Wouldn’t it be great if it just took us to focus on what we want for it to come true? The problem is that our lives are not shaped by what we want; they are shaped by what we believe. When a belief coincides with the thing we want, it appears to come to easily to us, however when a belief contradicts what we want the belief will win every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Beliefs can be accrued over time – often passed down from our parents – or they can be formulated in a heartbeat. If you want to see people’s belief systems, look at their lives; we have beliefs around everything from money to self-esteem to love to parenting.
Let’s talk about the difference between a belief and a preference: A preference is when we would prefer something happened a certain way, a belief is a position; it is immovable if you like.
For example, let’s say you are on a first date and you believe that a man should hold the door open for a woman. If the man in question doesn’t hold the door open that is likely to push up against what you believe about men and your date could be over before it begins. On the other hand, if you have a preference for a man to hold the door open for a woman – but it doesn’t really matter if they don’t – the date is still on.
This is a very simple example, and one that doesn’t hold much charge, but look at the beliefs in your life that do hold charge. If you could change the beliefs that are deal breakers to preferences how would that change your life?
What parts of your life are painful because you hold the belief that something or someone should be other than they are?
“All of your pain lies squarely between where our life is and where we think it should be” – Byron Katie.
Preferences give rise to opportunities to grow, limiting beliefs around ourselves and others close them down.
A preference is saying, “I would like it if …”
A belief says, “It should be …”
Strong beliefs say “it has to be this way”, which in some instances can of course be helpful, but in the main strong beliefs limit our possibilities rather than expand them.
Let’s look at one of the biggest misconceptions in terms of beliefs: Seeing is believing, right?
Well here’s the thing: If you believe it you will most certainly see it somewhere in your life. Our lives are a representation of our beliefs in 3D; it’s how our beliefs realise themselves physically. This applies both in the positive and the negative.
However here’s where you need to be careful and pay attention. Many people would argue, “I believed I would marry this man or get that job,” or whatever it was they wanted – but was it actually a belief or just a desire?
In other words was a desire sabotaged deep down by a conflicting belief?
How many of us almost get there – wherever “there” is – only to find that it doesn’t quite work out for some reason.
This is not life being unkind; it simply means that there was a contradictory belief somewhere that blocked the realisation of a desire.
Once you begin to really understand that what you see in your life is a manifestation of what you believe, you can begin to work with your beliefs to your advantage rather than having them silently controlling the landscape of your experience.