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Understanding Beliefs

Most people think the outcomes in their lives are created by ability, focus, strategy, goal setting etc.

Of course, such things do play a role as does self esteem, intention, resilience etc.

But, probably the biggest factor is our network of beliefs about ourselves, the world and what is possible.

The most powerful beliefs – positive or negative – are I AM beliefs. These are subconscious – that is to say they quietly run in the background as foundations of our lives,  and include beliefs such as I AM amazing, I AM not good enough, I AM capable of anything, I AM a failure etc.

These beliefs are formed at a young age and are deeply embedded within ourselves. In fact, I AM beliefs make up our sense of identity. So if our beliefs are negative, it is not just that we feel like a failure, or feel not good enough etc but we believe we ARE those things.

But it gets even worse if the beliefs are negative (and sometimes even if they are positive) – one job of the ego is to constantly validate our beliefs. It does this by drawing us into situations, relationships, jobs and people who affirm what we believe deep down. Each time that affirmation happens the belief is strengthened. And therefore, it seems even more believable.

The extraordinary thing is that all beliefs are interpretations and are therefore conceptually created – often without a true basis. At a young age we have no real ability to discern what is true or not.

Once we have a limiting belief we will create a compensatory dynamic. This might include the never ending need to achieve (often the case when the I AM is “not good enough”, people pleasing, dissociation or hiding ourselves.

And unless we have brought our beliefs to light, we may well be baffled about how life keeps turning out. More than probably though, we will see a recurring pattern:

The business man who at first succeeds only then to find his business goes bust, or the initial buzz of a new relationship that becomes abusive, or starting new jobs only to get stuck in stress and a sense of not coping.

I AM beliefs can be difficult to change because our identity is tied up in them, often with hidden benefits – e.g. the victim personality. But they can be changed, and they must be changed if our lives are to work in the way we would like them to. There is nothing more important than changing our beliefs if we wish to find peace and happiness, success and joy.

The first step is to identify our beliefs. There are several things we can do:

  1. Go inside yourself and notice if there is an underlying sense of “something” which always seems to be there and is somehow responsible for all of your problems. Then try and name it.
  2. Notice your habitual feelings and ask yourself which beliefs might be driving those feelings. For example, if there is a mild performance anxiety, ask what do I really believe about myself that leaves me constantly feeling on edge?
  3. Look at the outcomes in your life. Look for patterns – and then ask – if there is a belief trying to prove itself with such outcomes, what is that belief?

Once you have brought those beliefs to conscious awareness, much of the job is done! There are then many approaches that can be used to deeply change or uproot them. This includes conscious inquiry, hypnotherapy and visualization, inner child therapy, handing them over for healing to a higher power and the profound approach of transformational coaching.

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