Understanding Your Beliefs To Change Them

BeliefAs I tried to explain the Law of Attraction for doubtful on my post last week, one person who left a comment suggested that I wrote about changing those beliefs that make us attract what we don’t want.

Of course, if you have been a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’ve written  about beliefs before, as well as given  you tips and tools that you can use to help change your beliefs.

However, since the question was asked , I thought that it was time to write yet another post to help you change your beliefs in order to attract better and more positive results in your life.

On this post I’m not going to expend too much on tools that you can use to change those beliefs, but more on understanding our belief system.

Understanding our beliefs is key to be able to change them.

Beliefs can be Changed

As much as we may feel trapped in our beliefs, and no doubt a lot of people are, the good news is that we can change them.  Yes, beliefs can be changed.  No matter what you’ve been taught.  But at the end of the day, it’s up to you to take that step to do so.

Because one thing is sure, your old beliefs won’t go away on their own.  Any old beliefs that you are conscious or not conscious of, will live and die with you, unless you remove it. This goes for beliefs that serve you and those that don’t.

Most people have inherited beliefs that were pounded into their heads from the time they were born, and they never, ever, even questioned such beliefs.  A good reason for this is that we grow up in societies that teach us not to question authorities.

We don’t question our parents, we don’t question our government and we don’t question our religious leaders. And when I say “we” it doesn’t apply to everyone single one of us as an individual, but truth be told most people out there spend their whole life not asking questions about their beliefs.  They just accept them as an inherent part of them.

Thankfully, if you are reading this type of blog you might not be one of them.

Me and my brother, for example,  we were raised by a rather non-conformist mother who didn’t swallow of lot of BS, so that made us not trusting any institution just because they said so.  And as a parent, my mother never put a heavy overwhelming hand over us, just because she was the parent. She allowed for a lot of freedom of speech, and never overwhelmed us with a lot of petty house rules either.  My household was an emotional heaven, maybe that’s why neither me nor my brother never needed to “hang out” much, like a lot of kids our age.

However, does that mean that we weren’t full of beliefs that didn’t served us? No, not by any mean.  I mentioned this to illustrate that even raised in pretty good emotional circumstances, you are still going to have beliefs that are less than desirable.

Our belief is what we perceive to be according to the society we live in.  The proof of this is that if you put yourself in different societies than your own, you’ll see that many of the beliefs that you have don’t hold true to other people and vice versa.

Changing Your Perspective

Remember that everything is about perspective to start with.  But what is perspective?

Here is a definition of perspective: A mental view or outlook. 

Why am I talking about perspective here? Because perspective has a lot to do with our beliefs, and the perspective of ourselves has a lot to do with what we believe about ourselves.

For example, being from France and living in the US I’ve observed this perspective factor so many times.  I’ve met some people who literally see France as a fairy tale place.  I’ve seen people looked amazed when I told them I was from France. That’s because it’s THEIR perspective of France. Not mine.

This is a great example that tells me that those perspectives are totally made up and don’t hold any truth to it.

People have tons of perspectives and beliefs about things, even when they don’t know much about it. Sometimes we have a negative perspective that may not even be valid but in the head of the bearer of it.

Start looking in some areas of your life and see what are YOUR perspectives about different things.

Have you ever heard people say, I can’t conceive the fact that…  If you can’t conceive something it means that you have a certain belief about it.  Most likely, it’s a limited one. Your perception is most likely wrong.

So, first do this.  Each time you think about something.  Whatever it may be, think about what is your perspective on that. What type of belief do you have about it?

You see, things, events, facts, and so on are “perceived a certain way” by the human brain.  We are the complete fabricators of perceptions.  This alone is a darn heavy weight on our whole belief system.

Cognitive Dissonance

What on earth is cognitive dissonance you might ask?

Cognitive dissonance is the fancy termed used in psychology which simply describes the “uneasy feeling that we have when our thoughts and actions don’t match our beliefs.”

Just like the critical factor of our subconscious mind is meant to protect us, so is cognitive dissonance meant to protect us from foreign beliefs.

The problem is that it doesn’t protect us at all when our beliefs don’t serve us. That’s why we use Self Hypnosis to get beyond the critical factor that prevents us from reprogramming our subconscious mind.  Because of the fact that our programming is being so way off from the success that we want to achieve.

In order to understand your beliefs better you need to know how they are formed and where they come from.

For example, here is a stupid belief that a lot of us have that is responsible for weight gain for a lot of people.  Do you know what belief I’m talking about?

It’s the belief that you need to finish the food that you have on your plate. I told you it was stupid!

