Why What You Believe in Matters

My best friend believes that only good things will happen to her. Her belief in this statement is so strong that nothing can deter her resolve to enjoy life to its fullest. Even though my storyteller brain tries its best to feed her with the worst probable situations, she always pooh-poohs them away with a simple and yet very grand, “we can manage it” phrase. True to her words, she has developed the ability to handle the worst of situations with the best of minds, and views her life as an eternal spring time.

When I asked my husband about his strongest belief, he replied saying that he believed he would retire soon to lead a happier life. From his announcement, I understood his faith in the emotion of happiness. Throughout his life, my husband has built a pattern of reaching out to his happiness. Unhappy with his mother’s plans for his life, he went ahead with his own goals, achieving steady success and is now, in the process of getting ready to climb down this mountain, happily.

And this brings me to my own belief, which is…um…

What on earth do I believe in?

After pondering over my belief for over two years, and coming up with no satisfying answer to the question, I decided to conduct some serious introspection to get to the bottom of why I was unable to locate my belief.

Like with every introspective adventure that I get into, this question took me to my childhood. As I stood there watching the memories of my deepest thoughts, I tried to catch something that could resemble a belief. And guess what, I came up with several childhood beliefs.

The first belief that I was able to reach out was the one of equality – that I was as good as the person next to me. I laughed as soon as I saw this window because I knew a couple of years of hard-core primary class bullying was up ahead waiting out there for me. This experience would soon send my belief in equality down the drain. I also immediately felt extremely sad for the little me.

The next belief that I came across, was the one that told me that things would get better. As a child prone to frequent epileptic fits, I had held onto this belief for quite a while in the hope that one seizure would not follow another. And yet, one seizure did follow another. After years of hanging onto the belief, I let go of it, since it essentially got quashed time and again.

Throughout my introspective time, I realized that I had developed a pattern of growing believes and also casting them aside. As an adult, I had even cast aside my faith in the almighty.

So technically, I don’t believe in anything!

And what’s the big deal with that?

Do we really need something to believe in? How does it matter whether we believe in anything or not?! Shit is going to happen, anyway!

And with that very one statement, my dear reader, I establish my current strongest belief – the belief that things can never be the smooth sailing that we hope things will turn out to be. My experiences throughout my life has installed this belief silently into my system.

Now how does my belief shape me?

Our strongest belief is also our strongest emotion. It is that magnet that pulls us towards itself. If you believe in happiness, you will swim through the tide to reach for your pieces of happiness. This works the other way round as well. If you believe that life is full of sorrow, then you will find yourself continuously swimming towards this piece of land.

But life is not one half! It has a bit of everything in it!

And if that is your firm belief, then hurray! you have received your enlightenment. If it is not, then you are simply destined to lead yourself towards your belief. Because a belief is a strong statement within our head. It is the statements inside our head that lead our brain towards its destinations.

Every strong statement is created out of either of the two things.

The first base for the formation of a belief, is strong emotion that etches itself into the mind – the emotion becomes the idea. As in the case with both my friend and my husband. An intense experience of happiness could have caused them to fall in love with the idea of happiness.

The second way a belief is formed, is out of repetition, where the idea becomes the emotion. And this is where we arrive at the situation of yours truly. After habituating my brain to repeated lines of “uselessness” from my bully, and repeated experiences of disappointment through my illness, my belief in the idea of “shit happens” is something that has become etched into the lines of my neural network.

If I have trained my brain to see shit, it will only give me shit to see. And life’s design, is as simple as that.

How do we undo this situation?

Is your belief doing you good? If it is, then you don’t have to read any further (unless you want to). If, on the other hand, you have, over the course of reading this post, come to the realization that your belief is unhinging your life, then understand this simple life lesson. If birth can get unhinged by death, then death too can get unhinged by birth. It is the way of life for everything in this universe – both alive and dead.

Since birth and death, by itself are a part of cycle, keep in mind that while everything that has been hinged can get unhinged; the opposite also holds true. Everything that has been unhinged can also get hinged.

The proof for the above statement lies in the absolute fact the brain’s plasticity. The proof also lies in the fact that the grand belief of a flat earth was unhinged from the mass brain. Change for the better is very, very possible, indeed.

You don’t know what you believe in: Hey, welcome to the jungle! I was in this area, and it has been a pretty interesting ride so far. So, why don’t you put on your hiking boots and go on an introspective journey to figure out what your belief is. Work on the answers to these questions;

  • What are your strongest ideas from your childhood? It could be everything from faith in people to confidence in yourself. 
  • What were the experiences that shaped or unshaped these ideas?
  • Now, pick up your lost beliefs and hold them in your hand. Are they still close to your heart? 
  • Have your old beliefs given way to new ones? If so, are the new beliefs helpful or unhelpful?
  • Do you want to hold onto your beliefs, or let them go?

After my own introspective adventure, I have realized that I want to hold onto one of my childhood beliefs – the one that was founded on equality. For I know that if I work with this one very belief in mind, it will lead me to catch up with my second belief – that things will get better soon. For the future has to always remain something that we look forward to.

How-to create or change a belief: To change the ways of the brain, is no mean task. To undo the wiring that has developed over a lifetime requires a generous ounce of patience, hard work and self-compassion. There is no easy way out. But then, if life were a smooth ride, it would be just as boring as well. What’s a life without its challenges to overcome, and one hell of a story to tell at the end of it all?!

So, here’s to the strongest belief of them all – per aspera ad astra – through hardships to the stars!

One comment

  1. I believe that the only thing constant is change itself! We don’t know what will change or when…So as the mystery of life unveils itself slowly, it’s for us to decide how we handle it at every phase!

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