What Is A Belief?
“Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.”
How Beliefs Are Formed
We have hundreds and thousands of thoughts going through our minds but a belief is a thought you have made to be real or you have accepted to be true. Beliefs are not based on fact, they are formed during our childhood and our formative years and come from subjective thoughts, generalisations, distortions, deletions, other people’s perceptions, about ourselves and the external world. So when we are adults, we see things, not as IT is, but as WE are. So in fact, our experiences are based on beliefs which are in reality other people’s perceptions, and our own generalisations which we have adopted while we are growing up.
These beliefs, both positive and self-limiting, then affect our behaviours in our life. Beliefs become our mental filters with which we interpret the external world.
How A Child May Form A Limiting Self-Belief
Consider how a child could create a limiting self-belief:
Events happen all the time
e.g. Mummy doesn’t give the child a hug when they wanted/needed one.
Energy follows thought
e.g. Child may get a sensation in their tummy (butterflies) or legs may feel weak, eyes may sting.
Thought is perception
Perceptions can be wrong, which turns them into belief (or ‘inner truths’)
As a child, we have created a whole belief system both consciously and unconsciously. However these outdated beliefs are totally inappropriate for succeeding in the real world as adults. So the adult with an outdated childhood belief that they are not good enough will show up in their behaviours which will make the belief true so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As adults, we can choose to continue with the limiting belief or we can choose to think differently by using “positive affirmations” which are short positive statements targeted at a specific subconscious set of beliefs to challenge and undermine negative beliefs and to replace them with positive self-nurturing ones. We can begin to change the rules for our life because we know what we want better than anyone else.
In The Words Of Gandhi…
Our Beliefs become our Thoughts,
Our Thoughts become our Words,
Our Words become our Habits
Our Habits become our Values
Our Values become our Destiny
This highlights the importance of beliefs as being the first part of this sequence of events.
What’s Up Next?
Next up, on the theme of Emotional Literacy, I will be discussing how to manage emotions. For the next few weeks I will focus on different emotions and next week will be sadness. If you have anything specific you would like answered please get in touch before next week and I will include it in the next blog.