How to change beliefs
When we talk about beliefs the first thing that usually comes to mind is some sort of religious or spiritual beliefs. What we believe, or don’t believe, can come from family tradition, environment, research, personal experiences… ultimately we choose what to believe in, or not.
But when it comes to the beliefs that you hold about yourself, half the time we’re not even aware that we have these beliefs, which makes it rather tricky to do anything about them!
Often you just put it down to personality. “I’m just not the sort of person who…”
Really? Is that true?
Or is it just something that you’ve always said, or always told yourself, or been told about yourself.
Often, we use these statements because they are familiar, comfortable, safe… but actually, when you really dig down, they’re not necessarily true.
So what is a belief?
A belief is something that you choose to agree with.
And because it’s a choice, you are free to change your mind any time you like.
Which is HUGE.
So, to change an unhelpful belief, you first have to become aware of it.
NOTICE when it comes up. Become an observer…
“Ooh look…. I’m hesitating because I’m thinking xyz… hmmm.“
Try and identify where this idea has come from.
Is it from an experience you had that you interpreted in a certain way and drew conclusions about yourself from? For example, you didn’t get the job so therefore you must be crap at what you do…
Is it because you were constantly told it by someone else? For example, you never put in any effort so you’ll never amount to much…
Is it to do with your environment? For example, people from round here never do well…
Then you need to decide if it’s true, not true or partially true.
If you think it’s true, do you have solid non-negotiable evidence to back this belief up?? Absolutely no question?? Really?!
If you think there might be some truth in it, you need to decide to prove it wrong. Finding a compelling reason why you need to prove it wrong will help.
If it’s not true there is no reason to hold on to it.
Whichever conclusion you come to, you can choose to let that belief go.
Write out the belief on a piece of paper… then destroy it. Scrub it out, cut it up, rip it to shreds, burn it. As you do so, feel yourself letting it go.
It doesn’t serve you, it has no place in your life anymore.
The most important thing is to replace that belief with something that empowers you.
You need to upgrade.
One of the most powerful and prophetic statements you can say is “I am…”
“I’m so tired…” Just makes you feel exhausted.
“I’m so stressed…” just makes you feel like you’re at the end of your tether.
“I’m so pissed off…” just makes you feel even more angry.
You get the picture.
So now you’re going to use the “I am” statement to create a new belief.
For every belief that you have destroyed and let go of, write down 5 new, powerful “I am” statements.
These should make you want to sit up straight, with your head up, feeling like you are growing, becoming a better version of yourself.
That’s the point here, just improving. Your new beliefs should push you just enough.
Say those 5 “I am” statements out loud every morning. At the very least read them. Do the same when you go to bed.
Any time you catch yourself reverting back to the old belief, stop, remind yourself of your new beliefs and act accordingly.
The ACT part is crucial.
This is a process that takes time. It will feel uncomfortable to start with (those old beliefs kept you comfortable, in the familiar, remember?) but the more you embed your new beliefs the more that discomfort will subside.
Be gentle with yourself and don’t bite off more than you can chew to test your new beliefs to start with.
For example, if you have replaced “I am scared of trying anything new” with “I am eager for adventure”… booking a white water rafting experience down the Amazon is probably a first step too far!
But practice feeling the discomfort of your new belief in small ways and build it up.
The more you practice things, the better you get at them, and that also applies to the way you think.