Why are beliefs so important in your everyday life?
Beliefs are generalized assumptions, thoughts, and opinions. Individuals may think of beliefs as being ultimately true, defining what a person can or cannot create or do in their life.
A belief is a filter through which one sees life, behaves, acts, and makes choices. A belief works as a system of thoughts in our unconscious mind; they serve as a guide on how we should act.
Some beliefs can empower you; other beliefs can limit you.
Some beliefs are a snap decision you made in a second about yourself and your ability in general instead of your competency at that specific time. The decision you made about a specific ability can strengthen and reinforce the opinion or thought to become good at a certain skill or you the belief that you can’t achieve it. A specific limited and generalized decision you made in the past can deny your personal power to change.
“I am not good with numbers”, “I am not good at public speaking”, “I am not organized” “I am not a good cook.” These examples act as a reinforcing thought which you may not even consider challenging it; therefore, these negative beliefs will become an axiom, which you may think they are true about your capabilities in general.
Beliefs shape your present. Reality perception defines what is good, bad, possible, or impossible, and sets limits on whether to act or not in situations.
On a deeper level, beliefs can shape your character, behavior, relationships with others, health, finances, and personal growth.
An important detail about your subconscious mind is that whatever you decide and tell yourself, that thought runs with the decision made either in the first phase of life (0-7 years old) or later as an adolescent or adult.
Early formed limited beliefs
We assimilate a series of beliefs from our parents, grandparents, and the surrounding world in the first seven years of life. In some cultures, it is a sign of respect to not look someone in their eyes, or to have a humble and lowered voice. In our culture, a lowered voice and shrinking of the body means lack of confidence. I grew up with the belief that if a black cat crosses in front of your path, something bad is going to happen. Some people inherited the belief to bring flowers or a small gift to the host to show appreciation.
Beliefs are not bad or good; they are generalizations and shortcuts for how to make decisions efficiently.
A common limited belief of money as being evil spreads across many families and cultures. Many may say there is never enough money for everything or everyone. Beginning from the stage of upbringing, one can find some limited beliefs related to gender roles, prejudice about color, language, ethnicity, and even inherited fears of a parent.
Many women and moms’ common belief is not being good enough.
I wrestled with this belief many times as it was part of my inherited set of beliefs I grew up with. I had to work really hard to loosen the grip on it.
When this problem presented in my life more than a few times, I knew it will still find its own way to lurk around again and again until I would shift my thinking about it.
I was following some beliefs which I realized were limiting my perspective and not empowering me. I wanted to change them. Some beliefs did not serve me or my family much. I realized how important is to recognize them, but even more importantly, how to overcome them to transform mine and my children’s life, which led me to be a coach today.
You can change your beliefs. It will take some digging to figure out when one belief was formed, to recognize how that belief has affected your choices up to this moment, and what kind of belief you want to exchange it for.
Decisions about Self
While you inherited some beliefs from your family, peers, and the culture you grew up in, others started as a decision you made in a split second. This decision was just a gross generalization of your ability in a specific time which has become an ”always” belief about your ability at all times.
For example, I had poor grades in chemistry during high school. I had assumed I was not good in chemistry because of those grades; so, I avoided all careers that involved learning chemistry.
Fifteen years later, when I finally took chemistry in college, I had an amazing teacher who explained chemistry in such a way it made sense; it was actually fun.
It exhilarated me to solve problems, think on my feet, and understand the complicated chemistry reactions following easy steps. Two semesters later, I loved the chemistry class. I totally overcame the belief that I could not learn chemistry.
It only took two semesters to catch up, fill in the gaps, understand, and be great at something that sounded like a foreign language before. Yet, it took me 15 years to overcome that decision I made sitting in the chemistry class in high school.
While this limited belief may not apply to you, it is worth questioning what decisions you made and when. With enough practice and curiosity, you could overcome limited beliefs easily.
Let’s talk about another limited belief, which many people formed way too early about themselves. Meditation is one subject I often talk or write about because it has been such a helpful tool for myself when I experienced anxiety in the past.
I have heard by now from at least a dozen people saying ”I just can’t meditate.” “I can’t stop thinking.” or “I am just not good at meditating.” All these negative beliefs are just examples of limited decisions, made at one time, and generalized over the ability to succeed at them.
A vast body of scientific studies show meditation as one of the most beneficial exercises one can do for mental and emotional health, wellbeing, and one’s life satisfaction.
I think meditation or any new habit needs to be encouraged with a curiosity state of mind, especially when you try a new activity. You create and strengthen a new neural pathway. This requires some time and a lot of repetition before it will become second nature.
As a mom, I made a rule for my kids to try at least 15-20 times a new food before getting used to its texture and flavor. Trying a food twenty times allows my kids to think in a positive frame and not hurry into deciding if they like something right away.
If you have noticed a limited decision you want to change, you can intentionally choose a specific goal about how many minutes per day you want to practice a skill. This will allow you to pay attention to the process instead of making a decision about your capability in general.
4 key questions you need to ask yourself about a limited belief:
“What would you lose if in a split second you decide you are not good at meditating or anything else?”
“How do you know you are not good?”
“How many times did you try before you made that decision or gave up on it?”
“How many times/ months are you willing to practice before you decide you are not good at something in the future?”
9. Ways to Overcome a belief:
- Become a detective in the language and words you use.
- Journal or write the words you say to yourself and pay attention to: “I can’t ever do x.” “I’m always x.” “I am not good at x.” “I struggle with x.”
- Review your journal entries and identify limiting beliefs like predominant patterns.
- Be honest and ask yourself, “What’s holding you back?”
- Make a list of all limited beliefs in each area of your life that stopped you from achieving your goals.
- Clarify what you want the new beliefs to be
- Have an accountability partner
- Consider hiring a coach
The problem with limiting beliefs or limited decisions is that our unconscious mind runs them. Our unconscious mind runs a set of programs, values, and beliefs that make up the drivers of our choices.
What beliefs are holding you back?
Are you ready to overcome limiting beliefs, let go of negative emotions, procrastination? Would you like to work on your desired outcome in health, career/ business, relationships, and mindset?
As a life and mindset coach, I can work alongside you to create your version of your best life. I invite you to set up a call with me and start your journey today.