Beliefs are a CHOICE; they are not something you are born with, writes Sophie Watkins.
It’s important to understand that beliefs are not facts nor are they fixed. They are just a feeling of certainty about what something means to you. Beliefs are a CHOICE. They are not something you are born with. They are something you simply do which are influenced by a thought that you just keep on thinking. You’ve thought it so often that you don't even realize you are thinking it.
These thoughts are usually supported by internal and external references, e.g. media, TV, friends, family, your own personal experiences from the past, as well as your imagination.
Limiting beliefs are incorrect assumptions based on very limited data of how you may have interpreted experiences in which you have generalized and mistaken for reality over time. They are essentially assumptions about ourselves and others and our expectations on how things should or shouldn’t be.
Limiting beliefs can determine how you feel about yourself, how you feel about others, and how you feel about the certain events and circumstances in your life.
So maybe you’re thinking about achieving a particular goal. You start to feel some resistance. For example, you might have a goal to earn an extra $50,000 this financial year.
However, as you’re thinking about this goal, you start to feel uncertain. Maybe you start to notice yourself making excuses, procrastinating, expressing fears, worrying about failure, indulging in negative thoughts. For example: “I can’t.” “I’m not good enough.”
It’s these beliefs that you need to bring into your conscious awareness, as these are the beliefs which are limiting you and holding you back from getting where you are now to where you want to be in life.
The question is… if what we think and believe is all a choice, then why do we choose to carry around beliefs like I’m not good enough, I’m unlovable, I’m unworthy, I’m a failure?
Usually, this is because subconsciously your belief systems have served you with some kind of purpose. They may have protected you from something, which is why you have held onto them for so long. They have had good intentions, normally protecting you from some sort of psychological pain. However, these intentions are often misleading, as they are only protecting you from the short-term pain, which can actually lead to long-term pain.
So it’s important to start asking yourself: “Are these beliefs serving me? Are they helping me or are they hindering me?”
Once you have recognised that these beliefs no longer serve you and are actually hindering you, we need to change them by replacing those limiting beliefs with new empowering beliefs. How liberating it is to know that if we can create them into anything we want, then we can change them into anything we want!
But you can't just expect to do this process and then think you will instantly believe this new belief. It takes hard work, commitment and dedication to completely rewire these neural pathways. You need to condition and strengthen the new belief until it overrides the old one.
If you don’t act upon it, and if your actions and behaviors are not congruent with your new belief, then nothing will change. For example, if you built a belief “I am a confident person”, but then you constantly shy away from new encounters, then you are essentially contradicting and undoing all your hard work.
So it's important to take action and prove your new belief. Look for opportunities and create opportunities that back up and reinforce your new belief.
Some questions you might want to ask yourself are:
- What am I choosing to believe that isn’t serving me?
- What are the long-term negative consequences of holding onto that belief?
- What can I choose to believe instead?
- What kinds of decisions and behaviors could help me strengthen this belief?
- What habits and rituals can I put in place that could help me strengthen this belief?