In this moment think about all the beliefs you hold; what you believe about yourself, of those around you and the wider world. Consider how those beliefs influence how you think, feel and behave. Beliefs are our current thinking, judgements and evaluations about ourselves, other people and the world generally. They can empower or dis-empower, and they can have different strengths leading us to believe that they are true or considered to be facts.
We are not born with a set of beliefs; we acquire them as we grow up and interact with the world. As children we take many of our beliefs from our parents. As we mature, we are influenced by our peers – our friends or work colleagues. Authority figures - religious institutions, the law or teachers within the education system can have an influence either directly or indirectly. Think about the power of the media, be it on TV through both factual programmes, reality TV or fictional shows or through newspapers with the stories they report, or more often don’t report. The music we listen to can also influence how we feel about ourselves or others. And then there is social media and how this impacts upon our beliefs. All are trying to influence our thinking and behaviour, for us to pass judgement or for us to make a decision about what they are showing us, so that we act in a way they want. Consider our environment and the time period we are living in. Where we live, spend our time, these shapes our beliefs as does our previous experiences. The influences are endless, sometimes they are obvious but often they are subtle, we’re not always fully aware just how much or the impact they can have. Sometimes we challenge them, but not as often as we perhaps should.
But are the beliefs we hold real, in the sense that they are true or facts? And might this question have an impact upon what we think, feel and how we behave? How might it affect what we do or don't do in the future?
Let’s take a look at previously held beliefs which have influenced people's behaviour and then the outcomes they achieved. It was once considered that the Earth was flat, if you sailed to the end of the ocean your ship would fall off the edge and everyone would die. Then Christopher Columbus set sail to the new world, realised it wasn't. and then everyone began to sail around the world. (I know there is a current movement that still believes the Earth is flat, they clearly haven’t tested it out.)
Or what about the belief that you couldn’t run a mile in under four minutes, doctors said to do so would cause a heart attack so no one risked it until Roger Bannister did it, quickly followed by many other people then running a mile in under 4 minutes to the point that amongst runners it is no big deal.
Our beliefs influence how we perceive the world, other people, ourselves and our capabilities, they influence what action we take or don’t take, and they influence how we think.
A belief is real until someone or something proves it isn't. Then it changes how we think, what we are capable of, what we can become and the things we can achieve.
Of the beliefs you hold, how many of them are ones which limit the way you live, holding you back from making choices, doing things, being the person you want to be?
Have you ever said or thought any of these statements. I can’t do it, nobody likes me, I feel nobody loves me, it’s not fair, I'll never get another job, I am a failure, I’m not good enough and so on and so on? I’m sure you get the gist. These are limiting beliefs; they keep you in your comfort zone and they are not serving you.
(If you want to know more about comfort zones, check out one of my previous blog post,
I Know What It Feels Like When You’re Stuck In a Rut)
A limiting belief can only hold you back if you give it the power to do so, take control and reframe your limiting beliefs into empowering, positive statements.
Here are some examples:
Think about all your limiting beliefs, sometimes writing them down helps and gives you a different perspective, reframe all of them in order to help you move out of your comfort zone and move forward. And if you're sat there thinking it's all woo-woo-ra-ra, ask yourself this, why am I so eager to believe my limiting beliefs are true but unwilling to accept a more positive belief which serves me in the way I want and helps me achieve my goals?
Beliefs are not necessarily real, but they do create reality. So, what's your reality right now?