Creating Empowering Beliefs

Creating Empowering Beliefs

Before we go any further in our journey to create some new empowering beliefs, make sure you have read our article entitled “What are Beliefs“.

Grab a pen and paper, or open a word document on your computer. I want you to spend 15-20 minutes now just emptying your head of all of the beliefs you hold about yourself, both empowering and limiting. You may surprise yourself as you write these down. This is an important exercise to do and I urge you to do it now before reading any further.

When I first did this exercise, I could not identify a single empowering belief. Every belief that I held was limiting. Was it any reason that depression was consuming me, my weight was constantly rising, and I turned to food for comfort?

Examples of Beliefs

If you are finding it difficult to identify your beliefs, then it can help to have some examples. Beliefs tend to fall into two categories: “I” statements (statements about yourself) and Global Beliefs (beliefs you have about other people and life).

Examples of Limiting Beliefs
Some limiting and empowering beliefs that are common around weight issues

Creating New Empowering Beliefs

Now that you have identified the beliefs you hold about yourself, both empowering (hopefully) and limiting, it’s time to start cultivating the life you want and deserve.

Recognise the Falsehood

Take each limiting belief and begin to question them, breaking them down. Here are some questions to work through with each belief. Again, make sure that you take the time to do this, it may be the most powerful thing you do in your journey of change.

  1. Where did this belief come from? Where is my evidence?
  2. Is this evidence correct? What else could it mean?
  3. What has been distorted, deleted, generalised?
  4. In what ways will my life be limited if I continue to hold this belief?
  5. What belief can I adopt instead that will empower me?

References

We briefly mentioned references in the last article. So what are references? Tony Robbins explains it like this, and I am yet to find a more well-defined alternative: Imagine a belief as being a table top. A table needs to have legs so for this belief to be held up there must be some legs. We can think of these legs as being references. References are the pieces of evidence that we use to hold up our belief. If you break down the references, then the belief crumbles.

When we form a new belief, there must be references to back it up. It could be something that you have heard from a family member. It could be from past experience. The important thing to remember, however, is that references for limiting beliefs also pass through our filters.

empowering beliefs - don't limiting your challenges

We delete, distort and generalise our experiences. You may hold a belief that all dogs are dangerous. This belief could have come from being bitten by a dog when you were younger. All dogs are dangerous is the generalisation. It could be that you were giving the dog a treat and it went for it a bit quicker than you expected, catching your fingers with its teeth. So then you distort the information available to you to back up your belief.

A negative experience will always be more powerful that a 1000 positive experiences.

The Brain and Survival

You have no doubt heard that your brain is not designed to keep you happy, it’s designed to help you survive. A negative experience to your brain is far more valuable in its quest to keep you alive. Taking our dog example, you could have given treats to thousands of dogs and your brain would not really take note, but that one negative experience is interpreted as a threat by your brain. It then stores this memory as important. When you see a dog in the future, your brain instantly creates anxiety (the fight/flight/freeze response) because the dog is seen as a threat.

But what if you don’t have any references to back up your new empowering beliefs? Simple, create them. Your brain cannot distinguish reality from imagination. Once you have created a new empowering belief, imagine it as if it were true. Close your eyes and imagine it as vividly as possible. If it were true, what would you see, what would you hear, what would you feel? Create the new resources in your imagination and your brain will accept them as reality. Both Hypnotherapy and NLP can be great tools in helping to facilitate these changes.

All memories are simply re-imagined interpretations, not an accurate snapshot.

Beliefs are Perceptions

Have you ever been talking with a friend and recalling an event that you went to together only for you to begin to question whether they were really there? How they recall the event is somehow entirely different to how you do. So, who is right? You both are, but you are also both wrong. We can only focus on 5-9 things at any one point in time even though there are around 4 million bits of information that your brain is processing at any one moment.

Imagine your consciousness as a camera. A camera focuses on where it is pointed. When you look back at photographs, the photo shows what the camera was focusing on, neglecting everything else that was happening around it. The equipment your camera uses (filters) alters the quality and content of the photo.

camera
A picture is a snapshot in time. What you focus on your remember at the expense of everything else that was happening at the time.

Breaking a Limiting Belief

Let’s take a limiting belief such as “All dogs are dangerous”. When you look back on the memory of being bitten, you are looking at a snapshot in time, a photograph. That snapshot is filtered through the camera and creates the photograph (memory). However, the filters you have in place determine to a greater extent the quality of the memory than the actual snapshot.

Remember, we filter all information that comes in through our beliefs, values, memories and metaprograms, deleting, distorting and generalising all of the information to create our own perception of reality.

When creating new references, it can be useful to model others that back up your beliefs. If you have a friend who isn’t scared of dogs and loves playing with them then you can use this as a reference that dogs aren’t scary. You are not limited to your own resources, model others that behave the way you want to behave, and you’ll end up behaving as they do.

Breaking down Limiting Beliefs

Let’s take one of our weight loss examples and break it down:

“If I try and I fail I look stupid”

  1. Where did this belief come from? Where is my evidence?
    1. I have failed at many things in the past and people have laughed at me.
    2. When have you succeeded in the past? Where do these successes sit in importance in your mind? How does holding on to perceived failures add value to your life?
  2. Is this evidence correct? What else could it mean?
    1. No, it is not correct. It simply means that I am holding myself back from even trying.
    2. There is a presupposition in NLP that states there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. When we perceive something as a failure, it is because it hasn’t worked out in the way we believe it should. As failure is simply a perception, it is also a time to learn and grow. It is when we “fail” that we learn the most. Learn from these perceptions and do something different next time. The only time you fail is if you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result – that is the definition of insanity.
  3. What has been distorted, deleted, generalised?
    1. How will you look stupid? Who will judge you to be stupid if you fail? What do you determine to be a failure? When you try and succeed what does this mean?
    2. What information have you deleted, distorted or generalised to back up this limiting belief?
  4. In what ways will my life be limited if I continue to hold this belief?
    1. My health will continue to suffer. I will not be able to play with my kids or have the energy to keep up with them. My kids will get teased for having an overweight parent. My children model me and may pick up my bad habits.
  5. What empowering beliefs can I adopt instead that will empower me?
    1. There is no such thing as failure, only an opportunity to learn and grow. I welcome challenges as I always find a way to overcome them

Reinforcing New Empowering Beliefs

As you tackle each new belief, make sure to imagine as if it is true and create the new resources for yourself. Find unconscious memories that back up the new belief. Close your eyes and engage all of your senses so that you can condition each belief into your nervous system.

Conclusion

You should now have a new list of empowering beliefs that will make your life flow more smoothly. Take these beliefs forwards into your new life and notice all the positive changes that you start to notice.

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