This Beliefs Project has been one of the most useful and empowering tools I have acquired and practiced.
When we were younger, we had younger minds. As we grow and change, so does our life experience, knowledge, wisdom, and perspective. When we were younger, we had not yet developed into the person we now are and our minds were not developed into what they now are. Misconceptions and misunderstandings were much more commonplace then than they are now.
That is normal. It’s okay! As we grow and have new experiences to draw from, we perceive and understand things differently than we did back then. Our parents or guardians were also not as developed and experienced then as they are now. Because of this, the belief system we adopted at an early age may still be in play. Some of us are still using the beliefs we acquired when we were younger.
I know that, for me, my own beliefs and personal philosophies acquired as a child ruled my world and disabled me, rendering me unable to optimize my own life more fully, and navigate through life’s inevitable difficulties and challenges with ease, until I decided to start to intentionally recreate those beliefs and philosophies in 2014, at the age of 42.
We may now be living with beliefs that served our young minds well, but which are now no longer beneficial to us. Admittedly, this was the ineffective practice of my life until the age of 42, when I realized that if I kept doing the same things, believing the same things, the results of my life would also be the same. (Yes, I’m a late bloomer, but thankfully I have started to be more and enjoy more.)
It very well may be worth it to take a good look at some of the beliefs we were raised with and ask the questions: “Do the beliefs I have now benefit me and my loved ones around me and add value to our lives? Are there beliefs I could possibly adopt and gain even more benefit and value?”
Here are some of my beliefs from my old belief system that ran and ruled my life into my forties. The beliefs I had would dictate the choices I made, which would then result in the consequences I deserved and earned from those choices. My mind literally created my reality throughout my entire life through and because of my belief system. When I replaced old beliefs with new ones, my life changed. As I began to make different decisions I began to enjoy different consequences as a result. WE CREATE OUR LIVES WITH OUR MINDS. Success is an inside job. We must accept FULL responsibility for our own thoughts, words, actions, and lives. The Beliefs Project is an excellent way to start doing this.
Remember, these were beliefs I thought I was being taught from a young age which, in reality, were probably mis-perceived off-shoots of what I thought my parents were actually trying to teach me. This is just a few pages from the beginning of this experiment:
By comparing these old beliefs to the new beliefs, it can easily be determined why my life has changed so much since 2014.
- “I’ve tried everything!” -This belief makes our brain give up and quit looking for additional ways to solve problems or fix things. I replaced this belief with, “There is always going to be another way to do things-anything, really. There will always be something else I can try. If I can’t think of other ways, I can and will ask for help, suggestions, and wisdom from others who have already gone through what I am facing, no matter how big or small. This will help me to connect with others and come up with more solutions to any problems I may encounter.”
- “I must be perfect and strive for perfection always. If I can’t be perfect I must at least appear to be perfect. Appearing to be better than I actually am is important to get people to like me. Appearances matter!” -This belief was overwhelming and I always fell short of perfection. It developed within me an all-or-nothing mindset and I grew up with very little or no confidence or feelings of accomplishment. I felt like I was never good enough. This belief made me extremely judgmental towards myself and others and I had difficulties making friends and enjoying deep, meaningful connections because of it. I replaced this belief with, “It is okay and completely acceptable to just be myself! Appearances don’t matter nearly as much as character. I don’t need to waste my time caring what others think of me. I will care more what I think about myself. I will choose to be proud of who I am and what I have become.” I AM ENOUGH.
- “Ignorance is bliss. What I don’t know won’t hurt me.” This belief made it okay to overlook any and every situation I thought would cause me pain. I lived a life filled with pain because of this belief. I thought I was taught to not be confrontational, and so confronting my problems or challenges was never an option in my mind. It turned out that, “Kill the monster while it is a baby,” and confronting problems when they are small and easy to deal with was some of the greatest advice of my life. I didn’t hear this until I was 45. I replaced this old belief with, “Ignorance is poverty. Ignorance is pain. The things I don’t know have the potential to hurt me. I choose not to be a victim. My learning and curiosity must never end. I will do something every day to learn tips, tricks, tools, strategies, methods, and short cuts which will make my life less painful and empower me with the skills to deal with the pain which will inevitably come my way. I will create a life more filled with joy, and I will always strive to share what I learn with others.”
These are just a few of the beliefs I decided to change. It is an incredibly difficult, time-consuming, effective, and very helpful exercise. It is so worth it. I plan to re-evaluate my beliefs and philosophies from now on, as part of a continual, self-development, evolutionary process which I know will benefit me and those I love. This exercise is a game changer! This exercise is a life-improvement tool.
Today I will begin thinking about, paying attention to, and writing down beliefs that I was raised perceiving I was supposed to believe. I will pick these beliefs apart and analyze then and decide if there are tweaks, changes, or improvements I can make to these beliefs that would benefit me even more in some way and add value to my life and the lives of my loved ones.
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Remember: Mindset matters. Character counts. What we choose to focus on each day is everything!