A STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO CHANGE ONE’S BELIEF SYSTEM
In this article, we present is a step by step guide on how to change those beliefs that have taken a hold of us.
1. Break the belief: Breaking a belief is that hardest part of the whole process. It’s easier said than done. Beliefs are formed over a long period and the longer the belief has stayed, the longer it will take to break it. To break a belief, we can start to gather evidence against the already developed belief. Let’s say we believe we’re shy and have been told the same by our friends & family. We want to change that now. We can start with retrospection, gather evidence of the times when we weren’t too reserved. If we don’t get much evidence, we can start by going out more and pushing ourselves to socialize & interact more with others. This is the part which is challenging for most people, as challenging a belief can seem equivalent to waging a war with our own self. However, for growth to occur, one must face conflict.
2. Change the mindset: We need to change our mindset when we’re planning to change the beliefs. Changing the way we think, seeking other perspectives, or a neutral perspective will give us an insight about how our belief is different from others, what we can do to change our actions and behavior, learn how a person with the desired belief thinks, start thinking more in terms of how specifically the desired belief would change us. The more specific we are, the better.
3. Take repeated action: Some beliefs can be changed by giving ourselves recurring affirmations or repeating the beliefs whereas some beliefs require repeated actions to challenge and change them. Making a daily goal to take action towards our desired belief and keeping track through journaling helps immensely. For example: If we want to get over our fear of public speaking, we can start by speaking in front of a few people every day. Starting small and then gradually increasing the difficulty level will help us grow effectively here. Repeated action will lead to better results which will increase our faith in our newly developed beliefs. We tend to believe what we experience repeatedly.
4. Failing is part of learning: Changing beliefs has no fixed time period. It can take from days to even years. It depends on the belief and the efforts put in. Initially we might face repeated setbacks. If we stop at these setbacks our existing belief will start to become stronger. Learning from our mistakes will help us to progress. An effective way is to ask ourselves ‘How could I have done this differently?’, ‘Why did this happen?’, ‘What can I learn from it?’, etc.
5. Reward yourself: Every time we get things done correctly, we must reward ourselves. Treat ourselves with that piece of chocolate we like, take a nice warm shower, or go watch a movie. Rewarding ourselves informs the brain that we’re supposed to feel good. Rewarding will also make us feel motivated to repeat our actions again and again.
6. Take care of judgements: No one has ever benefitted from excessively negative judgements. Sometimes during the process of changing our beliefs, we find that we are cursing ourselves or judging ourselves. At such times, we must remind ourselves that these are just emotional reactions. We must stop and be kind to our own self. Whenever we’re changing beliefs, it is natural for our existing beliefs to backfire in order to protect their existence. Our mind is much more complex than we realize. The mind throws undesired emotional reactions and judgements at us. The key is to be objective rather than being subjective. We may observe these judgements but not attach ourselves to them.
So, there it is, the secret to changing beliefs. Now we have the power to change what we believe, however, obviously, like every other skill, changing our beliefs too requires persistence. The more we practice, the better we get at it. Likewise, the more we work on strengthening a belief, the stronger it will get. So let’s be aware of what belief we strengthen, as it could determine our actions, our thoughts, our mental health and even our entire life.
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