Beliefs – Nice ideas or hard wired facts?

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A belief is something that we hold to be true. When we hold something to be true we will inevitable behave in alignment with it.

If I believe that there is no point – I will behave and think as if there is no point

If I believe I will make it through – I will behave and think as if I will make it through.

Our beliefs dictate our thinking and our actions. For the most part beliefs are nothing more than learned ideas passed down to us by parents, school and society and religious institutions.

The most important thing to know is that beliefs are not THE truth, they are simply A truth. What this means is that a belief is an interpretation of something, it is not ‘how it is’.

Beliefs are created through how we evaluate events. This has been known since ancient greece. The problem that we have is that as individuals we only have so much life experience and life awareness. We only have a limited lens through which we see life.

When we say something is true, what we are in fact saying is that with what I have seen and learned up until now I conclude that this is how it is. Often we don’t even have to see or learn to believe something we simply take other people words for it without any investigation on our behalf at all.

Most of this non investigated thinking and believing starts when we are children when parents and teachers simply say things like “well that’s just how it is” or stop asking questions, thousands of other people believe this so it must be true”

But is this really the case? I would have to say no. Parents and teachers often believe what they believe simply because that is what they were told.

There is a great little story that demonstrates this very well:

A young bride is preparing pot roast for dinner. Her husband watches as she carefully cuts each end off the roast before putting it in the roasting pan and placing it in the oven.

“Why did you cut the ends off the roast?” he asks.

“I donʼt know, I think it makes it taste better,” she replies, “ my mother taught me.” The next time the young woman talks to her mother, she asks about trimming the ends off the pot roast.

“I donʼt know why,” her mother answers, “but thatʼs how your grandmother always did it.”

On a visit to her grandmother, the young woman asks about the pot roast.

“Oh,” replies the grandmother, “I had to. Is that simply because my roasting pan was too small to fit the entire roast.”

In this story the brides mother had watched her mother prepare the roast a couple of times by cutting the end of the roast off and simply came to the conclusion that was the way it gets done. This then got passed on down through the family as a belief that it was nessesary.

It’s amazing to investigate just how many of our beliefs are inherited this way and when these beliefs are the cause of our unhappiness, depression, ill health, lack of success etc it’s time to update.

Author: Alistair Horscroft

March 25, 2018

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