From an early age we start to form beliefs about the world and ourselves, some that help to propel us forward and others that limit who we are. The people around us such as family, friends, society and other dominant figures, all contribute to our overall sense of self. Our brain recognizes patterns and can see associations to help us stay safe and this information helps to form our beliefs. We start forming beliefs from an early age and well into our adult lives, however, a good chunk of the beliefs that impact us most, come from our childhood. Since we have had time to strengthen and find evidence to create a foundation for the beliefs we’ve created, they can be very hard to get rid of, even if we know they are holding us back. Beliefs that are formed at an early age such as ones that were formed in school or ones that were formed in a neglectful environment would probably not serve us well as adults. We have created them on the assumptions that we have formed about the world, so this doesn’t mean that the beliefs we’ve created are facts. They just need to be dismantled, seen from a new perspective, then re-formed so we are no longer limited and are free to rise to our best selves.
Where and how do we start if these beliefs are so greatly ingrained within us? Well it’s going to take some work to reach them as they are lodged within our unconscious. First, we must discover our beliefs in order to be able to change and flip them around to better serve ourselves. Let’s start by asking ourselves some questions about our goals so we can better see where we might be blocked. Start by sitting down and bring your awareness into the present moment. I personally enjoy mediation for this as it clears my mind and allows different viewpoints to pop up that I may have never considered before. Recording the questions and playing them back during meditation is a great trick, as all your focus will be with yourself and not focused on the questions or the outside world. Ask yourself if you are being realistic with your goals and if so, why haven’t you met them? Stopping the mediation to write down factors such as external, behavioural or a combination can be helpful when reflecting back on the answers you’ve discovered. Don’t block yourself by worrying about how another might judge your thoughts, write without worry that another may see them. Sometimes it’s best to get an inexpensive notebook, so if you feel the need, you can rip the pages out and dispose of them. Let’s explore deeper, could things have been done differently? And if so, why didn’t you explore other avenues at the time? Are there patterns appearing to you about your behaviour? Does anything pop out to you such as blocks that may hinder you from moving forward? The more you connect with yourself and question your behaviours and the external world, the more you will start to see the obstacles standing in your path.
After you’ve brought your awareness into the present, lets plunge into the past. This is where most of our beliefs reside so it might take some time and self-compassion to work through all the questions to really discover your foundation. Be patient, be kind and know this is a step closer to self-love. And don’t be afraid to seek help from friends, family or even professionals to help you along in this process. Here are some questions to help you dive into yourself.
What was your family like and what were their values? What did they teach you about the world around you, such as interactions with others, risks, dreams and what you might be capable of? And most importantly, what did they teach you about yourself?How did that help to shape you? What did you hold onto into adult life that they taught you? Do any of your present values contradict what you’d been taught?
Now that we’ve explored the depths of our past, let’s explore how they work in our everyday and if they can still be applied to today. Do your beliefs have a purpose? What was the purpose of the formation of the belief? Was it formed to protect you? Do you still require protecting today? Or maybe the fear within was formed out of wanting to be accepted instead of being protected. Again, ask yourself if this purpose still holds up today. Question how they work in your daily life and how they hold you back. Could these beliefs lead to negative or positive results such as asking, would perfection help or hinder you most? Does it lead you to never finishing things because the outcome never aligns with your expectation? Or does it push you to reach extraordinary results?
Once you’ve explored your beliefs and how they came to be, it’s time to formulate a new belief system so that you can create a foundation for navigating the world around you. Once again, bring awareness to the present and explore who you are by asking yourself what your goals are and what you wish to attract or become. Take a look at your life today, if you had to write a list of beliefs that would align with your present world, what would you say they are? Write a list of those beliefs.
To embed these new beliefs within ourselves we must retrain our brain so they will become second nature to us. Affirmations work best to integrate new belief systems, they help to rewire the brain, letting you achieve a new outlook on life. Look at your list of beliefs and write an affirmation for each one. A past belief may have centred around how you weren’t good enough or capable of doing anything due to the nature of your upbringing. To flip it on it’s head, an example of an affirmation may be: I forgive myself for not being perfect because I know that I am human. Reframe the past belief into a strength, show compassion and love and develop a growth mindset within it. Another way of retraining our brain would be to use a physical object. This object could be carried around with you to remind you of your new intentions and whenever you pick it up or touch it within your pocket, it should be a reminder to embody these new beliefs.
Now that you’ve come so far, it’s time to create new possibilities for growth. Find inspiration such as from authors, public figures, quotes or even images. Explore how these people have come to be, what successes they have achieved or hardships they have overcome. Bring those that you strive to be like into your life and adopt a new mindset. Placing quotes around your home can become quite inspirational as well as you can view them each morning as a reminder to embody the new beliefs.
And remember, you are a beam of perfection, it just takes some time to uncover the treasure.