You may already know that people used to believe that smoking cigarettes was good for the human body, but did you also know that they once believed it was a good idea to put mercury on anything that ailed them, or that animal dung was a great ointment to smear on cuts and scrapes? And once upon a gruesome time, some of them even believed that eating their enemies would give them magical powers. Can you believe that? Well, probably not (hopefully not), but the point is that somebody used to, and because they did, they behaved very differently than the rest of us.
You truly are wearing belief colored glasses throughout your life. Your beliefs color everything you think, see, say and do. This makes them vital to determining the quality of your life. So it’s worth examining them, but people seldom do. Have you put much thought into your beliefs? Do you know when you formed them, and why? Would it free you, or harm you, to let any of them go?
To create life as you want it to be you might need to change the way you see it. But to best decide what perceptions to change, you should begin with an understanding of how they were formed in the first place. Look to the patterns of your beliefs and how they serve to limit or enhance your life, and you will see behind the scenes of your very existence. Then you can choose for yourself the beliefs you want to keep, and learn to discard the ones you would be better off without, so you can experience the best possible version of your life. It’s a simple process that reaps great rewards. To get started, let’s examine how beliefs are created.
“Whether you think you can or can’t either way you are right.”
– Henry Ford
The Formation of Belief
If you were to view the world from the perspective of fluent energy, rather than as solid and physical, you would see thoughts as things. This is because thoughts, like everything else in the known universe, are made of energy. More specifically, thoughts are impulses of energy that are arranged by, and broadcast from, the mind. They can affect the flow of energy movement and thus alter the constructs of reality.
Beliefs are formed through the repetition of thought. You can say that they are patterns of thought energy. What this means is that the more you think thoughts that are alike, the more your psyche recognizes and organizes them, eventually forming a pattern you recognize as belief. Most of your belief patterns are learned by way of interaction and observation of others. The groups you belong to, the family you come from and the experiences you have all play a part in the formation of your beliefs.
Each thought is unique in its frequency, which is determined by the state of the mind from which it was formed. For example, an unhealthy mind will form negative, low-frequency thoughts, such as those that define all others as untrustworthy. When similar thoughts have been repeated by the mind over a period of time, they eventually cause the formation of a belief. In this example, the holder will eventually believe that all people are untrustworthy when he amasses enough thoughts to train in his mind to form that as a pattern. The belief will begin to affect his life experience as he views everything through the pattern, and it will remain as long the pattern goes unexamined and unchallenged in his mind.
You have been forming and collecting beliefs your entire life. You have beliefs about who you are, where you live, what you should do, think, eat, say, and feel. You have beliefs about other people, your environment, the world, the meaning of it all and how it operates. Everything that exists in your life is here because it is backed by a belief that you hold. There are no exceptions.
“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I shall have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Belief as limits and boundaries
Without beliefs, everything in your world would appear as one, united experience, leaving you no way to differentiate yourself from the environment. You would not be able comprehend time and space without it. Actually, you would not know boundaries of any kind without it. So belief is essential to the human experience, but it can also be a detriment if it works against your growth by confining you, keeping you stuck, diminishing or frightening you in any way.
For example, if you truly believe you cannot do something, there is no chance that you ever will. This is not a bad thing when you are taking about the belief that you can fly, but if you believe you aren’t smart enough for college, or good enough for a promotion, belief can hold you back unnecessarily. What you believe is the ultimate determinant of your limitations.
Beliefs are also limiting in that they tend to be too exacting, which lends a dualistic quality to personal perspective. We use them as a framework to judge, deeming people and events as either right or wrong, or good or bad, according to how they adhere to our system. This can categorize or alienate you amongst others. Beliefs that force judgment are as polarizing as they are useless.
Beliefs held too rigidly can also be dangerous. Clinging to a belief may cause you to end up defending it beyond reason. One need only look to the daily news to find countless examples of people causing great harm to others for no other reason but to defend their beliefs. This is why it is beneficial to scrutinize your own belief system regularly. If we all did this, and we could see where our beliefs are working against us and humanity, we could then work to expand our beliefs in a way that accommodates everyone peacefully.
Beliefs are not set in stone, and in fact they serve you better if you can be flexible and allow them room to expand and enhance the way you view the world. It isn’t difficult to alter or change your beliefs. It only takes a little reflection and decision to shift the way you see things – which in turn will expand and alter the structure of your beliefs.
Expansion of Belief
Because they provide the framework for who you are and how your reality presents itself, you cannot grow unless you expand the framework of your beliefs. To do this, you must examine what your current beliefs are and how they are shaping your life. Once you can pinpoint the belief or beliefs you have that you want to release, and those you wish to enhance, you can then engage in the process of dismantling or expanding them as you choose.
