What is a belief?
A belief or pre-conceived idea is a collection of thoughts around a subject, an event, a fact, an opinion.
It can become a belief when we have persistent thoughts, or set of thoughts, that we keep thinking. It is not just the thoughts alone - it is the meaning we have given to them. It has been backed up by experiences and often biases to reinforce it. Then it has become a habit.
We create preconceived ideas and beliefs in and about almost everything and they can be conscious or sub conscious, so we may not realise it is our view of something.
When we come to recognise one of our beliefs (and make them conscious) we may well think it is a recognition of the truth. It is therefore OUR truth; something we believe to be true based upon life experiences or our outlook of the world. The belief is the way in which we have experienced life and because we believe it to be correct we have then reinforced it - by experiencing it and seeing it in action.
How are beliefs formed?
Most of our beliefs are formed during the first 6-7 years of our lives. At this stage we are in download and programming stage (theta waves) - taking in information and processing it subconsciously. We give meaning to events which become the formation of a belief. This is very useful at the time - to make sense of life. However we are young and inexperienced, yet we then practice and repeatedly experience life through these sets of thoughts. Generally we are holding onto these thoughts for a long long time (as so many of them are subconscious).
Some beliefs are inherited - borrowed - from those around us. Family - initially our parents - and those close to us. As life begins to expand so does the people we look to and accept meaning from. Confidence in an idea comes from those we trust or those with authority (still subconsciously and consciously).
Beliefs have come from a good place - to protect us and help us make sense of the world - because as humans we have a survival instinct. We have created them either from a state of fear or a state of love.
Often we have formed our beliefs through dramatic experiences or defining moments that we have had at points in our lives.
As they are, to us, a recognition of the truth then to change our belief is to deny our truth. We perceive this as denying THE truth. However it should be remembered that beliefs are choices and choices can be changed.
Are beliefs helpful? Do we need to change our beliefs?
Given that we are unaware of many of our beliefs and we may be functioning very well, it is plausible to question if we need to uncover them.
As our beliefs drive our emotions, and it is these emotions that affect our attitude/behaviours/actions - which then produces our results - it is valid therefore to look at our results.
Our results are therefore a reflection of what is happening inside of us. If we are getting results we do not like, then we have an 'incorrect' belief and we should question it.
Remember - beliefs were set up to serve us and make sense of our world. However they may not continue to do so. Today they can have become empowering or dis-empowering. If we are producing negative results then the belief cannot be a positive belief for us.
Therefore beliefs can be helpful or unhelpful. If they are unhelpful for us today then it is worth changing them.
How do we change beliefs?
When we have results, from our behaviours, that we are no longer happy with then we are at the beginning stages of creating the awareness of what the belief is.
We first need to ask - do we want to change it. If we have decided we want to change the results then it becomes essential to change the belief that leads to those results.
The next things we need to ask is what we want to change it to.
If we focus on the new result that we want then it would be prudent to ask what belief would up hold that result.
As beliefs have come from our thoughts, if we can release the thought, and the state or emotions attached to it, then we can release the belief.
That means we need to challenge our thoughts. Only once we have challenged our current thoughts can we change them. For example: We do not want to make a mistake as we may be judged by others, which means they may reject us. If we are rejected, and therefore not loved, then we have to leave the 'tribe'. Being isolated from the pack or tribe then means our chances of survival are slim. This would be a subconscious thought process that we need to challenge today.
1. First we write down what our current beliefs are.
What is the belief we want to change - check what results in our life is not as we wish.
Then uncover the belief behind it. The blockage is usually a belief. What is the belief? We will need to make a conscious decision based on what we know now - start with “I believe ‘x’ therefore.....”
2. Make a decision that you want to change it. You want a different result therefore you must accept that you need to let go of the current belief. Usually we know this really but we feel stuck.
What do we want to replace it with - decide the new result that we would like. What is our goal? We can choose the new state we wish to live in.
3. Challenging the belief with opposing facts and evidence can help. We need to decide to invest in the new belief and emotions . If a belief has come from a thought then we just need to change the thoughts and the states/emotions attached to them . We can do this by changing and challenging the perspective that we hold or have been holding until now. We have the choice, so we can create a new story - one that is empowering. We can also borrow and take on others' thoughts - we don't have to create them ourselves.
4. The process to change it - we have choices as to the method we can use. For example Meditation/visualisation/ hypnosis/EMDR. These all involve going back into our past and finding where the belief was set up. In NLP it is called Timeline Therapy. To find the underlying event and cause that is within your subconscious and the negative emotions linked to it. Once we have gone back in the past we can come back to the present day. We wish to create different emotions from those linked to the initial significant event.
Alternatively, we may decide that we don't need to know how and why it originated. Simply knowing that we have the belief and making a choice and decision to change it is what is important to us. So you can use techniques that simply start from the present day and address the thoughts, beliefs, emotions and results now. This can be done by changing our perspective and meaning on the event. This is a conscious decision. You will see your emotions/ attitude change and in return different results. We may require help and research to assist with this. Remember we can adopt others' thoughts - who do you know who has thoughts that are empowering them. How do they think, what do they think of as true. You may need to actively decide on what emotion you may want with the new thoughts in order to back them up.
When we want to change the meaning we assign to something we may decide to change it to an internal reference. If we can do this then we are holding the power. If we find we are using external references then we may well need to rephrase it. Through this method we are replacing it with another more effective belief.
5. Practice the new belief until it becomes a habit. If a belief is a thought/perspective practiced until it’s become habit then it’s logical that we require constant repetition of a new idea to make this a habit. Take Action. Repeat until 'fixed' - until it becomes the new normal. By starting to read an article like this we can realise that you have some desire and motivation. This motivation can be built on to create the desire to help you to take action. Now focus on the result. New experiences then help to reinforce and continually challenge the old belief. This becomes our download of the new programme. Repetition of new belief and it’s experiences will reinforce it. We have changed the instructions for the subconscious. It takes 68 days for autonomy of a new habit.
Beliefs were formed mostly when we are young and in a download stage (theta waves). They were set up for our protection and survival. When we are not getting results that we want in life we must upgrade/update those beliefs. We do this by deciding what we want to change them to and then creating new habits to create new updated outcomes and experienced. Depending on the level of the emotional attachment you may need a coach to assist you with this change. Remember - habits take time.