I'm a counselor and freelance writer with years of online writing experience. My writing covers a large range of topics.
Our Reality and Our Beliefs
How Our Beliefs Affect Our Reality
Why do two people experience the same event differently? Why do siblings who grow up in the same household have different interpretations about the household they grew up in? Have you ever felt as though there was a mismatch between what you want for yourself and what actually happens to you? Well, the answer may begin with your belief system.
We make sense of the world through the interpretation of our mind and thoughts. Our brain receives signals from the senses we pick up in and around our environment. We all have different brains, different interpretations, and perspectives of what our reality is. We all see color differently, we don’t hear things the same way, we taste differently, we pick up smells differently, and our sense our touch varies from one individual to another. We think differently, our temperament and personalities are different. Our emotions and our psychological makeup are factors, too. We react in different ways to other people who experience the same event. Our realities are different from each other and we often don’t realize this. Each of us is unique. Each of us experiences the world based in large part on our memories, our beliefs, our thought processes, our attitudes about ourselves and others. Each of us has lived in a world shaped by our experiences, our families, our religion, our culture, our education, and our social contacts. These influences strongly form our opinions and are typically unconscious. How we respond to others, interact with others, and our self-talk and decision making depends on how we make sense of the world around us.
Beliefs and Reality
Memories and Reality
The reality we sort out originates in every memory we have experienced. Memories are not exact facts. Our brain doesn’t store recollections in its exact form. Our memories are formed from some vivid, some vague, not total verbatim recreations based on associations and implicit/explicit acquired knowledge.
To a large extent, we fill in the blanks to make our memories seem more complete, and this can even alter our memory. Our memory began with a reality we filtered based on the beliefs we formed from our learned past and our sense of who we are. Our current interpretations are influenced by the thoughts we believe. We have all had different experiences, different ways our minds work, and different perspectives, which makes my reality slightly different than your reality, and your reality different than everyone else in the world. In essence, our beliefs cause us to live in our own little world, coexisting with every other human in their own little world. Events, facts, and reality are all objective, and how we make sense of these happenings are subjective.
Our Belief System and Who We Are
Our beliefs, which we often don’t even realize we are relying on, are one of the most primitive, yet important components of how our mind works. Our beliefs are so important. They help form our personality, define who we are, and give us our sense of identity.
Our beliefs cause us to react in certain ways, influence our opinions of others, and help us perceive what we sense around us. Our inspiration, our passions, our likes, our dislikes, our behavior, and our thoughts are connected to our belief system. Our opinions about others, about racism, politics, prejudice, religion, our career choices, who we choose for mates, and friends, and the things we teach our children and our view on the world come from our personal belief system.
We associate with people and things to support what we believe. In turn, the people we associate with, the experiences we have, our profession, and how others react to us, alter or validate our personal belief system. Beliefs affect our behavior, and our experiences affect our beliefs. Our reality is framed by our belief system. Our belief system filters out those things that don’t fit our reality.
What Are Core Beliefs?
Our core beliefs define the essence of who we are, what we think about others, our environment, and our future. Core beliefs are rigid and strongly held beliefs that often make our opinion inflexible because the belief was ingrained from childhood, memorable events, and significant circumstances.
Core beliefs are maintained by focusing on information that supports these beliefs and ignoring information that doesn’t fit with the beliefs. As the focus strengthens our core beliefs, the tendency to question these thoughts becomes less and less. With nothing to contradict the beliefs, they are accepted and become hard to rid ourselves of.
Many of these core beliefs are negative thoughts about ourselves, such as being unlovable, or incompetent, hopeless, or helpless. These core beliefs limit our ability, our quality of life, and inhibit us from self-empowerment and a greater sense of ourselves.
Our Belief System Guides Us
How to Change Your Core Beliefs
The more these thoughts stay unchallenged, the more ingrained they become, and the more they limit your quest to be happier, to achieve, to experience more, and to gain emotional freedom. You can help yourself become more aware of your self-beliefs because most self-beliefs are unhelpful thoughts:
- Create a belief diary—write your thoughts down about yourself, about other people, about your world and look for a recurring pattern.
- Then ask yourself: If that is true, what does it really mean? What is negative about this? What does this mean for me? What does this say about me?
- Then challenge yourself: What experiences do I have that show this belief is not totally true, or true at all? Write down everything!