No matter if they’re still hungry or not.  There are grown adults  forcing themselves or make themselves feel bad if they don’t finish the food that’s on their plate, because they hear that little voice telling them to do so.

Where is that little voice coming from?  From their parents. In some cases, long time gone parents.

You see, if your mother or father told you things like ‘finish what’s in your plate“, or “you won’t be allowed to play unless you finish your food.” Or “No, not before you finish all your food.” Or “If you don’t finish your plate, you won’t have any deserts”, it stays with you for ever, unless you learn how to recognize such belief.

When you hear statements like that all throughout your childhood, it doesn’t go away when you grow up.  To be sure you don’t hear the physical voice of your mother telling you to finish your plate anymore, but it’s even much stronger now, because it graduated to a subconscious level.

What’s the result of this real example alone?

There’s a great number of already overweight people thinking that they have to finish what’s on their plate, subconsciously.  I’m not making this up.  This was the result of a study done a few years ago. I thought that was so interesting back then, and I think it totally illustrates how our beliefs are formed, and where they come from for the most part.

This of course is just an example to illustrate my point here, but we are literally filled with small and big beliefs that really don’t serve us anymore, and it’s our responsibility as adults, to wake up to those beliefs and get rid of them.

In my next post I will give you a few steps that you can apply to find and get rid of troublesome beliefs that keep you from moving forward.

Your turn now. Let me know what you think…

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20 thoughts on “Understanding Your Beliefs To Change Them”

  1. Hi Sylviane,

    Yes indeed, beliefs can easily be broken or changed if required. More so, if they are beliefs that you feel need to be changed.

    I liked your example of the food lying on the plate that we had to finish. I can so well relate to that because my Mom used to tell us that and in the same way, I’ve always told my kids the same, though the reason was a different one (we were old that value the food put on your plate because the poor are deprived of these tiny morsels), and we did just that. It does result in overeating and you subconsiously keep eating till your last bite even when you aren’t really hungry.

    Similarly, you tend to sit for all three square meals because you were told and taught that it’s the done or right thing. This results in you eating even when you aren’t hungry! Or then the many things that you are told to do because your parents did them and their parents did them, which might not be needed at all, yet you carry on with them because you believe that they need to be done. So, unless such beliefs are changed, you can’t really move ahead in life.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
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    1. Hi Harleena,

      Yes, we have all so many beliefs don’t we? And while some do not cause major problems for us, some do. And it’s only when we start being conscious of them, that we can remove them and move forward.

      The food in the plate was an example that illustrates how some more cumbersome beliefs can be crawling in without us to even realize it. So, awareness is key.

      Thanks for your input, Harleena.
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  2. Your mother sounds like a pretty cool Mom Sylviane. Not that I don’t love my parents but man were they strict. My Mom hammered all those beliefs she had into us. I stopped questioning things because her answer was always “because I said so”.

    The food thing about finishing all your food. I believe that’s why I was overweight growing up. I didn’t like the majority of what she fed us and she literally wouldn’t let me up from the table until I finished it all and trust me, sometimes that was after 10:00 at night so I’d been sitting there for over four hours and we all know eating late and going right to bed is the worst thing you can do.

    I’m glad that as adults we realize that we have our own minds and our own thoughts. We’re free to start questioning things and so I did over time. There are some morals and values that I have that I believe will never change but my beliefs do with time as I continue to learn.

    Glad you brought this up and hope everyone realizes this by now. Great post once again.

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Yes, my mom was a cool mom, indeed. As long as it wasn’t putting us in danger of breaking the law, we were free to do and say anything we wanted. She never treated us a “kids” in the bad sense of the term. She respected our will from toddler age. Not that she let us loose, she did disciplined us too when necessary, but she never told us, eat, sit, shut up, go to bed, do this or do that. Maybe that’s why when our friends were all complaining about their parents, my brother and I were like, wow, we don’t ever go through this at home. I remember how glad we were.

      Forcing a kid to eat is the worst think a parent can do. For Gracious sake, on this side of the world, we all eat too much anyway!

      Yes, we all have our own mind and we need to use it for our own good.

      Thanks for coming, Adrienne
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  3. Hi Sylviane,

    You are so blessed to have had a mom growing you up as a free thinker! An open mind is an intelligent one I believe!

    Well as far as our belief systems and our perceptions, they can lie very deep into the subconscious that we may not even be aware of them. I like the analogy you have given about eating everything on your plate…and then people still do, even when they are battling weight gain.

