Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Empowering Belief Systems

There are two things you must know about beliefs:

That they are neutral and they are the building blocks of our growth.

This is extremely important these days as we keep hearing about “limiting” beliefs and the many self-development courses and programs that help us eliminate them. To be honest, I find this very concerning as they are part of us. Getting rid of them, without further action, implies creating internal gaps in your structure, with unfilled parts on your being. You must acknowledge that your beliefs served and supported you going through life and reaching the present moment.

For instance, when you teach a child not to open doors to strangers, you are creating an important belief at that stage. Nevertheless, as they grow, as they become adults, you want them to be social and to be able to interact positively with other people. So, somewhere in time, they need to change the belief.

I share this example to convey that beliefs are neutral and that we should always be grateful for what they helped us achieve. When we talk about positive or negative beliefs, it has nothing to do with the belief itself but merely whether it supports or not our current goals.

Going back to the previous example, we find that “you shouldn’t open the door to strangers” is a very useful advice as the child needs a secure environment to grow in. Later on, as we change our goals, we should be grateful for thatbelief and replace it with a new one. These are extremely important ideas:

1. Consciously be grateful for the belief that no longer serves your purpose;
2. Replace it with a new one, one that supports your goal, a goal like “meeting new people will bring me new opportunities in life since I’m now able to identify what I want to achieve”.

Understanding your beliefs

A few years ago I started to become more aware of my “limiting” beliefs. As I realized I was not achieving my goals, I became curious about the process. I started by noticing all the details from the moment I stated the goal to myself.

Back then, stating whatever I was aiming for at that time, somehow allowed me to feel whether I was able to believe it or not. When you affirm and speak something out you can feel if you do it naturally or if there is any interference. It could be your breathing pace, your heartbeat, a voice inflexion or some talking going on inside your head, definitely something that would turn your attention away from the statement.

From my experience, this affirmation mechanism is an extremely useful tool in helping us calibrate our alignment. I often refer to the conscious and unconscious alignment, a process that I call consciousness and that will provide nunreliable feedback when not tuned. It’s not that you cannot set these goals but merely that first you need to be aligned, to believe.

There are several techniques to understand if you are aligned or not. One of them, that I use often, is to write your statements in a blank sheet (A4 size), putting them on the floor and stepping on the sheet and feel whatever comes up. What happens in this process is that, when you read the word, your mind will trigger the experience in your body, providing you with the necessary feedback to take action.

I found this to be very curious and even thought about how could we be experiencing something we hadn’t lived yet? In fact, what you experience is your perception of the word. So, even if you haven’t lived it yet, you have an internalrepresentational experience. This means that everything we can think of, even if merely conceptual, triggers an internal representational experience.

So, for new goals, you first need to perceive your representation of the experience. Then work your belief for it to become positive for your aimed goal in any way possible, as this will simply shut down your defense mechanisms and let you flow towards it.

I read once that we are constantly deciding whether we allow (flow) or resist. You can’t have none or even both at the same time! So if you are not achieving your goals, you are resisting.

Why should you be resisting to something that you aim for?

Well, if you can affirm a goal, a really positive one, why can’t you experience it in the same way? Something is interfering. That something is called belief.

Going back to my own experience, after noticing I was still out of alignment, a new question came up: Which are my beliefs and how can I identify them? Pretty soon, I started realizing that whenever I affirmed a new goal, even a small one, a self-talk was going on inside my head. I was so used to it that I didn’t really pay much attention to this internal dialogue and to what was being said. As soon as I started listening carefully, I noticed a lot of small affirmations and images from previous experiences, all of them telling me why this couldn’t be done, why that was not possible and sometimes which negative effects wouldcome from achieving it. This happened with all types of goals set, be it personal, family, professional and so on. I must tell you that the most complex and tricky to deal with is the last scenario, when negative effects come attachedto the positive ones, that even being small and inoffensive, still stand between myself and my achievement.

Some examples that most of us share from our upbringing are “we can’t have everything in life” or “if you have one thing you’ll lose another”. These are really important examples as they close doors, trim our horizons and take away the possibility to have it all. So changing these is to open new doors, exploring new breakthrough ideas for greater achievements and happiness.

How do I work my beliefs?

Once I started paying attention to them, things started to change. I must say that in the beginning my attitude was to silence them and fight them back. Once more, the results were not improving and the resistance was even greater. As human beings we are intelligent creatures, and we must know when to change our way in order to reach other destinations. I started to be kind with these thoughts, listening carefully to them and, as a structure of building blocks, I started to visualize myself taking pieces, looking at them and being grateful for what they helped me achieve. At the same time I was filling in those gaps with new pieces, my new beliefs that would now support my current goals.

This attitude brought me more peace, more consciousness and a feeling of control over my future, myself, who I am becoming and what I aim for.
You can do it as a fun game to play, as I often do. In fact, it needs to be fun, enjoyable, in order to have results. Because the more you like this game, the more fun you have playing it, the more you’ll play and the faster you’ll get your results.

And, as you play along, you can go back and repeat the “blank sheet” experience and check out how much more familiar your affirmation feels. Or even go for other goals!

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