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What Are Beliefs?

We create beliefs to anchor our understanding of the world around us and so, once we have formed a belief, we will tend to persevere with that belief.

What Are Beliefs?

Here's a simple definition: A belief is an assumed truth.

Hence everything is a belief -- including this statement.

Your belief system gives you a framework that helps you interpret and understand the experiences you face in life. A belief is something you accept as true, without question.

That means you can expect that every day it will seem just as true as it was the day before.

Your beliefs are deeply embedded in you, so you and particularly your team of protective inner selves, live your life around them, without thinking about them, questioning them or even being aware of them.

As part of your overall belief system you may, as a small child, have developed unbalanced or negative beliefs about yourself, that actually helped you ‘fit in’ to your family environment by making sense of things that happened to you, things that would otherwise be very hard for you to live with. For example if, a small child is constantly ignored or neglected, one of his or her beliefs might be ‘I am not worthwhile’.

Beyond Belief

The corollary of our definition of belief is that if we know something to be true, then it is more than a belief. The tricky question now is 'How do we know that something is always true?' Just because in our experience it has always been true, it doesn't necessarily follow that it will continue to be true.

We usually belief that things will happen as they have previously happened, because it is useful to do so. As such, this means that everything is a belief. Which is good, from a persuasion standpoint. Because beliefs can be changed.

Beliefs and language

Belief is highly entangled with language. If there is a word for something then we believe it exists, as in the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. We thus 'language reality into existence'.

This is one reason why people from different countries have difficulty understanding one another, as the beliefs they hold are built into the language and the culture.

So What?

So understand that people's beliefs are what they are assuming to be true. Challenge them. Reframe them. They can be changed.

So our core beliefs as they took root in our first few years became a kind of summary of the most basic convictions we make up about our self-worth, the kind of person we are, what will become of us as a result, our place in the family and the world and how we can expect others to treat us all our life.

These beliefs about yourself, which you hold on to so strongly also reflect your deepest vulnerability and pain and help to keep these locked within you.

As we grow, we take on beliefs and understandings about life and how it works, the rules of life, the do's and don'ts, etc. But most of us never take the time to evaluate if all these acquired beliefs are still serving us today.

Almost every unbalanced or negative belief seems to be connected in some way with your deepest thoughts or feelings about being:

  • Not good enough (incompetent)

  • Not good enough (unlovable)

  • Unwanted (different)

  • Defective (imperfect, bad)

  • Dowerless (one-below)

  • In danger (not safe)

  • Don’t know (wrong)

Within that broad belief pattern, however, are many different variations.

And in fact, if we did such a self-evaluation, we'd probably discover that most of our concepts and ideas are no longer serving us. What's worse is that some of these beliefs are actually harming us today (creating the bar-less prison that we feel stuck in, and preventing us from growing).

There are hundreds of core issues and core beliefs, so you can expect that yours may be quite different from those held by the person next to you. so don´t be surprised if people who at first appear to have very similar issues and see how differently they react.

You know the ones. Those little voices that say things like:

  • You’re not smart enough

  • You’re too old

  • You can’t change

  • You will reincarnate

Don’t Fight Your Limiting Beliefs

There’s no sense arguing with gremlins. It never works. They just fight back harder than ever. So begin by acknowledging your limiting beliefs. Recognize when you’re holding a thought that doesn’t serve you. Then put it aside.

Getting Unstuck Tip

Putting it aside isn’t the same as arguing. You won’t debate whether the belief is right or wrong.

Rather, simply decide that for the next 15 minutes, three hours, two days or however long you choose, you’ll act as if you don’t hear that belief. Imagine yourself putting the belief on a shelf. Maybe you’ll come back for it soon… or maybe not.

"A person does not have to be behind bars to be a prisoner. People can be prisoners of their own concepts and ideas. They can be slaves to their own selves." - Maharaji


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