Today I’d like to explain a bit about belief systems and how they operate, as so much of our enjoyment and misery can be ruled by them. And there’s a lot we can do about it, if they’re causing misery rather than enjoyment.
I love working with clients on their beliefs, as it really can transform people and liberate them from all sorts of self doubt and other barriers getting in their way of what they want. May that be career success, self employment, peace of mind, confidence, loving relationships and so on.
We all have beliefs about everything around us, some that help us and some that hinder us. There’s beliefs of all shapes and sizes, from the big global or cultural beliefs all the way down to our own personal beliefs about ourselves and our realities.
An example of a big belief in the UK today, and across many other parts of world, is that of Tony Blair. We have people on the one side who think he did the right thing taking Britain to war in Iraq. He was a good Prime Minister who took brave decisions as the leader of his country. On the other hand we have people who think he absolutely didn’t do the right thing. That it was terrible to take Britain to war. At best immoral and at worst illegal. I’m sure you agree, these views are completely polar opposites and both very much exist today. Now, whether you believe one or the other view to be true, or you’re somewhere in the middle, does Tony Blaire himself change in any way? Of course not right? He’s exactly the same person whatever your views of him are. What matters to you, is your beliefs on the matter.
That’s an example of a bigger, near global, belief. The beliefs that in some ways rule even more of your day to day life are your own personal ones about yourself and your reality. You probably believe, or know, that you are good at certain things and rubbish at others. You’ll think certain things are possible or achievable whilst others are out of your reach or abilities.
Whatever your beliefs are, you will filter everything in accordance with them. We have a huge amount of stimuli coming at us all day every day, and we simply can’t process everything. So our senses filter information out, and they will choose what to take in and what to ignore, largely based on your beliefs. So if you have a belief that you’re great at socialising and small talk, you will notice everyone who talks to you, who smiles at you and nods when you speak. The ones that don’t listen or walk off, you may not notice at all or you won’t place any importance to their acts. Thinking they must have been called away or maybe they’re too boring or didn’t understand. You probably won’t consciously think this, but simply filter them out as they don’t ‘fit’.
On the other hand if you have a belief that you’re rubbish at something, or something isn’t possible, you’ll filter information in accordance with this. A client of mine thought she was constantly judged by people. She managed staff, and she imagined they were criticising her and judging her behind her back. Filtering in accordance with this belief, meant for her that she completely overlooked any staff who expressed a joy to work for her, who showed their respect in her by turning to her when struggling or needing something and really notice and highlighted in her mind the times a staff member frowned or looked away when she spoke. A specific example was when a staff member asked to have a quiet word with her the day after. She took this home in her mind, thinking about what horrible criticism might be facing her the day after, enlarging the importance of the person and the incident in her mind. When she actually met with the staff member the day after, she was merely worrying about an operation coming up and the time she needed to take off work. Nothing whatsoever to do with my client!
We are often not aware of our beliefs as they are mere assumptions about what things are like. By accessing them and realising which ones are helping us and which ones are getting in our way, we can explore where they come from. Usually our beliefs come from some time in the past when they helped us, but if they’re limiting us today, they’re outdated and we can absolutely do something about them.
In next week’s blog, I’ll further demonstrate the power of our beliefs, using an example of a powerful limiting belief that was identified and dismantled by a client. Hopefully this will help you think about and identify ways in which you might be holding yourself back too. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, awareness is the first step towards liberation!