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Exploring Your Belief Systems
Beliefs are conditioned perceptions that are built upon old memories of pain and pleasure. These memories are based on how we have interpreted and emotionalized our experiences over time.
By attaching ourselves emotionally to people, events and circumstances, we effectively build the foundations of our belief systems. These belief systems are therefore nothing more than concrete rules/commands to the nervous system that shape your thoughts and filter your experience of reality. And it is these commands that influence what you will consciously delete, distort or generalize as you go about your day.
Beliefs are in some ways assumptions we make about ourselves, about others, and about how we expect things to be in our world. We have all these theories, ideas and explanations about how things are and what they should be like. Likewise, we make all these conclusions about life and about other people, all of which help us make better sense of the world. In other words, we use beliefs as anchors that help express our understanding of the world around us.
Beliefs form the foundations of your expectations. These expectations help you to better understand yourself, to better understand others, and to better understand the world around you. They help you feel certain about the future, which makes you feel safe and secure. As such, you hold onto these beliefs irrelevant of whether or not they serve you in the present moment, which of course all comes back to the need for certainty. We all crave a sense of certainty. It provides us with peace-of-mind and helps reduce stress, anxiety and fear. It’s a fundamental human need that builds the foundation of all your belief systems.
It’s important to note that beliefs are not facts. However, deeply ingrained beliefs can be mistaken as facts. These beliefs are often nothing more than conclusions you have drawn based on your childhood experiences. Back then these beliefs may have served you, and that is why you have held onto them. However, as an adult these beliefs may no longer serve a purpose. In fact, these beliefs might actually become a hindrance as they are no longer compatible with your life or your circumstances. Your life has probably changed, however your beliefs have remained constant, which is why you’re feeling stuck in the present.
The beliefs you hold onto are often entangled within the language you use to express yourself each and every day. Therefore if there is a word for something, then there is probably an accompanying belief associated with that word. As such, you create your own reality through the use of language, and that traps you within a world based upon perception rather than upon fact.
The Creation of a Belief
Over a lifetime your beliefs are ingrained into your nervous system due to repeated situations which prove their legitimacy. Let’s break this down in a little detail.
Throughout your life you collect facts, evidence and references that help you form your idea of reality. Over time, you build up more references through the use of your imagination, through the knowledge you acquire, through personal experience, and through the influence of your peer groups. These references help you form ideas about things. Then eventually some of these ideas turn into opinions that have a little more certainty and emotional intensity behind them.
While holding opinions about things, you are still very much flexible in terms of the expectations you tend to hold onto. However, through the process of repetitively thinking about these things and acting out these things in real life, your opinions solidify and eventually turn into beliefs. These beliefs are still flexible within the early stages, however over time as you keep collecting more and more references that support each of these beliefs, they grow stronger, more solid, and stable. Then all of a sudden you reach a certain stage in the evolution of each belief where it becomes so deeply ingrained and rooted into your nervous system that despite overwhelming contradictory evidence, your expectations can no longer be changed. Therefore, despite the facts you cannot be convinced otherwise. And that is essentially the stage when a belief turns into a conviction.
When there are no references to lay down the foundations for a belief, some people turn to faith. Faith is simply a belief about something that has next to no real-world references supporting it.