Beliefs Will Hinder or Promote Change
You want to make changes in your life and move toward your potential. As a potential-focused coach I guide others to see that the most important thing they can do for transformation and to move toward their potential in life is to GO WITHIN to connect back to their INNER SELF. The INNER SELF connection releases the expectations, judgments and beliefs of others and instead you connect internally, healing wounds and getting back in alignment with your heart and your intuitive side. I believe we are all here with our own special talents and gifts that we may be able to offer the world while simultaneously allowing us to live more joyful and peaceful lives. Unfortunately, many of us are not engaging in those talents and instead operating by others’ expectations and beliefs of what is right for us. When we are living connected to our INNER SELF we are allowing our talents and gifts to flow naturally, and in return, offering more to the world than what we do when living a life based on what others’ believe is best for us. When we stifle what we are able to bring to this world we are limiting how great the world can be. Connecting back to your Inner Self may take many forms. One of the ways you can go within and make internal changes that change your external world is beliefs.
So you are hoping to see a change in your life. You ultimately want to do something that creates a change in one or more areas of your life, like career, romantic relationships, friends, family, health, wealth, and so on. Most likely you focus on external things to make those changes. Fill out a bunch of applications, network with all of the right people, go on a dating site, get more involved in activities to meet people, workout and eat the right foods and so on. When you do this you are engaging in external actions to bring change. You can be engaged in these external activities, but still make no true change if you do not make any internal changes. No matter what happens when you are trying to change, if the internal aspect is ignored, then you will most likely slide back to where you were before the change and experience similar things over and over. For that reason, one of the internal techniques I suggest for you to incorporate into your life is to start paying attention to your beliefs. They may hinder you, preventing you from making the change in your life or even allowing the change to fully happen, or they may promote the change in your life. This is what you want. Beliefs that will promote your change.
What are beliefs? Beliefs are created from our experiences and many times are what others have accepted as truth and what they end up telling you. Often this happens when you are young. The thoughts and feelings that are experienced over and over become your beliefs. They continue to be validated based on how our minds operate. Beliefs will generally come from a subconscious level and you will make decisions and engage in behaviors that perpetuate those beliefs. For example, say you didn’t believe that you were smart enough to go to college, then your behaviors might be that you don’t even try to get better grades in school or you won’t apply to college.
How are beliefs truly influencing your life? Two big psychology terms are worth mentioning to illustrate how beliefs will dictate behaviors, confirmation bias and belief perseverance. Confirmation bias is the term used to describe how we tend to disregard information that doesn’t align with our beliefs and only recognize information that does align with our beliefs. If you have a belief that people always treat you poorly, then you will only remember incidents where others treat you poorly and forget about or not even recognize when others are treating you well. You can see that the way our mind works, this is limiting. If you feel this way, then you may behave in a way to sustain this type of behavior. People will treat you poorly, so why treat people with respect in the first place. Further, it wouldn’t matter when people are treating you well, you will only recall those poor engagements, validating over and over for you and influencing your behavior with others. Belief perseverance is when you are given new information that would refute your belief, but you disregard it since it doesn’t align with your belief. This is why it can be difficult to change beliefs, but being aware of how your mind works will help you make these changes.
Beliefs stop people from change. Say you want to bring in a really nice loving person into your life, but if someone asked you about your dating life, you would tell them “I never meet anyone nice, they always end up being..” You can fill in your own expletives. Good luck bringing in someone who is nice and loving, you don’t believe they exist. As mentioned before, based on how persistent beliefs tend to be, you won’t be able to even recognize if you do meet a nice and loving person.
If you want something to change, you are going to need to take a look at your beliefs and make sure they are promoting that change. I offer an exercise for you to do that will help you move toward understanding your beliefs better. Grab something to write with. Take a few minutes to think about something you would like to change and write it down.
Now write the beliefs you have about this area of your life. Jot down things that you say or think regarding this area. Something that you truly tell yourself and it invokes some sort of feeling. For instance, say you want to change your career. What comes to mind when you start to think about changing careers. What do you think of when considering what a career change requires? What do you tell yourself about the whole process? Maybe you believe that a different career would suit you better, but you are too old to start something new and that elicits feelings of being tired and anxiety for the amount of work you would have to do. If you are having trouble coming up with your beliefs, you can also figure out your beliefs by thinking about others when they say they are going to change careers, what pops in your head? Write what comes to your mind. It might take a while to think of it. This activity is good, even if it just gets you to start to think about your beliefs. This is not always easy, you may have to come back to it.
Here is one of my examples. The first two semesters of my masters of psychology program, I was a teacher’s assistant which paid for my semesters and gave me a stipend. We were only able to apply for a teaching assistantship for the first three semesters of the program. The third semester was coming up and I was planning on applying, but one of the professors mentioned that I would most likely not get the third semester. That it was not a normal practice for a student to be given the position after having received it for the first full year. When the professor said that to me, my beliefs of not taking things from others and that I don’t deserve to receive this, came to the surface. The feelings surrounding it were insecurities and fear. For those reasons, I didn’t even apply. During the third semester I was told that they would have given me one of the two teaching assistantship positions if I applied. It wasn’t necessarily what the professor said to me, it was my beliefs that were elicited from what the professor said, which resulted in my behaviors. I missed out on that final semester opportunity from beliefs that were hindering me, not promoting me. What I should have done was disregard the professor and question the beliefs that popped into my head. They were not positively driving my behaviors to benefit my potential and needed to be replaced.
Now that you have the area you wish to change and you wrote out your beliefs take the next few minutes and create two columns. One for hindering beliefs and one for promoting beliefs. Place the beliefs that you came up with in the appropriate columns. Next, if you have any beliefs that would hinder your change, create a counter belief that would replace your hindering belief with one that promotes your change.
Now, let go of the old belief. Literally say "I release this old belief." If this old belief creeps up and you notice yourself behaving in alignment with this old belief, stop what you are doing and put your focus on the new belief. As this new way of thinking becomes more internal, you start to behave based on this new thought and eventually you will have experiences that align with your new belief which will elicit certain feelings. If it is a promoting belief, it will elicit good feelings. Now you have a promoting belief that will create the change you want to see.
Generally this process will take time, but if you want to see real change it is worth the time that you invest in yourself. For more techniques to connect to your Inner Self go to client tools on my website and download a free eBook that will guide you through the steps to go within. If you are looking for individualized work reach out to me through my website or at firstname.lastname@example.org.