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Copyright @ 2014 Stephanie Chan Life Coaching, All rights reserved.

 
Restructuring Beliefs

 

Beliefs are formed very early in our life and “morph” and expand as we get older to match our circumstances. Often the events that form our early beliefs are not even major ones.  They can be every-day, insignificant instances.

 

An early event where your dad said he didn’t have time to play a game with you could form a belief that you’re alone, or unloved, or unimportant.  Then it grows over time to become “Men only let you down”, “Men are unreliable” etc, and the unconscious part of our brain looks for the evidence to support that.

 

Because we can only process a tiny portion of the information we take in every second, the unconscious mind filters according to “what is familiar” and draws our notice ONLY to things that support our beliefs, even when the opposite is around us all the time.

 

So, if we believe that men are untrustworthy or unreliable, then we will only notice the men that are untrustworthy and unreliable.  We then begin to believe there are no other types of men out there and a new belief is added to our collection: “All the good men are taken”.

 

We see only our belief systems; we do not see reality.

 

If we want to grow a healthy plant (ex. relationship) we need to have good soil and no weeds (a positive attitude to men and relationships, and a strong, healthy identity and sense of self-worth).  These negative beliefs are the weeds we need to get rid of at the start of the process to change your outcomes, and your life.

 

 

HOW DO WE DO IT

 

Bringing these beliefs to clear awareness is the first step.  

 

Often the beliefs are just “white noise” chatter in our heads.  We’re not really paying attention to the fact that they are playing over and over.  We’re usually not even very clear on what they are.  But even playing as white noise in the background, these beliefs are powerfully re-embedding all the time, and affecting our conscious thoughts and actions, even though we aren’t aware of it.

 

When we know what to be on the alert for, we create a moment of choice for ourselves.  We can acknowledge that the belief has tried to play out, that we know it is not reality but just a “story” we’ve been telling ourselves for a long time, and in that moment, we can choose to recite and believe something new.

 

Like biting your fingernails, we first need to become aware of when we’re doing it, then consciously decide not to.

 

Negative beliefs are merely a long-term thinking pattern.  A habit.

 

 

WHY DO WE NEED TO MANUALLY CONSTRUCT NEW BELIEFS

 

Not having a new belief ready is like trying to follow a map with no destination.  You are rejecting the old thought habit, but not giving the mind anything to replace it.  Without a vision or a goal or a new guideline, we will just revert to our old thought pattern.

 

So, we need to come up with a newly worded belief that is helpful to our outcomes/life, and each time we notice the old belief trying to play out, we run our new ‘story’ instead.

 

It doesn’t need to be so far from your experience that you just cannot ever believe it.  It still needs to be realistic enough to resonate with you.

 

 

FROM A CLIENT TRYING TO RE-WRITE HER LIMITING / NEGATIVE BELIEFS ABOUT MEN

 

Client:

“I’ve been working through the beliefs exercise, and I have a fairly good list of ‘previous beliefs’, I’m struggling a bit with coming up with strong new belief statements. I’ve included a few examples of ‘previous beliefs’ below:

-          All the quality men are in relationships

-          Once someone knows me, they lose interest/disappear 

-          The people I like are never interested in me 

-          I find it difficult to move on after a relationship ends

 

Do you have anything which could help me to structure some new beliefs around these?”

 

Answer:

 

Start with something that sits “just ok" with you - it doesn’t have to be perfect to start with because it will evolve over time.  It also doesn’t have to be the opposite of your previously held beliefs because that may be too far in the other direction to resonate with you or feel possible.

 

So, re the four you listed above, you may start with some new beliefs that are based in evolvement, like:

 

All the quality men are in relationships

Great guys will present in my life when the time is right, and in the meantime, I will be passionately focussed on all the things that fulfil me and give me purpose

 

Once someone knows me, they lose interest/disappear 

I am worth being with, and by loving and being interested in myself I will attract the right person into my life

The people I like are never interested in me 

Finding the right person is as much about timing as anything else - if someone is not interested in me it just means that I’m not quite their cup of tea, not that there is anything wrong with me.  Until the right person comes along, I will focus on enjoying getting to know all there is to know about the people I meet regardless of the outcome.  I know that men’s interest in me is directly correlated to my interest in myself.  If I love who I am, love my own company, and share my enjoyment of every moment, others will too.

I find it difficult to move on after a relationship ends

It takes time to properly grieve the loss of a relationship, but I will give myself time and patience, and let them go with love.  I don’t have to fully reject, let go or forget those that I’ve loved in order to move forward.  They can have a small corner of my heart and come with me through life, but I will look forward with excitement and anticipation to what the future holds.

 

You can get these down to bite sized if you want, but it doesn’t matter too much so long as there is a new concept there that you feel you can believe in and that is possible.  It’s just creating a new meaning or a new way of looking at things that is more helpful to you.

 

A shortcut is just to add “Sometimes” at the start of each of your beliefs below, then “but….” at the end of each sentence and round it off with someone more empowering.

 

  • Sometimes it feels like all the quality men are taken, but the right guy is out there getting ready to meet me, and I must focus on my own self-love whilst I’m getting ready for him too.

  • Sometimes it feels like once someone knows me, they lose interest, but I acknowledge that that is their own issue/problem, not mine. They were not right to begin with.  I am worth knowing and worth loving.

