BELIEFS | THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HOUSEKEEPING #1
In nature all animals, have developed ways to remove waste in order to maintain good health. Animals regularly groom and maintain their fur, feathers or skin. They get rid of foreign objects such as insects, leaves, dirt, and parasites. Internally, they have digestive system that filter the nutrients and get rid of the waste. Animals not only take care of their bodies, but also their homes, their burrows, their dens or their nests.
In fact every organism has some way of getting rid of waste.
With plants, for instance, the shape of their leaves directs and concentrates rain water into paths to wash away dirt and dust. They also get rid of their waste in the form of oxygen and any extra water by secreting little of drops of moisture on the tips of leaves. Some plants store waste in leaves that will fall off with the seasons.
We humans do the same with our bodies and with our homes.
When we were kids, we were routinely taught these practices. We had rituals like brushing your teeth, washing hands, going to the bathroom and bathing regularly. As kids we were conditioned daily and as a result, as adults we perform these daily practices without question. We don’t just brush our teeth on Mondays and expect the whole week to go well. We do it every day.
As a society, we have not given the same importance to mental housekeeping. We think it obvious that we need to clean our bodies and homes regularly, but we don’t apply the same rule to our minds. Our minds are similar to our bodies and houses, where dust and junk gathers overtime. We can be emotional hoarders, hoarding overtime thoughts, beliefs and ideologies that no longer serve us. Mental housekeeping is the act of taking care of your powerful mental home.
We need to regularly take inventory of our mind, examine what thoughts and beliefs are outdated, and either update them or completely remove them. What experiences and memories are we are replaying over and over, going through the same painful jaded emotions even though that moment was way back in the past.
Just as old rotten food in a fridge has the potential to spread contamination to the good food, old rotting experiences of the past can plague your enjoyment in the current moment. The only way is to throw away the rotten food, clean your fridge and put new fresh food, and the same principle applies to our mind.
Old beliefs that are no longer helpful need to be updated with new more relevant beliefs. You would not entertain the idea of making food from old rotting ingredients. But we make so many of our current life decisions with old rotting beliefs.
When we clean our house, we don’t just sweep the dust or other rubbish under the rug. Even with our bodies, we get rid of our waste, the body will never allow us shove it back. It gets rid of it one way or the other. We have do the same with old negative thoughts and beliefs. We take what is useful from it, and get rid of the rest.
So what are Beliefs?
In the most simplistic way, beliefs are assumptions that we hold to be true. They are not facts, just because you believe in something doesn’t mean it holds true for everyone else. Beliefs are very powerful to an individual behavior. They are like embedded commands or rules.
Beliefs are the lens through which we see the world. They filter our experience of the reality. They form our expectations. We create an experience from our belief system, and we also take or learn from an experience on the basis of our belief system. Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy.
You may have two people go through a similar experience and get very different responses based on their belief system. One might say they learned a lot from it and are empowered from that experience, the other might brand it horrible and dis-empowering.
A repeated thought becomes a belief, a belief creates the pattern and our actions are regulated by those beliefs. It like a loop, your beliefs will dictate your actions that create results that will reinforce your beliefs.
For example if you have a limiting belief like “I don’t have enough money”, that belief is a command to your brain to find evidence of that in your reality. You will look at your bank accounts, the bills you need to pay, the debt that you have. Your brain will come up with lots of evidence supporting it. That’s its job. It will sound perfectly reasonable and valid and making your belief true for you. Our brain likes consistency, beliefs are like framework for the brain to filter our reality.
On the contrary, if you have belief like “I always enough money” your brain will starting finding evidence on those lines. You may find more work, or find deals, charge more for your services etc that reinforces that belief.
It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
A lot of our beliefs are not even our own.
When we are little we follow our parents footsteps even if we don’t like them. So many of our beliefs are just what we have heard or have learned from our parents, family, environment or experiences.
Beliefs are often nothing more than conclusions we have drawn based on our childhood experiences.
Some beliefs might have worked in the past but may not have any relevance now.
For example, “don’t talk to strangers” might have been beneficial when you were young to keep you safe but as an adult it could make you shy away from new people and miss out business and networking opportunities.
Identify your beliefs.
Do you need to interrogate each and every belief you have? Unless you are supremely efficient, and have all the time in the world and ability to go through each and every belief, that doesn’t seem practical. A lot of beliefs are subconscious so we may not be even aware of them.
One of the best way is to examine areas of your life that are working and areas that are not. For example, maybe you have a happy marriage with overall loving family situation. Then, it’s probably safe to say, your beliefs regarding that are working for you. But if you notice, that your financial situation, not matter how hard you try, is not what you would like it to be, then it’s safe to say that maybe there are some limiting beliefs that may hindering your progress.
Beliefs are different from knowledge.
Your intellectual opinion about something can sometimes be quite different from your belief about it.
For example, there are many intelligent people who know a lot about investing money and will even have in-depth views about ways of making and investing money. But they might have a subconscious belief that “money is evil”, or “all rich people are corrupt”. They have might have in depth intellectual knowledge about money and investments, but their personal finance will depict a very different story.
The results you’ve produced in the various areas of your life is the best indicator of your belief on the topic rather than your opinion.
A lot of our beliefs are subconscious, therefore you consciously may have an informed opinion on something, but your belief on that topic might be completely different.
Another example would be, a lot of people know about the adverse health effects of alcohol, but will still indulge in it. They might have all the knowledge on how detrimental it is but they might have a belief that indulging in it brings them comfort or familiarity.
One simple exercise is to question your beliefs.
Is this belief true to you?
Is this belief still adding value to your life?
Do your beliefs actually make you a better person and push you to achieve in your life, or do they limit you and hold you back?
Awareness is the key.
A simple yet effective practice is to create awareness. During the day, just stop and ask yourself what are you thinking? Observe your thought from a neutral point, so you are not swayed by the emotion of the thought and then ask, “Is this thought adding value to my life or not.”
If it’s a negative thought, what would be a more valuable positive thought you could replace it with?
With this practice, you will became aware of what you are thinking.
Another exercise is writing it down. When something in your environment triggers you, notice the underlying belief. Write that belief in your journal.
Ask questions like:
When did I first start believing this belief ?
Who taught me this belief?
Did I ever question this belief or seek to educate myself on this?
How will not changing this belief affect my life?
What positive belief I could replace it with?
How will the positive belief add to my happiness and well being?
New beliefs take time.
It takes time and persistence to scrub out old beliefs and soak in new ones. A new belief is a new connection in your brain. To strengthen this connection, it must be backed with consistent changes to your thoughts, language, environment and actions to helps program it in. Everything must align to support your new empowering belief.
The only life you have to live is yours. The only mind you can have control over is yours. You are not your mind, your mind is tool. You have the luxury to think whatever you want. You could choose to think positive uplifting thought or you could choose to think a negative depreciating thought. The choice is yours. It’s simple but not necessarily easy.
You have the choice to see the glass half empty, or half full or both? What matters is, is it adding value to your life. If yes, keep going. If no, either update the belief or replace it with a more relevant one.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right.”
I hope this helps in reminding you, that you are a powerful creator. In order to achieve success you beliefs must be in congruent to your goals. Tell us in the comments below, a powerful belief that has supported you and a negative belief you would like to change.
Love to hear from you.
Thank you and Namaste.