If you wish to change your life, you must know your predominant beliefs and feelings about yourself, because you cannot change what you’re unconscious of.
One must take an inventory of their principal beliefs and examine them often if they wish to create a life replete with meaning and purpose.
Transformation requires letting go of outdated thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors not conducive to the life you wish to live.
It requires letting go of what no longer serves your desired future.
Author and creator of Belief Re-patterning: The Amazing Technique for “Flipping the Switch” to Positive Thoughts Suze Casey explains how beliefs are formed: “A belief is a thought that is repeated so frequently and with sufficient emotion attached to it that you accept it as reality.”
Consider the following analogy: If you are moving overseas and intend to take your entire belongings with you, it might not serve you economically. It is easier to leave behind non-essential items that can be purchased once you arrive at your destination.
To relate it to human behavior, many people are unwilling to let go of their thoughts and beliefs, yet want a better life. They are reluctant to let go of their baggage, whether in the form of thoughts, beliefs or behaviors.
It’s impossible to create a new life when you carry the remnants of the past with you, particularly if it has not served you. This is when an emotional crisis takes place, with the falling away of your former life to give way to a new life.
Many people hold to their beliefs with conviction and are unwilling to examine them. Most times, the beliefs were formed during an impressionable period when they were young or in their teenage years.
Therefore, it’s vital to renew your beliefs to correspond to the life you wish to live.
Your beliefs influence reality because what you hold in mind whether it is conscious or unconscious will be reflected in your life.
Growing up, I experienced limiting beliefs related to my worthiness, because of an over-disciplined father who insisted nothing I did was good enough.
I later formed the belief: “I am not good enough,” since I recall hearing this echoed while growing up.
Since I wasn’t self-aware at that age, I realized later those beliefs were those my father imposed on me. I believed I wasn’t good enough and developed low self-esteem while trying to appease him. It took years of contemplative self-examination to work through these beliefs.
Many people carry similar beliefs because, like me, they accept the narrative dictated by their childhood experiences and find it difficult to rewrite a new story.
This narrative is held together so tightly and given life over the years.
Vishen Lakhiani writes in The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms that beliefs are ingrained in us from a young age and kept alive: “Our beliefs about the world and our systems for functioning in the world are all embedded in us through the flow and progression of culture from the minds of the people around us into our baby brains.”
“But there’s just one problem. Many of these beliefs and systems are dysfunctional, and while the intention is that these ideas should guide us, in reality, they keep us locked into lives far more limited than what we’re truly capable of.”
The one thing I realized from exploring my beliefs is that they are always fictional. Most times, they are distorted based on my interpretation of events.
For example, recall my earlier belief in my father’s statement: “Nothing I do is ever good enough?” I interpreted this to mean: “I am not good enough.”
The mind is notorious for distorting events and this is why you should examine your beliefs to know if they are true. You wouldn’t sign a contract on a lease that is fifty years old, because times have changed. The lease must reflect the current times.
The same is true of beliefs. Many people seldom renew the contract with themselves. And when they do, it’s often too late in the game to help them.
In most instances, when a belief has formed the events surrounding it are real. Nonetheless, it’s important to examine and update the beliefs as your living conditions change.
Similarly, your beliefs about yourself relate to the relationship you have with yourself. In my case, I felt unworthy as a teenager and young adult because of the belief I reinforced throughout my life.
This was reflected through my relationships with others whether personal, professional or intimate. Life was manifesting what I held at the level of my thoughts.
It requires courage, discipline, and patience to work through your beliefs. This entails revisiting old memories and past hurts and looking at them through the lens of the person you are now.
If you are in pain now and look back on your past through the lens of hurt and suffering, you will bring more pain and suffering into the present moment.
You must investigate your beliefs at a deeper level while looking for the greater lesson within those experiences.
In my case, my self-esteem issues related to developing stronger self-worth and learning to love and accept myself.
I came to appreciate the wholeness of my being and rewrote the karmic script of my past. I realized my beliefs of unworthiness were pointing me towards self-love and compassion.
This is the narrative of your life story and each of us has a different theme that interweaves itself throughout our life.
Your task is not to fight it, but to uncover the truth buried within the rubble of confusion.
Any time you create a distorted belief at an impressionable period of your life and carry it through adulthood, it will grow stronger.
It’s imperative to challenge the belief to see whether there’s any truth contained in that narrative.
Author and psychologist Rick Hanson explains in Resilient: 12 Tools For Transforming Everyday Experiences Into Lasting Happiness how to investigate your beliefs: “Challenge beliefs that are exaggerated or untrue by thinking of reasons why they are wrong. Try to see the big picture. Whatever has happened is probably a short chapter in the long book of your life.”
To be intentionally aware means to shift the spotlight onto your beliefs and expose them through an inquisitive mind, instead of a mind caught up in pain and suffering.
You must be willing to probe and investigate your beliefs to examine the undercurrent that supports them.
Otherwise, like a dam held together by rotten wood, they will give way so the water overflows. This is what many people experience and call it a midlife crisis.
Beneath the crisis, repressed beliefs and disempowering emotions have been brewing until the mind-body cannot take it any longer and it comes gushing out.
If your beliefs about yourself are less than uplifting and vested in self-love, it is a call to connect with the part of you that seeks to be healed.
Transformation does not mean you are broken. I’ve repeated this message often in articles because it’s important to understand.
Transformation means integrating the fractured parts of your psyche into the wholeness of your character.
Only then will you come to realize the beliefs and feelings about yourself are no less than pure love and joy.