Of inner beliefs

Edelweiss

Recently I have been reading about inner beliefs and the way they affect our thoughts. Inner beliefs are very strong views about the world or ourselves and are automatic, because they are deeply ingrained in ourselves. Sometimes these can be distorted, which causes us to have unhealthy negative thoughts.

Some examples of inner beliefs that cause negative thinking – I can certainly recognise a few for myself:

  • My worth as a person depends on what other people think of me.
  • If I can’t do something well, there’s no point in doing it at all.
  • Unless I’m loved, I can’t be happy.
  • I must be useful, productive or creative, or life has no purpose.
  • It’s shameful to show signs of weakness.
  • If I’m alone, then I’ll be lonely and miserable.
  • You should always put other people first, not to do so is selfish.

Our beliefs have developed in the course of the years and have been influenced by our experiences, such as early life experience within the family or personal relationships. For our inner health, we have to challenge negative beliefs we may have.

But how to do that? Well, it’s necessary to change our stance, explore different and more affirmative perspectives. This is a process that will require time and effort. Initially, we have to become aware of those unhealthy inner beliefs that drag us down. Once we learnt to recognise them, we can start acting on them when they appear. With time and practice, we can improve our interaction with the world, the way we think and how this affects our feelings and inner balance. (Some of you may recognise CBT ideas in these words)

flowers

Some examples of more helpful positive inner beliefs can be:

  • Everyone makes mistakes.
  • I do many things well.
  • My own opinion of myself is most important.
  • There are many people who like me.

Because the way we think affects the way we feel, it’s very important to have a positive way of thinking. We could imagine our thoughts as being the leaves of our tree, while the beliefs would be its roots. The latter are hidden, but run deep and feed the tree of our life. If the roots are poisoned, the tree will be ill and may die. Healthy roots will keep the tree stable and make it grow well.

There are techniques to uncover your unhelpful inner beliefs: for example, when having a thought that causes us distress, we can drill down to the roots of such thought, to expose the inner belief that is at the foundation of the distressing thought. Once we know the deep cause, we can attempt to change.

secret garden

Another important component of a healthy relation to ourselves is to acknowledge our successes – small and big. Often, we don’t give a second thought to our achievements, but dwell long on pondering about our failures or shortcomings. I do that all too often, but I decided to change this part of my behaviour. Writing down our daily/weekly successes could be a way to record and stick them in our memory.

Further, when we recognise an achievement of ours, we also need to take credit for it. So instead of “I won the award because the competition was weak“, it’s better to acknowledge (if true) that “I won it because I’m a good student/scientist/artist/other“.

I shared a few of the topics I’ve been reading and pondering about recently. I hope that you found some wisdom in these, or it made for an interesting read. Well done for reading up to this point!

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28 thoughts on “Of inner beliefs

  1. Flora Poste says:

    Dear Judith, Well done for making this post! I love it and really it is true: positive thinking is skill you can train and get better at! Iner beliefs and inner balance ad feeling that inner core…so beautiful. Thak you for sharing,hugs and ♥ Johanna

    • itwasjudith says:

      Dear Johanna,
      Thank you for your words!
      The post is a bit different from my usual topics, but I just had these thoughts going around in my mind, and I wanted to share them 🙂
      We may not not realise that we’re holding unhealthy ways of thinking, and become aware of that it’s a great step towards a more balanced life.
      Love & hugs back, Judith

  2. I really enjoyed reading the examples of negative beliefs – we all know that it’s silly to think these things, but we can’t always help it. I’m lucky in that I’m a positive thinker and confident in myself – that’s half the battle. Interesting thoughts…

  3. Febr12 says:

    It’s true that these inner thoughts have so much strength and have such an influence in who we are and what we do.
    Loved reading this post.

  4. I grew up in a society where there are a lot of the poor. I’ve read on press, known and seen a lot of stories how people are so miserable in their lives. Comparing to that, I know I am still much luckier than millions of people out there. That’s how I keep my inner beliefs strong and positive.

    • itwasjudith says:

      H Anh,
      Thanks for your comment.
      You’re right. Most of us have better life conditions than large part of the world population, although we may not know or remember!
      It’s also important to realise and acknowledge our own qualities and achievements for a healthy self-confidence 🙂
      Have a nice day,
      Judith

  5. The timing on this post is perfect. I strugle with some of those negative thoughts, and I can see they come from deep down in my “roots”. Right now I am trying to decide whether to participate in a craft fair. I really want to, but I don’t have many things to sell. This shouldn’t matter, because I go to show people hand spinning, which I love to do. But we put so much value on sales that it becomes how we measure our worth. It is hard to belive in ourselves sometimes.

