Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Change Your Beliefs - Change Your Reality

It is often said that if you change your beliefs you change your reality.  I am not talking about a belief in Santa Clause or whether Princess Diana was assassinated or not.  I mean unconscious beliefs. 

Lessons learned in life become beliefs about our reality.  Our reality is just a representation of how we see the world.  Our world is then viewed through a set of filters, or beliefs, to create our experience.  Those beliefs are stored in our unconscious mind and affect how we live our lives.  When we make assumptions, judgements and decisions, we are filtering information through these beliefs to reach a conclusion.  That conclusion is the meaning we give to something, it can be positive or negative, safe or unsafe, true or false.  All the lessons we have ever learned create our belief system and the belief system is always running in the background like a software programme on a computer with safety as the number one priority.

The human eye can see a spectrum of colour but it doesn’t see everything – our eyes cannot see clearly in the dark.  When the eyes see shadows and shapes in the darkness, the brain will call upon previous experience to interpret this information as best it can to build up a more accurate picture.  For example, shadows in the darkness can seem threatening to some people, and unusual sounds might create anxiety.  Imagine walking home alone on a dark night hearing footsteps in the distance and seeing a shadowy figure behind you, it would be easy to get carried away by fear and anxiety as the brain searches for a meaning.  All too soon your imagination presents you with images of Jack the Ripper or a mugger who wants to attack and rob you.  In an instant your body is flooded with fight or flight chemicals preparing you to run for your life or fight off an attacker.  Your belief system kicked in and interpreted the available information as danger. 

Consider the limiting effects in adulthood of the following lessons learned in childhood:

·      You are wrong most of the time
·      You are ineffective a lot of the time
·      You should just do what you are told without question
·      “I want” doesn’t get…
·      Disagreeing with others is bad
·      Spending too much money is foolish
·      Life is hard
·      Relationships don’t last
·      People you love are taken away from you

What if we believed all or some of these things to be true?  We would live our lives in a very limited way and self-sabotaging way.  Life, as we see it, would be filtered through those automatic subconscious beliefs.    The effects might include a lack of self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, fear of commitment, workaholic attitudes, behaving like a victim, fear of confrontation and fear of failure.  Can you imagine the effects of these beliefs on our moods, our health and our happiness? Many people hold onto limiting beliefs because they are unaware of them.

What if you believed these instead?

·      You can achieve anything you set your mind to
·      You deserve the best car you can get
·      You are as good as anyone else in the world
·      Life is what you make it
·      Everyone has equal right to express their opinions
·      You can succeed
·      Your value is priceless
·      The older you get the wiser you get

Life would be completely different and the effects of these beliefs might include feeling empowered, an ability to set and achieve realistic goals, confidence, good self worth and a balanced life.

How do we find out what unhelpful beliefs underlie areas of our life that are unsuccessful and find out what is stopping us from being happy and fulfilled? 

Case study.  John is approaching 40 and has had one failed relationship after another.  He would like to settle down and have a family but seems to attract the wrong people into his life who let him down time after time. He starts to drink heavily and gets into bad company.  Pretty soon his boss calls him in for a chat and tells him his work is not up to scratch, he is sloppy, he makes mistakes and his colleagues say he is bad tempered and snappy.  He is given a verbal warning to sort himself out or put his job at risk.  John now becomes anxious, stressed, suffers from insomnia and is heading for depression.  As time goes on he eventually decides to seek help and have hypnotherapy for stress.

During assessment it becomes clear that John is down on himself, he has low self-esteem and blames all his problems on circumstances.  The boss is an idiot; he only drinks as much as anyone else in the office; he makes mistakes because he is overworked; women can’t be trusted; he gets invited to the pub after work most evenings and feels obliged to go.  In fact, he is lonely and all he really wants is to meet someone, settle down and have a family.  My question was – what is stopping you?  He knew that it had something to do with his mother leaving when he was 13 and he had issues with trust. We explored John’s belief system and he identified 3 self-sabotaging beliefs: People you love are taken away from you; Women can’t be trusted; Relationships don’t last.

Hypnotherapy helped John to identify the filters that had been put in place when he was 13.  He was living his life since then finding ways of keeping safe but sabotaging his happiness.  Some of the things we uncovered were: his thinking was distorted, he was seeing things in all or nothing terms, he was afraid of failure, and he was holding back his affection. Once he realised that he could remove the unhelpful filters (beliefs) and change the meaning he gave to life he could create new beliefs based on facts.  He put 3 new beliefs in place: Most people are trustworthy; you get out of a relationship what you put into it; it doesn’t hurt to open up and let people see your feelings.  John’s problems at work had their roots elsewhere.  He learned to become conscious of his thinking styles and spot the distortions, he learned how to relax and sleep well, he learned how to be assertive and say no without feeling guilty, he learned how to look at things from other perspectives, he learned that there are many different shades of grey and things don’t have to be black or white.  I worked with John over a few months and he found that he could finally accept his life with all it’s ups and downs, he was able to release the trauma of his mother leaving, he began to love himself for what he was and he started going out and having fun again.  His sleep improved, his began to take pride in his work again and he started dating. 

I had a post card from John six months later thanking me for my help and telling me that he had met someone and fallen in love.  They were to be married abroad.  I was over the moon for him and all it took was for John to change his beliefs.

If you would like help with changing beliefs, or any other issues that stop you from feeling happy, get in touch for a free consultation.

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