“Whatever you believe, with feeling becomes your reality” – Tony Robbins
Our beliefs act like filters on a camera through which we view life. They determine our motivation – what we pay attention to- the level of clarity with which we evaluate experiences, our perspectives on events and the colouring of our interpretations – seeing life in a grey scale or with a mixture of possibilities.
But beliefs are more than just filters. They are active influencers. In a subconscious process, they draw into your life situations that confirm the beliefs you hold about yourself and others. This is fixed by the fact that the subconscious mind works with ‘pattern recognition’ and runs its established programs over and over. For example:
- Security: The world is a dangerous place; I can’t cope when things go wrong…
Performance: I am stupid; I can’t get anything right; Nobody will like what I do; I have no options; I will be rejected unless I do everything perfectly…
- Love: People always leave me; I am not loveable; I don’t deserve love …
The above examples list only negative beliefs, but of course you also hold many positive ones that help steer you through life with grace and ease.
So to free yourself from negative beliefs, which are holding you back and your progression in life, you should start with the below steps:
- Identify your beliefs.
Beliefs are so much part of your everyday experience, be the detective in your own life. Go up on the highest imaginary mountain and take a view of the patterns in your life and ask yourself:
What belief or expectation is pulling the strings and setting the rules here? What theme am I re-enacting time and time again?
- Question your rules.
Beliefs are like blueprints, they determine the ‘rules’ for how to live, your behaviour, choices and actions. They are also evident in how you think and what you tell yourself: I should; I shouldn’t (who decided that?); I am …; (who made those rules! how did you learn to think in terms of cause and negative effect?), I can’t (who is the judge?);
- Recognise the patterns.
Whenever you find recurring problems in your life, they are likely sustained by some core beliefs embedded in you since young age. For example, in social meetings you may be an outsider, never quite fitting in no matter what you do. Or you find yourself in the same kind of relationship – different partner, same issues, and same drama. What would you have to believe in order to enact such repetitive scenarios?
Review the problem in each situation and look for a common theme in them. For example, the above examples are driven by the beliefs: I am different; I am not worthy of love; I am inferior.
Be the investigator in your own life. Recognise the patterns in your life and ask yourself: What belief is setting the rules here? What theme am I recreating time and time again?
- Rewrite your beliefs.
Make a ‘Greatest Hits’ list of your own problematic beliefs. Put them into groups if they follow a theme but deal with each one separately.
Examine the evidence.
Is the belief absolutely true?
What is the origin of the belief?
How did I learn to have this belief?
Is the belief still relevant to the person I am now and the life I wish to live?
What benefit would I gain if I gave it up? You will feel better about yourself and your life prospects; You will be more open to new experiences …
Once you have examined and challenged your existing belief, think of a more realistic statement and formulate new rules. For example:
Old belief: I am lesser to others
New belief: Like everyone else I have positive and challenging characteristics.
Old rule: I have to accept a life partner even if he does not value me or I will end up alone.
New rule: I will only accept a partner who treats me with respect. I will aim for a real positive partnership.
Visualisation techniques can be used to heal old painful feelings, as well as replacing negative beliefs with more realistic ones:
Identify precise experiences which contributed to the negative core beliefs you now hold. Then imagine your adult self-visiting yourself as a child during those times. You see Your subconscious mind does not distinguish between actual experience or dreams. The person you were then is just as present as yourself now. So whatever new advice you give your younger self in your mind, will be managed and kept by your subconscious mind as if it really happened.
You may have to repeat the process in order to change other beliefs. But while the actions of the past cannot be changed, the beliefs formed at that time and still controlling your life can.
- Act as if your new beliefs are true
Writing a new belief script is very important. But it does not yet provide the energy for change. You need to take action and manifest the new belief in your life. If you feel unsure, remember the saying, If you can’t make it, fake it! Basically, practise to be the person you want to be even if at first it doesn’t feel like you at all. By adopting a new understanding of who you are and going beyond your comfort zone into new zone you will redefine yourself and reshape your life!