- Show yourself that these experiences prove your limiting beliefs are unhelpful. Then develop an alternative to create a more balanced belief system for yourself.
- Act against your long-held core beliefs.
- Do things that confirm your new beliefs. Be nurturing to yourself. Give yourself tender loving care. Give yourself positive self-affirmations. Work hard to turn what you have always believed into some new and constructive views about yourself, about others, and about your world.
- Act against the old core beliefs. Ask yourself, if you really believe your new beliefs, how would you act, what would you do and then go out and do it.
Challenge these self-thoughts and see how they have held up against your experiences. This is all harder than it looks. Many mental health therapists are trained to help you work through this difficulty. Although it is hard work to change your self-defeating core beliefs, you will emerge better, stronger, wiser, freer, and happier when you rid yourself of the very thoughts holding you back.
Belief System and Success
Beliefs are part of our moral framework. They guide us to picking friends and mates. Our beliefs are integral to our success, our career choices, our quality of life, and how we interact with everyone we meet. Our beliefs persuade us in directions and manifest themselves in prejudice and our views on the religion, politics, money, and our lifestyle.
We view people, objects, and events as good or bad because of our beliefs. Many of our beliefs are handed down from one generation to another, from our culture, our society, and those we are associated with. All of these beliefs are done largely on an unconscious level.
Our beliefs act as a filter for all the information that comes across our path. Our senses pick up what is going on in our environment, who we meet, what we see and guide our brain’s response. Our belief system is part of the foundation of who we are. It gives us a sense of stability. When we are faced with new information, we assess it against our own knowledge. Our belief system is part of the architecture and structure of our interpretation of the world. These beliefs are embedded in our brain.
Our Beliefs Make Our Reality
How Our Belief System Affects Our Health
You can change your beliefs by isolating these beliefs from the reality of events that really aren’t confirming these beliefs. Attitudes and how we react are based on our beliefs. When this stimulus is cut off, the beliefs weaken. In the meantime, new beliefs are being reinforced. This will shift the emphasis that was previously on the original self-defeating core belief to a new, current, more realistic, positive belief.
Beliefs also affect our health. Our health and behavior is dictated by several types of beliefs:
- Consequences of engaging in a particular behavior
- Our own vulnerability
- Negative or positive effects of the change would cause
- Reality of being able to do enact the necessary behaviors
This can help predict whether people will stop smoking, take particular health precautions towards skin cancer, self-care such as flossing teeth, breast self-exams, safe sex, and eating balanced meals.
Beliefs, Reality, and Self
When we feel stressed, it is natural to go back to our old ways, and old thought patterns.
Beliefs are hard to change and easy to go back to when it that seems a logical match to what we know, what attracts us, and things that compel us. People tend to strongly hold their beliefs to be true. When we deny, discredit, disbelieve, obvious evidence that contradicts the core beliefs, it is known as belief perseverance. This occurs when people don’t want to accept, misinterpret, or choose to take the information as insignificant, even when there is evidence to the contrary. This is why changing core beliefs is so difficult. Beliefs form our attitudes and behaviors, our impressions, how we react to authority, our interpersonal connections, group decision making and affect all our social knowledge.
Our subjective thinking can incorrectly impact every decision and action we make. Who we are on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level is affected by our core beliefs. These beliefs dwell within us on so many levels. How we see the world is dictated by our belief system. Through our belief system we:
- Perceive the world
- Draw the line betwee good and bad,
- Influence what we think is true or not
- What we believe is possible
- What our reality is
- Affect our attitude in positive aand negative ways
- Form our character
- Influence our relationships
- Determine our choices
- Factor into our health
- Affect our passions
- Impact our happiness level
What We Think Is Related to What We Believe
Our Belief System Shapes Our Reality
Each of us is guided by our own very complex set of beliefs that shape who we are and how we view the world. Our belief system organizes our world and interprets the stimuli that flow at us at an overwhelming pace. Our senses perceive things every minute of every day.
Our belief system sits there mostly unbeknownst to us. We rarely question it, and left to its own devices, our belief system can derail us and become self-fulfilling prophecies if these deeply held perceptions run opposite our desires. It works like this: we believe, we think, we act, or don’t act.
Our perceptions and our actions are shaped by our belief system. Our belief system is not solid and not fixed. We can change. To do this, we must be aware of what our belief system is telling us and how it is guiding us. Left unchecked, a belief system will make your reality what it wants to be, not necessarily what you want for yourself.