Changing Belief
12th March 2012
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We tend to think of belief as an experience like fancying someone - it's not something we ourselves choose or construct, it just is kinda how we feel. Though it is true that belief is usually shaped by experience, what we believe about ourselves can, with training be changed into whatever we want!

This is for two reasons. Firstly, what really matters to us is not whatever might actually be going on "out there", but rather what our perception tells us, i.e. what we've concluded - rightly or wrongly - is going on. Even if everyone else around you hates where you are, if you love it, then it's a source of joy, regardless of the popular opinion. The second reason is that what you are is not fixed, but is in fact changing moment by moment as you receive and respond to new experiences.

If you want to change what you believe about yourself, the first requirement is an obvious one - you must believe that change is possible. If you have decided that there's no way you can ever be anything else, you have effectively sentenced yourself to a lifetime of being a particular way. The second requirement is to be able to focus your mind on how you want to be.

The mind does not necessarily respond to what's around it. It responds to whatever has your attention. Most people are quite good at focusing on something in front of them so long as it's new, highly absorbing, entertaining or a challenge, but if what you're doing is routine, uninteresting or undemanding, the mind tends to wander. Unfortunately most people's minds go looking for trouble - somthing to worry about! This can be an impending problem in the future, a current situation or a bad memory.

This default tendency to focus on trouble is an obselete defence mechanism. An important survival behaviour in our primordial past, in our fast-paced complex modern civilisation, it has become a handicap, preventing us from realizing our potential and making us distressed in the process!

Focus is a bit like breathing - we can consciously take control of our breathing, or, as we do do most of the time, we can let it get on with the job of oxygenating us at its own pace. Focus is the same. We normally just let it wander onto a default issue, but we can also take control of it and place it on whatever we want.

To change your belief about yourself, you must take control of your focus and direct it onto the person you want to be. With the power of your imagination, focus on this ideal version of you, how he looks and what he is doing. Keep this up every day and an amazing thing happens - you start to become that person! Opportunities and circumstances arise that enable you to be that person increasingly more!

This is not necessarily something magical or metaphysical - just neuroscience in action! As you visualise yourself in a certain way, the resulting patterns of thought subtly change your body chemistry and your behaviour, which in turn subtly affects those around you to respond differently. People able to help you with the right connections respond to you, recognising a like-minded person. Before you know it the universe seems to be magically granting your wishes, but you have actually made it happen yourself!

Obviously your goal has to be realistic. If your are my age, you are not going to be the next Usain Bolt. But choose an achievable goal, and focus upon it every day, and you will eventually find yourself believing, rightly, that you now are this new person!

However, it's hard work at first, your focus, unused to being manually controlled, will at first need constant "reeling in" from wherever it has wandered off to, but as you get used to directing it onto your ideal self, it comes easier, and eventually automatic. The only thing standing in your way is disbelieving change is possible. If you are open-minded, focus your mind on your ideal self every day for six weeks. You will become a believer in belief!

About the Author


Member since: 26th April 2012

I am a fully qualified and experienced hypnotherapist, Reiki practitioner and Stress Counsellor, based in Undercliffe, Bradford. I am proud to be a volunteer therapist for Bradford Cancer Support

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