Throughout your life, you have formed a set of values and meanings to make sense of the world you live in. These values and meanings constitute your beliefs and your beliefs are what you hold to be true about life. Your beliefs are at the core of your existence and you wouldn’t be the person you are now without them.
Beliefs are very important. The only reason you act and behave the way you do is because of your beliefs. For example, people who believe in God will act in a way conducive with their belief – praying or going to church for example. If you don’t believe in a God, it is very unlikely you’ll pray to one.
This pattern follows in most areas of our lives and here are three very powerful beliefs that can hurt you and spoil your quality of life. They are beliefs common to stress, anxiety and depression and they underpin these illnesses. Do you hold any or all of the following beliefs:
1. I’m helpless and hopeless. I can’t do anything, things are totally beyond my control and there’s no point in trying to do anything about it because nothing I do ever works. This is a very powerful and limiting belief. If you believe that you are helpless, then you will act accordingly because you won’t take action to change things. Why would you if you strongly believe it is a hopeless cause? Helplessness is learned and it is also flawed. Many people are blind to the power they possess and a belief in helplessness keeps them in the dark. But just as helplessness is learned, it can be unlearned.
2. Nobody loves me. I’m an effort to be with, I bore people and I never have anything interesting to say. It’s much better if I stay alone and don’t inflict myself on others and spoil their happiness. OK, it was very hard for me to write the last few lines because they’re exactly what someone I loved dearly said to me on many occasions when we were due to socialize with friends. Hearing such words cuts you to ribbons, my word it is such a destructive belief. If you believe this, you will act accordingly by isolating yourself from others. You’ll find excuses so you don’t have to go out and when you do, you will sit in silence and try to melt into the background. And as you won’t be engaging with others, this belief will be re-enforced. Another aspect: people who believe this will put themselves down when others question them.
So, someone says “you’re quiet tonight, are you OK?” Will get a “well, that’s me, I haven’t really got anything interesting to say so I’ll keep quiet and not bore anyone.” Honestly, I’ve seen this happen many times. Even when they’ve been loved, even when they’ve had family and friends who loved them and enjoyed their company, this belief blinded them to all of it. Can you see how the belief comes first no matter what is happening in reality? In other words, it is THE BELIEF causing the harm, not others. Not family, not friends, but the belief and if you strongly believe this, nothing will convince you otherwise until you start to question and test this belief.
3. Finally, perhaps the most limiting belief of all. Be honest with me here when I ask: Do you believe it is wrong to be blissfully happy? The obvious immediate reaction is “yes, of course!”. But stop for a second because this is important. Very few people truly believe this. They see others struggle in life and believe that it is wrong to be happy while others suffer. Feeling happy makes them feel guilty. Also, you may hold a deep-seated belief that there has to be suffering in life, that somehow, suffering brings enlightenment. If you are happy, then you’re selfish and this is wrong because the happiness of others comes before yours and you must sacrifice your happiness for the greater good. But you have a right enjoy a happy life. There is no value in suffering and there is nothing to feel guilty about in being happy. Believing otherwise will mean you will act in a way that spoils happiness and continually robs it from you.
Please examine the beliefs you hold. Question their validity and if they’re making you stressed, anxious or depressed, then please understand they can be unlearned and replaced with better ones.
Until next time.
Copyright 2006 Christopher Green
Former anxiety sufferer Chris Green is the author of “Conquering Stress”, the internationally acclaimed program which will help you to permanently conquer stress, depression and anxiety without taking powerful drugs. For a free mini course, please click here => http://www.conqueringstress.com