The Power of Beliefs

Beliefs are so powerful that they literally shape the course of our lives. Yet, we rarely pay them much heed. This month’s blog post will give you a deeper understanding of the role beliefs play in your life and why it is so important to bring unconscious beliefs into the light of day if you want to live a better life.

We will explore how beliefs are formed, how they impact everything we do, and what we can do to change limiting beliefs that keep us from living to our fullest potential.

In the Womb

Beliefs are driving forces in your life that began taking hold even before you took your first breath. By the time you were born, your mother’s beliefs were already well established, impacting her physiologically, psychologically and emotionally. You began to get messages installed in your little body about life and about yourself prior to birth that have impacted your entire life.

If your pregnant mother suffered from anxiety, you had stress hormones coursing through your veins in utero, communicating to you that life was not safe. If your mother resented her unplanned pregnancy, you may have felt her disconnect from you even before you were born. If she continued to reject you physically or emotionally after birth, you likely formed beliefs about your unworthiness and have had difficulty fully embracing life. Living with an anxious mother taught you about anxiety as a way of life.

Alternatively, if your mother was calm, relaxed, and excited about being pregnant, you in turn experienced your mother’s peace before birth.  You were then born into a peaceful, loving environment, which further enforced that life would be safe, peaceful, and secure. Your mother likely continued giving you positive messages about life and about yourself, providing you the inner fortitude to step fully into life.

None of us escape the impact of our upbringing. Some of it is positive, and some not so positive. Our experiences in early childhood install beliefs about ourselves, about others, and about life, or they confirm previously installed beliefs. Occasionally our experiences re-write previously held beliefs, but generally we must be very intentional if we want to change a belief.

Some beliefs acquired in early life serve us well. Many do not. If your life is not what you want it to be, despite your best efforts, you can rest assured that unconscious beliefs are running the show.

Beyond the Womb

Beliefs are introduced in families and are reinforced through life experiences. If your early family experiences caused you to believe that you were defective (worthless, unlovable, incapable, stupid, a disappointment, not good enough, etc.), unsafe, powerless, or unable to trust anyone, you have carried yourself in a way that reflects that self-image. It is almost as if you ‘wear’ who you think you are. Then life experiences seem to reinforce the truth of that image. Why is that?

We are energetic human beings who attract experiences that reinforce who we think we are.  You have seen people who carry themselves with grace, confidence, and authority. Without even knowing them you probably assume they have good self-images. Their energetic demeanor speaks volumes to you about who they are.

You have also seen people who look like they are carrying the weight of the world. They look troubled, depressed, burdened. Their energetic demeanor also speaks volumes, leading you to assume they feel poorly about themselves or about life.

Why is Self-Image so Important?

If you have a positive self-image, you will engage more fully in life. You ‘attract’ others into your sphere of influence who want what you have, and you in turn are ‘attracted’ to others who live fully. Like attracts like. You are attracting people and experiences that reinforce who you already think you are.

If you have a poor self-image, you will probably refrain from engaging fully in life. You hold back out of fear or because you don’t trust yourself or others. You don’t believe in yourself, so you don’t risk stepping out of your comfort zone into unfamiliar, potentially unsafe territory where you might be hurt, humiliated, or defeated.

Your energetic demeanor will attract others of like mind because those people will feel the safest to you, or at least the most familiar. Or, you may become a loner and avoid connecting with others to remain as safe as possible. Again, you are attracting people and experiences that reinforce who you already think you are.

If you are spending time with people you feel the most comfortable with, what’s the problem?  Those you interact with and the experiences you have are based on who you think you are, not on who you really are. Who you think you are is often based on erroneous beliefs that were planted early in life and watered consistently by life experiences.

This develops such a deep and faulty root system that it is almost impossible to see who you really are or to believe that you can change. You become so identified with your erroneous thinking that you believe the error rather than the truth.

One child is born into a nurturing, loving family and grows up believing in herself because of it. The opposite happens to her best friend down the street who grows up not believing in herself. If you started each child over with the opposite family, what would happen? The believing girl could have just as easily become the unbelieving one, right? What does that tell you about the truth of who they really are?

Who am I REALLY?

What if who you think you are, is not who you really are? What if who you think you are is simply based on a faulty operating system that was installed by untrained technicians? They were supposed to install the ‘Life’ operating system, but they unknowingly installed the ‘Death’ operating system because that’s all they had been trained in. No matter how you try to live your life, your operating system corrupts the program.

Eventually, in frustration you give up trying to pursue what you want because your attempts are thwarted no matter what you do. You don’t realize you have a faulty operating system. You think YOU are faulty because nothing is working the way it’s supposed to work.

Your mind is giving you error messages about who you are and what you can accomplish simply because it was programmed incorrectly. If you spent the first five years of your life being taught that 2 x 2 = 5, your mind would absolutely believe 2 x 2 = 5. When you got to the first grade and were corrected, you would still fight for it being 5 because you were taught and believed 2 x 2 = 5.

Sadly, we fight for what we believe about ourselves even if it is not true. If you grew up believing you were stupid, you would argue with someone who told you that you were smart.

The continual repetition of learning 2 x 2 = 5 made it completely second nature to believe it was 5.  Will it take a little while to retrain your mind to believe 2 x 2 = 4? Yes, of course. Will it take some time to replace erroneous beliefs about you with true beliefs? Yes, absolutely.

You must decide if you are worth the investment, if you are worth the time. I absolutely believe that you are simply because you are a child of God, not because of anything that you do or do not do. If you want more out of life, then you have to be in the business of changing your beliefs. The life you have right now is an accurate reflection of the beliefs you currently hold.

Establishing New Beliefs is Like Gardening

Let’s say you have an old patch of ground that you want to use for a vegetable or flower garden. You will have to do a lot of weeding to prepare the soil for planting. You work hard, plant the seeds, and wait patiently for them to grow. They don’t pop up the next day. You water them and wait expectantly for the new shoots to poke through the ground.

When they finally come up, guess what else comes up? More weeds. You need to consistently tend the garden to keep the weeds from taking over the new, tender plants. Eventually your vigilance pays off, and you have a harvest of the plants you sowed.

Your erroneous beliefs are the stubborn weeds that keep coming back even after you have planted new ones. You cannot weed the garden once and expect new beliefs to thrive. You must keep weeding, or the old beliefs will overpower the new (fragile) beliefs you are working so hard to establish.

It will take consistent effort over time to keep your garden (thought life) free of weeds. Most importantly, you must be willing to give up the fight to keep the old beliefs about yourself and about life. Are you willing to consider the possibility that 2 x 2 may not equal 5?

Transforming Beliefs

Transforming a faulty belief system is a three-part process:

First, you must identify your erroneous beliefs…not always easy to do. These are any beliefs that limit you from your full potential.

Second, you must consistently replace erroneous beliefs with the truth.

Third, you must water and nurture the truth until it takes root and shows up in your life.

How will you discern your limiting beliefs? Observe what goes on between your ears and what comes out of your mouth. Your thoughts, and thus your words, always reflect your beliefs. Identifying limiting beliefs is the first step in transforming them into beliefs that will support a life that you truly want.

Could you use help learning how to identify and transform your limiting beliefs? Consider enrolling in the next Anatomy of Change course. You cannot change your life without changing your beliefs 😉


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