Beliefs are perceptual filters and inner evaluations about what we consider possible or impossible, they concern the deeper structure of our mind, and are usually unconscious.
They influence our behaviours and tend to lead to self-fulfilling prophecies, or results that increase the validity of beliefs we already have.
This is true for both limiting or empowering beliefs.
Most beliefs are generalizations, and changing limiting beliefs is challenging for many of us because we have experienced convincing "evidence" that supports the 'truth' of the belief we hold.
Some belief examples are:
If I enjoy myself, I will not be successful and make money.
I can't be happy as long as I don't have the life style I wish to live.
If I don't give people what they want, they will not like me.
Every time I take a risk, I get hurt or something goes wrong.
When I speak about what I want, I will be rejected.
It's dangerous to let someone else come too close.
I have to take care of others, because that's how they pay attention.
So beliefs are:
- Often Unconscious
We usually do not have awareness of what our held beliefs and convictions are.
We form conclusions around events in our life and create meaning through our beliefs.
Beliefs are usually generalizations, and tend to not be questioned.
- Cause-Effect Statements
Beliefs are usually cause-effect statements, in the form X leads to Y, or X causes Y.
When we identify with a thought, we believe in being that thought and forget the space around the thought.
- Rigid and Categorical
Beliefs often express themselves in either-or thinking, and do not leave room for exceptions.
When working with beliefs, it is important to be open and be willing to let go of the certainty we have around beliefs. The beliefs we hold form part of our sense of self, and changing them, requires motivation to know what is true, and an inquiring attitude towards the conclusions we have come to take as 'real'.
What are some beliefs you have in yourself? What is right about holding on to these beliefs?