  • Sometimes the people I like are not interested in me, but sooner or later I’ll meet someone who likes me as much as I like them.

  • Sometimes I find it difficult to move on after a relationship, but I know that over time what I felt will just become “fondness” and I’ll look forward to meeting an even better person.

 

 

THE PROCESS, USING MONEY BELIEFS AS AN EXAMPLE

 

  1. Bringing beliefs to clear awareness and writing down what they are (what money story have you been telling, what has been your narrative?)

  2. Look at negatively emotive words you may be using around those beliefs and begin to change/adjust words.  Also generalising words.  

  3. Example: “Money always causes conflict and will cause me to become materialistic and lose everything”.  Generalising words in here are “always”, “causes”, “everything” - sweeping words that are not true.  Emotive words “conflict”, “lose” etc.

  4. Rewrite your new belief.  Maybe “Money is just a useful tool and just one of the measures of abundance.  It can be used for immense good in the world if used correctly, and I have the ability to do this” (maybe alongside “People choose their own results/outcomes/growth, money does not choose these for them”.  Make sure the new belief is believable to you, realistic and sits well with you.

  5. Retrain your thinking - you need to remain alert and aware for when the old belief pops up, and consciously recite the new one.

  6. Look at what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing:  in words, actions, thoughts, environment, surrounding people.  What is hindering your new belief, what needs to be set up to support your new belief?

  7. Look for evidence to support your new belief, even small daily things.  Past, present, and future.

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Tables sourced from PositivePsychology.com

 

 

PHASE 2: LOOK FOR THE ROOT CAUSE OF YOUR BELIEF

 

The second phase of working on beliefs is usually covered later in coaching and is about uncovering what’s really going on underneath at a deeper level.  Your most primary drivers.

 

Read through this section if you wish, but don’t dwell too much on it, as you’ll most likely need help to work through this part.  Work on retraining the narrative in your head via beliefs first.  

 

We often contextualise our feelings - focus them on something external so that we can make sense of it, and sometimes so that we don’t have to face the underlying reason because it’s too scary or painful.  

 

For example, blaming feeling unhappy on a lack of relationship, when what’s really going on is feeling unloved or unlovable (self-love needs to improve).  We mask our deepest fears with something that is easier to blame.  

 

We can get to this by repeatedly asking:

 

“How is that a problem?”

“What does that really make you feel / what are you really feeling?”, and most importantly 

“What are you really fearing?”

 

Example:

 

Money will cause me to lose everything (ie time with family, my spiritual side).

What are you really feeling/fearing?

Losing everything.

How is that a problem?

Because then I will have nothing.

How is that a problem?

Because then I will be alone.

What are you really fearing?

Being alone and without love.

How is that a problem?

Because then I am unlovable.  I am worthless.

 

In the above example, money does not need to be worked on, it is just the contextualisation – where we focus our feelings and fears to make sense of them.  

 

Self-worth is what really needs to be worked on.  

 

When you are 100% self-loving and self-sustaining, you will no longer feel afraid of being alone or without love.  You cannot be without love when you are self-loving.

 

Money makes people bad.  It has caused people in my family to fight, and also become lazy and entitled.

How is that a problem?  You’ll meet lazy and entitled people through your whole life.  There will also be conflict from time to time.  So how is this specifically a problem?

Because I am afraid it will turn me that way too.

How is that a problem?

Because then I will be less than I could be.

What do you really fear?

Being less.  Being nothing.  Being worthless.  Being unlovable.

 

Sometimes you may not even need to go past:

 

Money makes people bad.  It has caused people in my family to fight, and also become lazy and entitled.

How is that a problem?  You’ll meet lazy and entitled people through your whole life.  There will also be conflict from time to time.  So how is this specifically a problem?

I guess it’s not.

 

 

Look at what money has come to represent to you.  It is not in and of itself, evil.  But for you it may have come to represent a bunch of things around your family:  conflict, laziness, entitlement, unfairness or injustice, loss?, waste?, lack of purpose?

 

These are the things you really have a gripe with, not money….but it’s easier to blame money and focus on that, than have to look too closely at family or self.

 

Those qualities you dislike in these people may have come to represent a possibility that you could be like that too - that sparks a fear.  The fear of becoming like that may come from a deeper fear of what that would make you - purposeless, meaningless.

 

Is that your greatest fear?  To be nothing.  To “waste” a life through achieving nothing?

If you achieve nothing in your life, does that make you completely unlovable?

Is it, at its root level, as simple as that:  wanting love, fearing not having love?

 

Your unconscious process/associations since a child MAY have been:

 

Love/worth = achievement.  

Lack of achievement = unlovable, waste of life/potential.

Waste of life/potential = lazy, entitled, family behaviours.

Those behaviours = surrounded by money issues, linked to money (it’s easier to say your family’s faults are caused by having too much money, than to say they are just lazy or greedy people).

Ergo, Money = bad.

 

In reverse:  

 

Money = conflict = poor behaviour = waste of life = lack of achievement = unloved.

Or:  

Money = poor behaviour = waste of life = fear that could be me = me like that, not achieving = unlovable.

 

Your subconscious has perhaps just quietly buried all the middle bit and linked fear of being unlovable to money.

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