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Those Sneaky Beliefs!

Beliefs are a funny thing. They can be so strong that they feel like the absolute truth. But in reality they are changeable and only true for us if we believe in them. They are invisible yet exert their influence on almost everything we think, say or do, often without us even being aware of them. Sneaky.

What am I talking about? For example, I used to have a hard time spending money on myself. I actually felt a level of stress like I was “wasting” the money. It was not that I couldn't afford to give myself treats. It just didn't feel right. The underlying belief seemed to be that “money should be spent only on things we absolutely needed” and "I didn't absolutely need fun or pretty things, right?" A couple of underlying beliefs that made me think that spending money on myself was “wrong”, made me feel stressed and guilty if I did and kept me from spending money on myself for a long time. This is one example of how our beliefs can underlie our thoughts, feelings and actions.

Here’s the thing. Beliefs are not really good or bad. There is nothing wrong with the belief that “money should be spent only on things we absolutely need”. That can serve someone who is short on money or needs to save up for college very very well. But it may not serve you well if it keeps you from engaging in a craft that you are passionate about. The belief can be positive or negative for you.

Here are some other beliefs:

It’s not worth it.

I deserve to succeed.

It never works out for me.

I can always choose differently if I need to.

The world is full of good people.

I will never have enough.

If I am working for a cause, I should not be asking to be paid..

I should be paid what I am worth.

I should do it perfectly.

It’s ok to be a little late.

The question then becomes “Is this belief serving me well right now?” or “Is this belief moving me forward in the direction I want to go”. Next time you feel a disconnect in yourself or something just does not feel right, pause and see if you can identify the underlying belief to your thought, words or actions. And then ask yourself how this belief is serving you.

The good news: you can change the limiting beliefs that are not working for you and replace them with new ones. It can take some conscious effort on your part in the beginning. Coaching can help.

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