    But once we acknowledge something that gets in our way. Something that we cannot achieve on our own…there is always help out there. Once we understand how our subconscious mind works, how powerful it is, we can change it.

    I kept getting stuck on two of my irrational fears. Cognitively I knew the attachment, but the fear had been there for 30 years. Finally I went for EMDR and voila..my irrational fear has melted away. It was stuck deep in my subconscious for years and made me feel like a prisoner. Now no one wants to feel that way. By working on this problem for years and now finally found success I am a happier me!

    Bottom line is our belief system can be changed – all we have to do is try!

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    1. Hi Donna,

      Yes, I was blessed to have a mother like that, and I am thankful that I realized it back then already. I didn’t need to grow up for that. I was so aware of it at the time.

      You know some people say that we choose our parents and I wouldn’t have chosen another mother for that reason and many others, even though she wasn’t perfect of course.

      As you so well illustrates there are ways to get rid of old sticky beliefs and it does work. It’s about wanting it enough.

      Thanks for your feedback, Donna.
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  4. Sylviane,

    I really enjoyed your post. It really makes me think.

    I think it is true that we have beliefs which do not serve us in a positive way any more. I think we need to work at getting rid of those beliefs but we also need to make sure we do not get rid of the good beliefs when we get rid of the bad ones.

    I think to do this it takes sitting down and spending sometime really looking inside of our selves. Then we can figure out what we need to get rid of and what to keep.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Dee Ann
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    1. Hi Dee Ann,

      Yes, that’s right, that’s why I mentioned to take some time to observe ourselves and take a good look at what we do just by habit because we have an old belief underneath it. I think that the finishing up your plate was a good one to illustrate that. God knows lots of people don’t need to finish their plate.

      Ah, the study of the mind is something so interesting and we can do it to no end.

      Thanks for coming Dee Ann.
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  5. Hi Sylviane

    An awesome post and yes of course we can change our beliefs.

    As some of the others have said you were very fortunate to have a mum like that. Mine was more like Adrienne’s it seems. “Because I said so” was her favorite saying. Boy did we clash by the time I was a teenager!

    It was not until I got into personal development when I was in my twenties that I started to question my beliefs. Then I did it big time! Over the years I have changed so many of them so it is totally possible.

    A great post Sylviane.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      Yes, it seems that way, lots of parents, especially parents of yesterday, used to be like that. What happened with my mother is that she did her best NOT to be like her mother, so basically everything she hated about the way her mother raised her she did the opposite. I’m so thankful to my mom for that.

      Yes, no doubt that beliefs can be changed. Over the years I’ve change so many of mine too. Good for you Sue.

      Hope you are getting better and have a wonderful day 🙂
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  6. Hello Sylviane,

    Thanks for the article….beliefs are an interesting subject.
    I am curious about change steps in your next article.
    Are you also adressing the layering of beliefs?

    Kind regards, Jos

  7. Hy Sylviane –

    Thanks for writing this post – and I apologize it’s taken me four days to comment.

    I hear what you’re saying, but I think there are different levels of belief.

    I think there are generic beliefs (e.g. I’m disorganized, I suck at hanging wallpaper, I don’t like dentists, etc.) and then there are deep, core identity beliefs that – amazing as it is – we’re often not even aware of.

    The generic beliefs are easily dispatched once you become aware of them – since their roots don’t run that deep or very extensively.

    But the identity beliefs seem to me to be very, very different. The core, identity beliefs have deep and extensively tangled roots. They’re like a tumor growing in and wrapping itself throughout your spine until you can no longer tell what’s bone and what’s cancer.

    They’re not just part of you, they ARE you.

    How can you remove yourself from yourself?

    If you look closely at others you can sometimes see a lifelong inner conflict at work as they struggle to overcome their own core belief – and it usually results in some kind of lifelong contradictory behavior.

    For example, in my own life, I’ve known an individual who was very uncomfortable being emotionally intimate (or even available) yet at the same time often chose professions, volunteer opportunities, and other activities that were highly social by nature. I believe he had the genuine urge for emotional connection yet always ended up in superficial social settings.

    I’ve also known an individual who was extremely independent while at the same time worrying constantly about what others thought. She wanted to be truly independent, and often took bold and admirable action in occasional areas of her life, but her larger life was lived in the oppressive shadow of the imagined judgment of others.

    I also knew an individual who had a compulsion to confess or nervously reveal a lot of stuff (both highly personal stuff as well as meaningless details) even as he harbored much deeper secrets.

