The power of beliefs and why we should challenge them

Did you ever challenge your beliefs? Because if you haven’t it might be time to start.

I know it seems a bit counterintuitive to challenge your beliefs, after all it’s what makes us, us right? Well, not exactly.

Our beliefs are nothing but a set of ideas that we’ve inserted in our mind and repated them long enough that our sub-conscious mind took them as universal truths. Which they are far from!

And what I want to adress today is our core beliefs.

When do we form our core beliefs?

When we come to this world, we don’t come here with certain set of beliefs. The only thing that matter then is our survival. And we do not care if our parents are tired and moody, poor or rich, loving or emotionally unavailable…all we care about is that they feed us and nurture us.

We grow and start observing and comprehending the world around us. Then take mental notes of the world around us. Observe how people treat each other, how people treat us and we start responding in the same way. Especially when we are little. Because that’s our world. Our nuclear family. We do not question whether our parents and siblings are right or wrong. They are the authority and their love is one of the most important things for us.

Of course we all know that being an adult, does not mean you have things figured out. I would say quite the opposite. And there are so many adults which transfer their beliefs and patterns to their children without thinking whether those beliefs are beneficial for the healthy development of a child. I mean let’s be honest, being a childless adult is hard, imagine being a parent in addition to that.

How do we form beliefs?

Beliefs are formed based on certain ideas that we repeat and confirm for sufficient period of time that they become part of our subconcious mind. It doesn’t even have to be you who is repeating these ideas, they can come from external world. Such as…family for example.

Now let’s say your parents are living in a narcissistic and co-dependant relationship and this is the pattern you observe throughout your growing-up period. The things your parents say to each other, will start representing love to you. And you will go out into the world with the belief, that love is like that.

Or for example, let’s say your father will constantly repeat to you that you are a difficult child. By the time you are, let’s say 5 years old, this will be so deeply ingrained into your core, that it will become your belief.

And you grow up, go into the world of adults, start forming relationships of your own, start your career, create a family, a business. And your beliefs? They are still the beliefs of that 5  year old child!

Change your beliefs, if they don’t serve you

Read that last sentence again: “They are still beliefs of a 5 year old child!”

And you are a 30, 40, 60-something relatively functional adult. But are you though? Because it seems to me that everything has changed in your life, from your body, voice, friends, place of residence and what not…EXCEPT your core belief! I mean even our computers and other devices need an update from time to time. But your beliefs don’t?

Isn’t this crazy?!

When I recently had this insight on one of my sessions, I was so ecstatic. I mean I regularly work with my clients on their values and beliefs, but looking at them (beliefs) from this point of view changes so much! It gives you so much of a deeper and profound perspective doesn’t it?

Imagine an adult who thinks she/he is not worthy of love. And this is based solely on her/his belief. Her/his surrounding is showing different signs. This person has loving friends and family, is respected and successful at work and yet, she/he is not capable to grasp that it is only her/his belief that is preventing her/him to see that there is love around.

And believe me, there are SO many adults like that. We practically live in a world of adults with beliefs that come from their childhood, no wonder we have so much troubles connecting and having healthy relationships.

So the million dollar question is: Why don’t we adjust our beliefs as we grow?

Because nobody taught us that. That’s why. Because beliefs are something that we don’t challenge. Because beliefs are part of our identity. And ego does not like to have us challenge our identity and consequently our beliefs. Even if they are not serving us well.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but it can be done

After having this insight, I started thinking “Ok, I’ve hit a gold mine here. But how do I find a bridge from understanding to implementing?”

We have all heard that first step to change anything is awareness. What I am interested in now is, what concrete steps do we need to take in order to insert new healthier beliefs that will serve us in being a fully functional, healthy adults.

For some people, just understanding the fact that what they’ve believed so far is actually the same as believing in Santa Claus. (sorry if you just found out now, but truth had to be told) is so relieving that they are ready to move on and build new, healthier beliefs which are aligned to what kind of person they want to be.

For other it may take longer. There can be a lot of resistence built in us, when we decide we want to change. We need to make sure, that we are persitent and clear that change is a must and that it’s going to serve us in the future.

Working with resistance starts by discovering where does it come from. We need to go deeper and ask which part of us is resitant to let go of our old self. Because this process can be perceived as death (of the ego). In order to become the best version of yourself, you need to let go of the old self. And who said that’s a bad thing? Remember, it is us who assign meaning to things.

When you find which part of you is resisting, ask it why? For what purpose is it resisting? Is it fear on the unknown? Is it to protect you? From what?

Often you will actually discover that even the resisting part has always our best interest in mind. So it is extremely important that you connect with the part in you that’s resisting and thank that part for protecting you up until now. You need to aknowledge the effort. Because if that’s your inner child who is resisting, it was just doing best to his/her abilities. And what does a child know? You are an adult now and you have so much more wisdom, knowledge and experiences. Take that burden away from the child and re-assure it that things are going to be just fine if she/he lets go.

Challenge your beliefs just like you challenge fake news

Now this is the fun part. Once you do the deep work, you can focus on daily work. Challenging those core beliefs that are not serving you anymore.

Imagine you are reading an article that is confirming your views and beliefs. Do you go and do additional research if what it’s saying is true? Let’s be honest, most of us don’t. At least not all the time. But because the article is only confirming what we already know, we feel good and even endorse it.

Now think about an article that is either written by an author of the opposite opinion or even fake news. Isn’t it true that many times, you’d go that extra mile to find counterarguments, just so that you can prove that author wrong? Well, isn’t that interesting?

Here’s news for you, you are behaving exactly in the same manner when you are picking up confirmations from the outside world which either confirm or go against your beliefs. And if those beliefs are good, then that’s perfectly fine and no harm in that, but if those beliefs are actually not allowing you to live your full potential, well then we have a problem.

There is this thing called cognitive bias which says that we filter our world based on our beliefs. It’s scientifically proven so I’m not making this up. You literally have blind spots for things that do not support your beliefs. And that’s why you should make extra effort to look for those proactively.

If we go back to the example of feeling of unworthiness, your task now is to look for cues that are going to confirm otherwise. Challenge this belief every single day, until you form a healthy belief of “I deserve to be happy.”, “I deserve to be loved.”, “I am enough.”

If you do this for long enough, I guarantee you that you will become a different person. The person that you want to be. The person who understands the power of thoughts and use it for her/his own advantage and growth.

 

Not sure if you can do this on your own or where to start? Book a call with me and let’s discuss possibilities how can I support you on your way to better version of yourself.