Prior essays have laid the foundation and this essay aims to take us up a notch. To where? To a new understanding of our own power.
To take life to the next level, you need a framework. And the framework you have is your set of beliefs. Think of your beliefs as scaffolding. You can only climb as high as the scaffolding allows.
If your belief structure limits you, I have good news. You can change your beliefs. And if your belief structure tops out, you get to create new beliefs to help you grow. How? You practice new ideas.
This work is so simplistic that at times I feel silly making these points, but then I find myself in an unaware sort of mindset, practicing beliefs in auto-pilot mode, which can be cozy, but doesn’t always lead to a system that helps me. So I am reminding myself, as much as I am reminding you: you can change what you think and what you believe.
If your scaffolding is rigid and difficult to bend, you might be stuck in a belief system. If that set of beliefs helps you, feel free to stay where you are. But if you are ready to grow or change, then you’ll likely need some new beliefs. How do you know you need new beliefs? There are many ways. You could feel tense. You might be experiencing a negative emotion. Or you could simply be unable to get to where you want to go in life.
Wanting and believing are two separate things. You can want and believe it’s impossible. Or you can want and believe your want is attainable. It’s really that simple. You get to choose. Many of us briefly take a detour into what I call Door Number 3. Here, we pretend that we don’t want what we really want because that seems easier than confronting the reality that we can’t have what we want. This is magical thinking. The trick is to own the want and then change your beliefs.
Wanting and believing are two separate things. You can want and believe it’s impossible. Or you can want and believe your want is attainable. It’s really that simple. You get to choose.
What you believe about yourself, your higher power and your own trajectory affects the trajectory that you are on. So why not seek out scaffolding that grows with you for life? To establish a set of good, working beliefs, you start where you are. You check in with yourself to discern what you believe, and then you take a close look at those beliefs to see if they are serving you.
This blog is not about my beliefs, even if I do on occasion cajole you to reach for a better belief. In this reaching, you lift yourself to new heights and from there you can go in any direction.
As you lift, here are some guidelines to consider:
- Is your old belief restrictive, limiting, or out of date? If so, consider a new, improved belief.
- Does your current belief limit what you can do, achieve, or become? If so, choose a better one.
- Do your ideas of yourself leave room for you to change, grow and try new things? If so, keep that belief.
- Does your belief system leave room for you to change your mind and thus change your belief system? If so, be glad.
- Do you need new beliefs to support you in new activities you want to try? If so, create new beliefs.
- Are your beliefs your own, or have you inherited them? Your own beliefs will always be more relevant.
We talk a lot, in religious communities, about faith, but not much about the malleability of our beliefs. I see belief work as foundational to a life well lived, as it is the literal scaffolding upon which you build the life you live.
Have you kicked the tires on your beliefs? Have you done the work to select beliefs that support you and those you love? Where can you opt for a more expansive belief and change your relationship with yourself?