“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”
Is your map upside down?
Our beliefs significantly influence our behaviour and are key to our health and happiness. Our beliefs are generalisations; the inner map we use to make sense of the world. They are a collection of ideas we decide to be true and they act as perceptual filters – the lenses through which we view the world.
We form many of our beliefs very early on in life. Our loved ones, our culture, our environment and our repetitive experiences all have an influence. We believe what we’re told when we are children because our brains haven’t yet evolved to be critical of the information we receive. We have no way of evaluating the input.
Unhelpful beliefs are often the result of negative reinforcement and criticism from parents and significant others in an attempt to control our behaviour, and we come to accept these as our truths. Such beliefs may persist throughout our lives, influencing our behaviour and our ability to succeed in the broadest sense.
Hero or Zero?
Beliefs quickly become self-fulfilling prophecies – what we believe determines what we do so if we believe we can’t do something we most likely won’t even try and we will never actually find out if we’re capable. It follows then that beliefs can limit our experiences and quality of life. Conversely, if we believe something to be true, we engage in ways that make it happen.