    Thanks for giving me some tools to dig into those roots! 🙂

    • itwasjudith says:

      You’re most welcome! I’m glad that it can be of help 🙂 I’m doing some reading to help with depressed mood and anxiety.
      You’re absolutely right, we seem to measure all by the revenue or other quantitative criteria, but we forgot that sometimes it’s about ourselves and what we love instead..
      I hope you will participate in the fair and if you do, please post pictures 🙂 I’m fascinated by hand spinning although I never tried it

      PS I love the picture you have as header in your blog, is that your creation?

      • Yes, that is some of my handspun. Mix of bought wool and some from my sheep.
        It is strange how deeply ingrained some behaviors are. I never finished my University degree, (and I failed my A levels, and left the USA before finishing high school! So no official graduation!) I am a mother and crafter, and trying to find the courage to call myself an artist. It is taking time, but I am getting closer and only I can do it, (for me). So it is interesting to think about the way I think and react, and how that effects my opinion of myself.
        Not sure if I am making sense, but it is good to try and sort this stuff out. 🙂

      • itwasjudith says:

        what you’re saying makes perfectly sense to me 🙂 not finishing something, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth doing… sometimes there is more to it than just the success of graduation or a piece of paper to acknowledge achievement. whatever we do and experience has something in it that we bring with us. For example, learning is not just passing an exam. We can still learn from attending a course, even if we don’t actually take the exam. Also, there are so many online & offline resources nowadays, that formal education is not the only way to knowledge and skills 🙂 It’s important to respect one self and see the good things we have inside and can share with others. hugs & all the best

  6. kfklever says:

    I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award
    http://kfklever.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/how-lovely/

  7. My life changed dramatically when my prayers became 99% gratitude for what I have instead of asking for what I thought I wanted. Even instead of asking for help to get rid of or overcome a weakness, I began to be thankful for the strength I had had already received — or if I had not, just for the DESIRE for the strength that I acknowledge had come from outside of me. An “attitude of gratitude” has given me joy.

    • itwasjudith says:

      Yes, gratitude brings a positive feeling about, which enables us to feel and live better 🙂
      I think that we should maximise our positive energy (i.e. our attitude etc) and that thing already will help us a lot, as well as helping others around us

  8. Pia says:

    I have reserved feelings for CBT, because I think the scope is too narrow. Or should I say, rather, I’d like more tools in my box, because it’s not that it’s entirely useless either.

    One important thing to remember is to not hit yourself over the head when you do have negative thoughts and emotions, nobody can select to feel only the positive all the time. That would be like asking a pendulum to only swing to one side. If you catch yourself doing it, and then reason it away/let it go/whatever works for you to break the negative output, then you have still done a good job. The first step is noticing the destructive habit, becoming aware – a huge step in my opinion. The trick perhaps is not to always think positive, but to believe less and less in the negative that emerges.

    • itwasjudith says:

      Hello Pia,
      Thanks for reading my post, I know it’s not a light read!
      You’re absolutely right, and wish I had formulated my post in a better/clearer way 😉
      I very much agree on taking a more holistic and natural (to our inner spirit) approach.
      I guess that I was just trying to highlight the importance, as you pointed out, of noticing the destructive habits (awareness) and grant less belief to the negative that emerges (which does not always hold a rightful foundation).
      I also agree that CBT is not the only and the ultimate/perfect tool, but it’s a way to start the process, the journey to a healthier relation to oneself 🙂
      I think it’ll take time, but the process has started for me, so I feel positive overall, despite the inevitable lows and drawbacks.
      All the best,
      Judith

      • Pia says:

        Best wishes on your journey! And yes, some of the CBT “quickfixes” are great to get you started, I just tend to get really really bored with all their schematics. I guess I’m a round peg. 😉

      • itwasjudith says:

        i understand that feeling… it feels a bit like “insert coin, push this button, get the product, feel better, be happy forever after” 😉 a bit simplistic
        Thank you for your support!

      • Pia says:

        Yes, and if you then don’t make it, you feel like YOU have failed, not the method. Which is totally wrong of course. The reason there are so many teachers and varieties is that all people don’t understand in the same way. And that’s fine.

      • itwasjudith says:

        luckily i’m well aware (wisdom of being middle aged?) that methods are just that, not magic recipes that always work and solve everything. Same as with doctors and physicians… all is relative and nothing is suitable for all occasions and people.
        I like to explore and find out what works for me, along the way I come across some interesting things, which I then take with me. The rest is put down as experience, so nothing is really lost or a waste of time/energy.
        I’m also planning to re-read Siddartha soon 🙂

      • Pia says:

        Ooh, I haven’t read that for at least 25 years. One that I sometimes browse through now is Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho.

      • itwasjudith says:

        haven’t read any of his books yet 🙂
        until recently, I was finding difficult to concentrate enough on a book without leaving it half way through 😛 very strange, given that i devoured books as a teen!

      • Pia says:

        Stress will do that to your brain. I thought for a long while that every year I’d get more and more stupid compared to earlier. But it’s coming back to me now, better concentration too.

      • itwasjudith says:

        exactly that feeling!

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