Beliefs are what you presume to be true about yourself, others and the world. They are ideas: thoughts that provide a rule of thumb about how things are, and how life works.
So, beliefs can be useful for navigating life. However, here’s the rub:
Personal beliefs can limit or extend what you are willing to consider possible in life.
For example, if you believe there’s a scarcity of opportunities for you in life, then you are less likely to go out and look for career, relationships, and meaningful opportunities for getting the life you want.
Whereas, if you believe there’s an abundance of opportunity for you, then you’re more likely to get out there looking for opportunities and fully participate in your life.
Of course, beliefs can also protect you from harm. Believing that humans don’t fly, generally protects you from the risk of getting injured by jumping from tall buildings.
But, the belief that humans don’t fly didn’t stop the Wright brothers from taking the numerous calculated risks necessary to invent planes.
So, how come so many people get stuck, unable to get out there and get what they want in life?
Well sometimes it’s to do with perception.
Once you presume your belief is true, it is likely that you will only notice (perceive) evidence that supports your view and ignore evidence to the contrary.
And that means you can get stuck in a pattern of faulty logic, a web woven by your own fallible beliefs.
Just like the researcher who wants evidence to support their theory, we fail to notice our own researcher bias influencing our search criteria.
So, what’s to be done for those that believe they are inherently not enough, plagued by self-doubt and predict they will always be that way in the future. Well for starters, increasing awareness that beliefs about themselves may, or may not, be true can be a useful first step. It can help you start ask, How do I know that this is true? What is the evidence?
Another step can be to recognise that:
Many beliefs are picked up from family, friends and cultural contexts. Your beliefs are not necessarily your own.
So, you may want to start exploring your beliefs:
- what do you currently believe about yourself?
- how reliable is the evidence that your beliefs are based on?
- how are your current beliefs working for you?
And finally, know that:
Whatever belief you buy into influences your experience of life, so if you want to overcome self-doubt, choose to buy into those ideas about yourself, others and world that support your development of self-belief.