Do you see the world through rose-colored glasses? Is the project you’re working on likely to succeed? Is the glass half-empty or half-full? Is the next person you meet going to be trustworthy? Do you see yourself as an optimist or a pessimist?
How you answer these questions depends on your basic beliefs, which, in turn, determines your world-view.
If your basic beliefs are consistent and harmonious with inbornintentions, you will look on adversity as a challenge, your relationships will flourish, you will have a high level of confidence in your own success and others will find pleasure in your company.
On the other hand, if your basic beliefs are inconsistent and contrary to inbornintentions, it will show in your responses to life’s events. You will be less trusting, more defensive, highly critical of others, easily discouraged and you will find relationships difficult.
Whatever your worldview, it was shaped by the experiences that left you with the basic beliefs that you now hold. If you want to develop a more positive outlook on life, a change in basic beliefs is in order. As explained fully in the Pathways book and website, you can accomplish this by bringing the questionable basic belief up to consciousness through introspection, forming an exact opposite in your thinking brain and then practicing behaviors consistent with this new concept.
Childhood experiences often contribute to a poor worldview. Does the following example remind you of anything you learned about yourself as you were growing up?
Throughout his childhood years, Andrew’s father repeatedly told him that he was “stupid” in a well-meaning but misguided effort to motivate him to change his behavior. Subconsciously believing this but not giving it any thought consciously, the adult Andrew came to see the world as a frightening and unmanageable place and to believe that people instantly recognize his stupidity every time he opens his mouth. As a result, he is shy and withdrawn. This poor worldview contributes to his less than optimal mental health.
One day in the grocery store, Andrew overheard a mother admonishing her son. He had to restrain an impulse to tell the mother to please not speak to her child that way, that she didn’t know what she was doing to him! Later that evening, he reflected on this incident and wondered why he reacted so strongly. Then he remembered how his father kept telling him that he was stupid, so much so that he came to believe it. This process of introspection brought a key basic belief up to consciousness.
The time happened to be right in his life for Andrew to challenge something that had bothered him for years without his even realizing it. “That is just not so! I am not stupid! I know that I have above, or at least average, intelligence. The problem is I just don’t believe it… yet!” (In his thinking brain, he formed a new concept consistent with the inbornintention human dignity.)
Note an important point here. Although Andrew consciously made a positive affirmation about his level of intelligence, but this did not change his underlying belief. Since basic beliefs come about only through experience, new experiences consistent with the new affirmation are required to change the subconscious belief. This takes time and effort.
Here are just a few behaviors that Andrew could practice to reinforce his new concept. He could:
- take every opportunity to express his opinion at work (he would formally have been too shy to do so);
- be assertive rather than passive in his interactions with his wife and others;
- ask questions when he is unsure of something (after he has done a reasonable amount of work find the answer on his own), and
- take time to sharpen his thinking and reasoning skills with mind games and puzzles like suduko.
Andrew will know that his subconscious belief has changed when he no longer has to think about choosing behaviors that are consistent with his new concept, they will just be automatic. His worldview will change for the better and his mental health will improve dramatically.
Changing a basic belief is a simple but not always easy process. You may have to overcome more than one internal objections to change, but the effort you put into developing a positive worldview will pay handsome dividends.
Please add in the comment section below other behaviors that Andrew could do to reinforce his belief in his own intelligence. What basic belief have you changed and how did you do it? I will be interested in your responses.
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