5 Things You Need to Know About Your Beliefs

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Are your thoughts and beliefs helping you achieve your goal or holding you back? 

We all talk to ourselves (oh yes we do!) We spend a lot of our time in our own heads. The question is, how does this impact our confidence, self-belief, drive, motivation, and the general opinion of ourselves and the world? This often comes down to what you tell yourself on a regular basis. 

I encourage you to take some time to think about what you tell yourself most often.

Spend 10 minutes writing a list of your most commonly thought statements; they could be beliefs you have about yourself or the world. Then consider the impact these things might be having on your life and/or work. Make a commitment to yourself to be more aware of what you tell yourself and how that could be impacting you. 

Beliefs are usually statements

For example, I am lucky, I am likeable, I am intelligent, I am stupid, I am unlovable etc. But how true are our beliefs? How are they impacting our life? And, what if we want to change a belief?  

Our core beliefs are the assumptions we make about ourselves and our place in the world. They are formed during childhood and by the age of 7, they form the foundation of our personality.

They influence our thoughts and interpretations of the world.

As a teenager, our thoughts, experiences, and surroundings contribute to the evidence which reinforces our belief system. By the time we hit our mid-20’s our beliefs are cemented into our personality. After this point, it takes a lot of effort to change a core belief if it isn’t helpful.

Read on to find out 5 things you should know about your beliefs.

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Our beliefs influence how we think

Research suggests that when we ask a question our brain searches for an answer. So, if we hold a belief like “I can’t do this” and ask ourselves “why can’t I do this” our brain searches for all the reasons why you can’t do something.

If we believe we can do something we’re more likely to ask “how can I do this?” and as a result, the brain searches for a solution. This means that having positive beliefs develop “can do” thinking in our brain which is key to success when achieving our goals.


Negative beliefs are incredibly damaging

How many times a day do you say something negative to yourself about yourself? What impact does this have? Behavioral scientists and child psychologists generally accept that children under 5 receive 10 or more negative phrases from their parents for every 1 positive.

Whether perceived or actual, the comment holds the same power. These then contribute to our belief system which, as an adult, significantly influences the way we see the world. As a result, we end up saying these negative things to ourselves instead of hearing them from our parents. Negative beliefs create fear, a lack of confidence, and reduced self-belief. If you’re not taking action towards a goal you really want, it’s probably because a belief is holding you back.


Your beliefs are your own

We all have beliefs we hold about ourselves and about the world. Take a few minutes now to write down the 10 beliefs you say to yourself most often. What does this tell you? It’s important that you own your beliefs and don’t let others influence how you feel about them.

E.g.: you could hold a belief that “you are capable of anything.” You may find this belief incredibly motivating. However, another person may find this belief puts pressure on them and so has the opposite effect. Just because it doesn’t work for them doesn’t mean it won’t work for you! Own your beliefs! Regardless of where they’ve come from, they are yours and yours alone. 


Some beliefs have more control than others

The strength of the belief will depend upon how often it has been said, thought, or proven to be right. The beliefs that hold the most power, have the most control over how we see the world and the experiences we have.

Unfortunately, for most of us, these beliefs are negative and lead to us seeing the world through tinted lenses. As a result, we can often wonder up a fantasy ladder, believing something to be true rather than only true to us.

Next time you feel yourself wearing tinted glasses pause and ask yourself what the facts are, rather than what your opinion or assumption is about what just happened. You’ll find that you see things differently when sticking to just the facts and asking questions to figure out the rest.


You can change your beliefs

In Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, we teach clients who suffer from cognitive distortions (inaccurate thoughts our minds have convinced us are true) to dig deep into their beliefs in order to assess whether they are true. This leads to the client often wanting to re-frame their belief into something more representative of the reality.

For example, a client might use an overgeneralization where they state “I’m always wrong.” By supporting the client to look deeper into this they might realize that actually there is evidence to support that there have been times where they’ve been right. This realization alone reduces the power the belief holds over the client.

A further re-framing exercise also supports the client to tackle the belief each time it presents itself by reciting the re-framed belief as a way to remind themselves of what is actually true. E.g.: “I’m not always wrong, there are times when I have been right too.” Try it for yourself! Identify an unhelpful belief you hold, find evidence for and against it, and then re-frame it into something more useful. It makes a huge difference!

Taking the time to understand our beliefs and how they impact who we are, what we think, how we behave, and how we see the world is a key part of any personal development journey. Once you have this awareness you can decide which beliefs you want to keep and which you want to re-frame or dig deeper into. Then, step by step you can start to re-shape your world into a positive, exciting, engaging place full of opportunity and adventure….or whatever it is you want it to be.  

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About the Author

Stacey O'Callaghan

Stacey O’Callaghan

Life Coach

Hi, I’m Stacey and I’ve spent 12 years helping people take back control. Working with me goes beyond the goal we’re working on. It provides the opportunity for mindset growth and transformational change.

I use distinction accredited psychological techniques to achieve these results and empower people to own and adjust their behavior so they can achieve their own definition of thriving. With my help, you form a clear vision of what thriving means for you whether that be at work or in your personal life, and we create an action plan outlining how to achieve it. To book a consultation with SJS Coaching Services, visit www.sjscoachingservices.com/consultations

This article was re-posted with permission from the author, Stacey O’Callaghan, at SJS Coaching.

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