Be a Better You in 365 Days Challenge – Day 41 Beliefs Uncensored
Hey everyone! Welcome to Day 41 of the 365 Challenge!
Yesterday, we took some time to listen in on our inner dialogue, or self-talk. Inner dialogues are the conversations we have in our head, where no one can listen in. What are the conversations taking place inside your head? Are you aware of them? How many of them are positive? How many are negative? How many are neutral?
Being aware of your inner dialogue is the first step to conscious growth. After all if you are not conscious of what’s going on inside (your head), it’s hard to have power over your actions and behaviours, which are the result of your inner dialogue. From my study in personal development work these years, I suspect there are about at least a hundred inner conversations going on in our mind every time, sometimes more, sometimes less. These are all running in the background, just like your computer has many programs running in the background (minimized or hidden). Each conversation takes up mental RAM and influences your resulting thought.
Most of us, however, are only aware of a very small number of the conversations, usually only active conversation that’s going on. There are still 99.9% of inner conversations to be explored and uncovered, and that can be done through the inner dialogue exercise for Day 40. The more you uncover and become aware of each conversation, the more you progress in growth.
As you become more aware of your inner dialogue, and as you listen to it more often over time, you’ll find there are clear patterns in what you think about. For example, perhaps you have a conversation that you’re not good enough for what you want. Or a conversation about how you’re not beautiful/good looking enough. Or one about you can’t seem to do anything right. Or how maybe you’re not destined for love. And even as you override your inner dialogue each time it crops up, it seems to be okay for that instance, but reappears later on. Some of you mentioned in the comments yesterday too, of how you have to keep reminding yourself not to think in a certain way or that the thoughts come back in a different situation.
That’s because your inner dialogue is only an effect of something else. Your actions are the effect of your inner dialogue. Your inner dialogue, on the other hand, is the effect of certain underlying beliefs, which is the effect of something else. And that’s the focus of today’s tasks. Today we want to understand what’s shaping those inner conversations. Today we’ll be looking into our beliefs.
Day 41 – Your Beliefs
What are beliefs? Beliefs are certain opinions or convictions on how things should be. For example, the opinion that “the earth is flat” is as much a belief as the opinion that “the earth is round”.
Beliefs are created from somewhere, at the point when we had contact with certain stimuli/input. From there, we formed a conclusion, and a belief is formed. All of us form beliefs on a regular basis, though the bulk of our beliefs are actually formed when we were young, since that was when we were blank slates that were new to the world, and very much mouldable and impressionable. Almost all input we received when young were translated into beliefs, since we had no experiences to cross reference with. This is why when society told us we should get a good job and earn lots of money when we were young, we followed that as a goal.
Because we’re all brought up in different places, by different people, experiencing different situations in our life, we have different beliefs. Someone born in America, male, an employee and a Christian, is going to have very different beliefs from say, a Japanese female who is a business owner and a Jew. Even people who are born of the same country with the same background will have different beliefs, since we literally experience life from different lens. Which is good in its own way, because different beliefs means diversity, which enables us to grow.
Every belief serves a purpose. It’s formed to help you live a better life. However, while beliefs are formed with the best intentions, not all of our beliefs serve us in the way they were meant to. Some beliefs are good – they empower us and help us live better lives (e.g., “My ideal life is mine to undertake”). Some are disempowering – they draw away our energy and power (e.g., “I’m not good looking enough to be loved”). Some are neutral and don’t particularly do anything other than to inform (e.g., “The chair is brown”).
Whether a belief is good, bad or neutral, is specific to the context. Some beliefs that are good in some situations can prove to be limiting in the overall context of life. For example, let’s say you had a 3-year relationship with someone you love a lot. And in the end he/she cheated on you. Such a traumatic experience would give rise to a huge list of beliefs, including ones like “All guys/girls cannot be trusted”, “I can never be loved”, “I don’t deserve love”, “I’m not good enough”, “There’s no such thing like ever after”, and so on. While these beliefs are “good” in the context of this situation, because it helps to protect you from being hurt, in the larger context it’s clearly limiting, because it prevents you from being the best you can be, and from receiving love from others.
Our past incidences and experiences give rise to our beliefs, which in turn give rise to the inner dialogue you hear every day. You can try to clear out negative self-talk, which is great, but you’ll find that they seem to pop up after that. That’s because the cause has not been uncovered. It’s underneath, generating more negative self-talk after you remove them. Imagine you have a program that is coded wrongly. You execute the program, and what happens is it keeps generating an error message repeatedly. You close the error box, but the next one pops up. Again, and again, and again. No matter how many times you close it, the error keeps appearing. That’s because the source of the wrong coding is not uncovered and addressed.
Let’s say you have weed in the garden and you want to remove it. What would you do? If you cut the weed with scissors, or you just mow it with a lawnmower, it’ll always grow out eventually. That’s because the root of the weed still remains. To remove the weed totally, you’ve to remove the root.
Today’s task is about examining our beliefs and understanding how they came about.
Uncover Your Beliefs: Digging Exercise
Start on a new page of your journal, notebook or something you can write on…. On top, write “My Beliefs”. We probably have about a million beliefs sitting in our mind, but we’re going to focus on the ones most closely tied with us and our personal growth.
- Look through at your answers for yesterday’s Inner Dialogue exercise. Since the point of this exercise is to unlock limitations and live a better life, we’ll be examining the negative dialogues. Example of negative dialogues can be: “I’m not good enough”, “I can never find a nice relationship partner”, “No one likes me”, “No one can be trusted; You have to be careful around people”, etc.
- Pick out the dialogue which you’re interested to explore more.
- For this dialogue, ask yourself: “Why do I think this way?” Then write down all the answers that come up.
- I call this the digging exercise, which I use with all my coaching clients. It’s to drill down to the root of the situation, after which you can then eradicate them.
- It brings you to a specific incident / situation where the original belief first formed. Before the incident, you never had the belief. It was after that where you thought that way.
- It stops being about the external situation/person/the world and is about yourself instead. From external, to internal.
- It gives you an a-ha moment and an insight which you’d never thought of before.
- Ask yourself if this belief is true in the context outside of the situation. Consider taking on the perspective of (a) Your friends (b) Someone whom you look up to (c) A random person in the world. Will the person think the same way?
- Ask yourself whether holding on to this belief is helping you to be your best and to live a better life. If not, is it time then to let go of this belief and adopt a new, more empowering one?
- If you answered yes to #6, what are the new, empowering beliefs you want to adopt in place of this?
Repeat the exercise for any other negative/limiting dialogue that you may experience.
Day 41 Reflection for 365 Challenge
- Is there anything you learned today?
- If so, what is it? Write it down.
Share Your Answers!
Share in the comments and tell us you are doing. Report back at the end to share your progress!