    And the other night when I was re-watching “What the $%$# Do We Know?” I had an epiphany about my own contradictory behavior (lol – I’m not going confess it here) – and everything suddenly made total sense.

    No wonder I have difficulty achieving X when my core identity and personal belief/addiction system is the opposite of X!

    I’m totally on board with the idea that if you change your beliefs, you’ll change your life, but it seems to me that when it comes to one’s core, identity beliefs, it’s simply not possible to “change” them – something else is necessary, something radical, something profound, and something currently unknown to me.
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    1. Hi Brad,

      Don’t worry for being late as I am late myself to reply here 🙂

      First of all let me tell you that I know some of the same people you know. I know of someone who was raised in such puritan environment that they had promiscuous behaviors. A lot of people are in deep mental and emotional turmoil and what you see as one side of them being one type of people, and the other side of them being the complete opposite is because on the contrary of what you’re saying your thoughts are NOT you.

      It doesn’t matter how deep and ingrained thoughts are, they are not who we REALLY are. When you see someone that is almost semi-consciously trying to do the very opposite of what seems to be their core beliefs is that their higher self is speaking to them. Of course most people don’t ever know that – they never really become conscious of this – and they just go though life like this.

      But if they were curious enough to really look at themselves and learn about their inner self. If they were to consult a coach, they would learn that they are not their thoughts and that they can change absolutely everything about themselves.

      On my following post, on Wednesday, I will try to discuss solutions to change your thoughts.
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      1. OK – I was probably having a bad week.

        I don’t really disagree with anything you’re saying here.

        But I’m still torn. I’ve done enough personal experiments to realize that identity is far more fluid than most of us like to admit.

        But at the same time, it sometimes feels like you can spend you whole life trying to overcome core, identity-related limitations and never fully break free.
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  8. This made me realize that we don’t have to stick to our beliefs even if there are negative effects on it just because we have to follow the norms. At the end of the day, we still have to stand for what we believe should be good for us and for others.
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  9. Hi Sylviane

    We need to constantly challenge all our limiting beliefs. My father was one you could never voice your opinion to, as he was always right or so he thought. Boy, have I had to do a lot of re-programming over the years! I knew in my mind I needed to escape after I got out of school, it was the only way I could grow and survive. It was a shame as there was some value in some of what he believed in and how he lived a little more carefully. Lessons I wish I had demanded in my life. But he also destroyed that, by his viewpoint on male roles.

    I have acquired focusing on goals, not necessarily how they will be achieved. If you constantly lay the ground work for something better you have to make progress. That is where I now believe anything is possible as I have a purpose for the end results. The days I have setbacks can be frustrating and clouds of doubt try to sneak back in.

    Like your example and that we can get rid of such nonsense that we grew up with. The unfortunate part is we also bring forward some of that which stifled us as children and gift it to our own, which they have to deal with. Although I did question a great deal of what I was made to believe, there was still some that I dragged into my child’s life. No such think as a perfect parent and we each have baggage which we carry into any relationship we will ever have. But I suppose as long as each generation improves on the dysfunctional part eventually we will have better adjusted offspring. I always raised her with ask anything and that is where my parents failed me badly. My daughter has taken on the attitude with her daughter as to pick and chose her battles. There is stuff she can overlook and others she will never compromise on. Her child is pretty mellow compared to her.

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    1. Hi Mary,

      When you used the word “dysfunctional” when it comes to parenting of the past, as sad as it may seems, it’s so true. If parents of back then would be parents of today they would totally be called dysfunctional. That’s why when people cry about the good old days, I say not everything was great in the good old days, and certainly not parenting

      Thank God this has changed greatly and it’s still changing for the best, in my opinion. It’s such a great thing that you and many other people could see the errors of the way they were raised and changed it as parents. My mother did just that we me and my brother. I never had children, but if I did, needless to say that I would have done my best so they wouldn’t have to carry the baggage I used to carry myself.

      Thank you for talking about your experience here.
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  10. Ahh…I can still hear my mother telling me to finish my plate of peas. I hated them, but vividly remember her telling me why I needed to finish my plate. I can say that I don’t most of the time, but then there are other times, when I do. I never thought about how past things “taught” to me still lives with me today.

    Perception and belief is something we see and hear all the time; in the news, magazines, TV etc. Someone once told me that a group of people that believe a certain way, tend to stick together, live among each other and some never leave their town. I think they know that their own beliefs might not “fly” around people outside of their circle and cause problems. Hence, why like-minded people stick together. I could be wrong, but it comes off that way to me.

    Sylviane, this was a very thought-provoking post, that made me think about the stuff I believe.
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