Our beliefs give birth to our behavior.
It is what lies under the surface that will do the most harm.
When you Google ‘what are beliefs’ the first definition is “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists”.
The key word here is ‘acceptance’. Beliefs are built by information, ideas and conclusions that we accept.
Beliefs are often given to us by external parties, society, parents, friends etc.
Beliefs are also based on stories that we tell ourselves about some thing, which just make sense to us and so we go on acting as if those stories are 100% the truth.
I’m a firm supporter of the ABC model proposed by CBT, where A is the event or trigger, B is the belief and C is the consequence or effect. It gives us a great guideline for analyzing our results sometimes. What this model proposes is that beliefs have consequences which on many occasions are emotional. We experience a trigger, and we experience an effect, and how often do we check to see what the belief is that led us to this consequence? Well I’m human, so I am pretty sure that we seldom do. We spend so much time as human beings trying to impart our beliefs or defend them. The question here is why?
It is our beliefs that determine our behavior and in fact you only have to take one good look around you at all of the circumstances you have and there are the direct results of your beliefs about yourself and the world because you went on to behave in ways to create those things.
Beliefs often become rigid structures we try to sleep under and expect that it will provide the ultimate shelter. Except, all beliefs have limitations – they are all stories that have holes in them. And if you pitch your tent with holes in the roof and torrential rain happens, then you will get wet. When a life changing event which is totally new happens for us, and it is like a strong gust of wind that blows away our tent – We are now exposed to the one true reality – That this thing we call the ego is constantly trying to fulfil some primordial urge to keep us safe, by keeping us the same or by referencing the past or an unknown future at all times. This ego construct wants to keep us out of harm in terms of our beliefs and it completely hijacks our identity.
And if I’m being completely candid here, this fucking sucks as a mechanism to have because we are then interpreting multiple situations with the same belief systems. This is when we make ourselves prisoners to fear and miss out on a lot of the good that could come from being open to learning something new.
We get an affirmative mental payoff for the behavior which follows the beliefs.
Our beliefs about something dictate how we go on to act. We always have a series of cognitions which occur before we carry out a behavior. When I say affirmative mental payoff, what I really mean is whatever we think and can then justify determines our action. So we don’t really see impure intentions if that ends up being the result. We don’t really see dangerous situations, or anger, or sadness if that ends up being the result. Sometimes we do things, we rationalize and self justify and end up doing or saying something that could potentially be harmful to us or others. And sometimes the only time that we see that we have an unhelpful belief is when we go on to hurt ourselves or others. Its an interesting game that we love to play and all the walls we build around our identity act like chess pieces.
So how can you ever really be sure that the things which you believe are true?