What you believe becomes your reality. I was having a conversation the other day about the upcoming election and when I asked the person about their opinion on the candidates they said something along the lines of:
“I don’t know very much about either candidate, but I’m a Republican so I’m going to be voting for the Republican candidate.”
A few things about this statement jumped out at me right away. First off, there were more than two candidates running for the position in question. It surprised me that the other candidates didn’t even cross this person’s mind simply because they weren’t affiliate with one of the two major political parties. The second thing that struck me was how this person was able to come to a conclusion about who they would vote for based entirely on a limited belief that they have of them self and the person they chose. I asked this person:
“Well do you know anything about the candidate other than the fact that they call themselves a Republican?”
“Well, not really. But I generally align myself with the basic beliefs of the Republican party so that’s where I’ll stand on this election.”
This individual was able to come to a conclusion about what this candidate believed without knowing anything else about them other than the fact that they were Republican. They had a belief in their mind about what it means to be a Republican and used that internal idea to create an image of this candidate that they felt comfortable enough with to cast their vote for them. I thought this was crazy but then I began to realize that this is something that many of us do very frequently. It’s called creating a reality based on our beliefs.
Over the course of our lives we form beliefs based on the collective information that we gain from the day we are born up to this exact moment. By reading these lines off of your computer screen right now you are adding information to your stockpile that will contribute to your beliefs. Some beliefs are positive and uplifting while others are self limiting and detrimental to our happiness and success.
I think of our beliefs as falling into two categories
- Self Limiting Beliefs – These are restricting beliefs that prevent us from truly understand our world and how it works
- Self Lifting Beliefs – These are positive and uplifting beliefs that help us get closer to happiness and compassion
Either way, what you believe will trigger your mind to search for evidence to support your belief.
For example, if I believe that God exists then I will interpret things that happen in my life as “blessings” or “acts of god”. Where as if I don’t believe in God, I will try to explain these so called “miracles” away with some sort of scientific explanation or chalk it up to “luck”.
Self Limiting Beliefs
Self Limiting Beliefs are like living your life inside a box that you made for yourself. Many of these beliefs are formed by a collective opinion of similar people. These are things like stereotypes based on a person’s race, nationality or gender. Having a belief about yourself or someone else based entirely on one of these factors is very self limiting. Another example is a statement a friend of mine made not too long ago:
“Women are just more emotional then men. I can’t help but feel this way.”
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being an emotional person, but saying that you have no control over your feelings because of the way you believe women (or men) are supposed to feel is a way of directing responsibility away from yourself and accepting your fate as inevitable. You will never become more emotionally strong or more open minded during election time if you associate yourself with a limiting belief. Your belief will manifest itself into reality and you will then sit there and say to the world “I told you so! Those Democrats can never be trusted!” or something similar.
Many people find comfort in their self limiting beliefs because when they find other people with the same perspective as them, they get a feeling of acceptance and it re-enforces their own beliefs. This is a false sense of security and it prevents us from being fully open to the concept of accepting other people’s ideas as worthy of consideration.
We humans have a tendency to want to have everything figured out. We have a hard time accepting the fact that there are many things we don’t know and probably never will. Holding these beliefs may help us feel better about our situation but it actually holds us back from uncovering the truth or simply accepting the fact that there is no right or wrong answer to some questions.
Self Lifting Beliefs
Beliefs that encourage you and help you become happier and more compassionate are very helpful in life. Repeating positive affirmations on a daily basis will help you experience life in a beautiful way. About a year and a half ago I started writing things down every day that I appreciate and I would start of by saying to myself:
“I am a happy person and I have many things in my life to be grateful for.”
Just repeating this simple idea to myself every day has truly transformed my life! Even when things are going wrong it is easy for me to reach into my bag of things I’m grateful for and find comfort again.
Another Self Lifting belief that I hold is that I have complete control over my emotions. Everyone has times where they’re running late or perform poorly on a test but not everyone reacts to these situations the same way. I hold myself accountable for how I feel and how I react to each event. This belief has helped me stay calm and content in some very stressful situations and it’s all because of my belief that I am in control.
So in conclusion, I encourage you to identify and let go of your own Self Limiting Beliefs and instead try to keep an open mind and focus on Self Lifting Beliefs that put yourself in control of your life and lead you to greater happiness and compassion. What you believe will become your reality, so you truly get to choose what kind of life you are going to live.
It is time to start living your life without that box!