others’ lives. You believe that people matter and you take action to serve them. You are a servant-leader. You join organizations that make a difference in the lives of others. You send little ripples of service and kindness out into the world.