How Our Beliefs are Formed and How to Change Negative Beliefs?
“Man is what he believes” - Anton Chekov
All of us have an opinion about our surroundings and our circumstances. Beliefs are opinions that are usually based on what is best, right, or true according to us. We use our beliefs to develop a better understanding of the world around us. They act as a guiding light to help us make the right decisions and steer through life. In short, Beliefs are systems that we have generated for ourselves to help us operate in the unknown world.
Believing Vs Knowing
A lot of times we proclaim our beliefs to others with surety. Humans are impressionable beings. And sometimes it so happens that we are exposed to certain information that makes us ponder upon our existing opinion about something and eventually changes our original opinion about it. Beliefs are formed when we do not know something. But once our mind is exposed to information that is possibly true or right, our beliefs take shape in the form of the information that we are exposed to.
Various factors contribute to forming our belief system.
Some of them include:
Parents and our loved ones
During our childhood, we believe the information that we get and most of it comes from our parents and others close to us. We consider it to be the truth because we haven't developed an analytical mindset yet. The general culture of our family forms our beliefs.
Education/Exposure to information
As we grow older, we become part of an educational society wherein we gain information about various things and our belief systems start taking shape accordingly
Juilius Caesar said, ‘Experience is the teacher of all things.’ Most of our beliefs are created from our past experiences and continue to influence our decision-making in the future.
Sometimes the justifications given by others for their belief systems simply make sense to us and we adapt to those beliefs as well.
Beliefs are an integral part of our lives.
Our beliefs affect our thoughts, emotions and behaviour and can be the reason why we prosper or the reason why we hold ourselves back in a negative way. Beliefs can be broadly categorized into two types: Positive beliefs and negative beliefs.
Positive beliefs empower us. They invoke positive emotions in us and help us become better versions of ourselves. A classic example of positive belief is, ‘ do good to others and the good will come back to you.’ There is no proof of this but it is our belief system that enables us to think positively and act with kindness.
Negative beliefs limit us. They prevent us from achieving our goals and hold us back. An example of a negative belief is you constantly thinking that you can never lose that extra weight because of your body type. It is very important to recognize the limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering ones. After all, none of us wants to feel unfulfilled and unhappy in our lives.
You don't need to start with a clean slate!
All of us have preconceived notions and have developed deep-rooted beliefs that aren't necessarily true. Sometimes, we do realize that we have been holding onto a wrong belief and feel the need to change it. But, change is difficult. So, how do we go about it? Start by identifying the beliefs that are holding you back.
Ask yourself: What is making you unhappy? What makes you feel weak or held back? Why are you not getting what you want in life? What do you want to achieve?
Take a pen and paper and note down the answers to these questions. It may take some time and effort from your end but this will help you gain clarity and understand yourself better.
Once you have your answers, think about how it has negatively affected you. Take the previous example, think about how having extra weight makes you feel. You realize that you need to lose some kilos.
Now, try to replace that limiting belief with an empowering belief and identify the actions that you need to take to achieve your goal. Considering the example, you have extra weight but you can be slim if you exercise and eat right.
It is now time to experiment. The moment we are presented with proof, it becomes easier for our minds to change beliefs. This is where habit formation also comes into the picture. Staying with the above example, start exercising and consistently eating right. Soon, you will start noticing changes. You will start feeling active and your ability to perform daily activities will start improving. You now have the proof that you needed!
Pro tip: Remind yourself of these beliefs every single day!
It is going to take some time for your brain to rewire and focus on the positives but practicing it daily may just speed up the process!
Follow this process and you will realize that it is possible to change our beliefs and shift our lives towards positivity. Life is what you make of it so believe you can do it and you most certainly will.
Here’s to the new and empowered version of you!
PS: If you need help overcoming your limiting and negative beliefs, don't hesitate to book a free clarity call: https://zeeg.me/theayushimathur/20min