“Many People Haven’t Updated Their Beliefs From Early Childhood.”
Most of us find it immensely challenging to let go of our beliefs, especially negative beliefs which we develop during childhood. These negative beliefs often prevent us from being as successful and thriving as we are capable of being. Such beliefs tend to stick, and you stick to them, even when they don’t serve you well due to the familiarity and consistency factor.
Dealing with negative beliefs takes understanding, patience, and a self aware attitude to overturn to positive ones
Whether you have formed the belief that you are socially awkward, or that you are not so intelligent, such beliefs tend to stick
permanently due to a psychological principle referred to as ‘belief perseverance.’ Once you start believing something, whether it is about yourself, politics, faith, etc, you will start to sieve out proof that is contrary. For example, individuals who believe that they are not smart may attribute a good grade to an arbitrary fluke or a stroke of luck.
Additionally, after the development of a core foundational belief, you will start looking for and become very attentive of any proof that supports that belief. Thus, someone who thinks of himself/herself as unintelligent and who fails just 1 test out of 8 for example, will take that single failure to be proof of the fact that he/she is not smart. He/she will not think that passing 7 tests out of 8 is a sign of being intelligent.
It isn’t just negative beliefs about yourself that you cling to, but you may also hold onto negative beliefs about others.
Negative beliefs are generally characterized by black or white thinking; over-generalizing, i.e., presuming that all events of a specific kind follow the same pattern of one known event of a similar type; minimization and magnification; perceiving all possible scenarios to be cataclysmic; and jumping to conclusions.
Here are some starting points to begin dealing with negative beliefs starting today (followed by an important video below):
- The concept of affirmation states that the brain immediately tries to find an answer whenever a question is posed to it. So in order to change a negative belief, create a question about that belief, do not consciously search for an answer, and let the brain naturally find an answer that can successfully challenge that negative belief. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy teaches you how to do this very naturally.
- Stop assuming that what has happened in the past will happen in the present and in the future. To change assumptions, become open to change. Do not wait with bated breath for change to happen, but grow an attitude that allows change to occur on its own and for you to willingly embrace it when it occurs.
- Any change will come across resistance from oneself. Such resistance has its basis on fear of any change. You may be able to gradually reduce the resistance by recognizing its existence, identifying the causative fear, and creating a plan to reorganize the cause of fear and resistance. Thus, if you do not want to speak publicly for fear of goofing up, then reorganize the public speaking event by first delivering that lecture in front of trusted friends, and then taking deep breaths and gathering your thoughts while speaking in front of others.