Your conscious mind is myopic; it is only able to focus on one thing at a time, but your subconscious mind always sees everything as whole. It does not know polarity. This means that for every belief you have, your subconscious mind also holds on to its opposite counterpart. This is good news if you are seeking to release a negative belief, because it means that you already have access to its positive counterpart without the requirement of any additional effort necessary to create a new one. By focusing on the inverse aspect of your belief, you can lessen its hold on your mind and in turn transform your current life parameters.
You get to choose whether you want to view the world negatively, or positively, or any way at all, and that choice will direct the focus of your thoughts. This is true for any thought, idea, or belief you may possibly hold. Everything you believe has an opposite counterpart, because everything that exists, exists as a whole. The universe, and all it encompasses, is whole. It is the mind that divides.
When we simply forget to believe, our limits vanish on their own. To help you understand how this works, think of a time when you were scared to start something new, but then once you did your fear left you. Why? Because you became so engrossed in what you were doing you forgot to be afraid. You redirected your mind from focusing on the fear, and suddenly your belief that it was scary lost its power over you. Beliefs only have power if you are aware of them.
“The things always happen that you believe in, and the belief in the things is what makes it happen.” –Frank Lloyd Wright
How to Dismantle or Upgrade a Belief
If you are unsure about what, if any, beliefs you have that may need an upgrade, there are some signs to guide you. Limits often present themselves negatively. Any belief that starts with the following phrases may highlight a limiting belief for you, and they are:
- I can’t
- I don’t
- I am not
- I never
- I must not
- They don’t
- They can’t
- They won’t
- They never
For further illustration, some of the most common limiting beliefs are; I’m not good enough, I can’t do it, they won’t accept me, I will never have enough, life is not meant to be happy, life is not fair, people don’t like me, I am not strong, beautiful, smart, rich enough, it will never work, I am not worthy, it’s too late, and so on.
The key to dismantling a belief is break it down in your mind. One way to do this it to reiterate its counterpart to yourself. Make a mantra and repeat it to yourself regularly. For example, if you catch yourself thinking that that you aren’t smart enough, change the thought to the opposite, such as, “I am intelligent”. Reinforce it in your mind with repetition, and eventually a new pattern of belief will form.
It’s also beneficial to use your imagination to explore what it would be like to believe the opposite of your limiting belief. Imagine what changes might occur in your life if you were to shift. Pay attention to others who may be living life in a way that is free from the limiting belief you have. Think about what they must believe to allow them to live that way, or have that thing, that you do not. Understand that everything you are aware of is a possibility for you, too. This means that if it’s true for others, it can also be true for you.
And finally, use your reasoning to examine whether the beliefs you hold are necessary for you anymore, and whether or not they still hold true for you. Sometimes your life experience may cause you to question the way you usually see things, and sometimes it changes it. When this happens, your beliefs change too. You might be used to thinking that you see things one way, without realizing that you actually don’t see it that way anymore. In this case, your beliefs may need some examination and alteration. Awareness of this can provide you with a better foundation to make future life choices.
Alignment of Belief for a Positive Future
The more aligned your beliefs are to your truth, the easier they are to maintain. Holding onto a belief that no longer agrees with your personal integrity takes energy from you that you may not even realize you are expending. You’ll know it only as a feeling that something is off. You may feel worn out, tired, dishonest, slightly weakened, sick or even phony. But if you let go, or alter, the negative belief, you will free life force energy for you to use for other things. This allows you a new momentum to propel you forward onto a more positive life path of your choosing.
When you are living in alignment with beliefs that match your highest potential, you will feel energized, excited, and vibrant. Life will flow in a smoother fashion, doors of opportunity will open for you, experiences will uplift you, and life will present in a more colorful and meaningful way. You just have to do the work from time to time. You have to occasionally check-in with yourself and make sure what you are telling yourself is true, always with the understanding that it is you who gets to choose the quality of your life experience. By upgrading your beliefs to a positive perspective, you upgrade the quality of your life.
If you are still unconvinced that belief affects reality, think about invention. Why did primitive man create the first wheel? Was it a mistake, or did he do it because he had the belief it was possible? What about the first time the Wright brothers flew a plane? Could they have done that if they didn’t stretch their beliefs to the possibility of it? Would we have medicine, electricity, transportation, education, farming, or even housing without belief? Probably not. Without belief, we would only be able to progress by accident rather than by idea. In fact, our growth would be so slow that we would probably still be in the dark ages.
Beliefs are not fixed rules that you must adhere to; they are simply a decision about the way you see things. They are flexible, adaptable decisions you create to form structure to your world. And while many beliefs are shared, the combination of beliefs you hold are unique to you. This is what makes them such a great tool for directing your own experiences. Your beliefs are directing your life regardless of whether you are aware of it or not. If you don’t work with them, they will eventually send you in a direction you may not want to go, or keep you stuck in a place you do not wish to be. However if you invest the time to work with your beliefs, you can align your life to your truth, expand your boundaries, and boost yourself to new heights. You can believe the unbelievable, and make the impossible possible. It’s up to you.