When we are conceived, our soul energizes to life. We are energy sources that emit and elicit love and joy. With that same unawareness, we can also frustrate, anger, and exhaust people. Think about the way infants unconsciously generate unconditional love in others, yet cause stress and exhaustion.
We never outgrow these subconscious abilities and after our conscious mind develops, our abilities double as we can do these things subconsciously and/or consciously. Each one of us is very powerful in bringing about certain emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in others and in ourselves. For example, we frustrate, anger, and exhaust other people and ourselves when we are stubborn, need to be right, need to be in control, want to get back at people, are perfectionists, are anxious, feel insecure, can’t handle being told, “No,” and are poor listeners. Why do we feel and behave like this?
While our genetics predispose us to certain tendencies, mostly, we do these things because of what we feel and think. Despite the fact that perfectionists and control freaks know they cause stress and frustration, they continue their behaviors; not because they want to be unhappy or make other people unhappy, but because they’re trying to make other people and themselves happy. When I ask clients why they need to be perfect, their typical response is, “I don’t know. I just do” or “I feel like I have to.” Then they fortify their feelings with thoughts such as, “I don’t think I’m good enough unless I’m perfect.” They have no logical explanation and admit their need to be perfect is how they feel about themselves and reinforced by their thoughts. This is also true for the other behaviors I mentioned. We know these behaviors do not create happiness, yet we do them based on our feelings and thoughts – on what we believe.
What are beliefs?
We all have knowledge, emotions, and beliefs. They differ, but are interdependent and necessary for us to live well, connect with others, and be happy. When we are young children, we have more emotions than beliefs and more beliefs than knowledge.
Knowledge is acquired externally. It is understanding and awareness; familiarity gained by experience of a situation, and is factual. Knowledge is information we gather, process, and store in our conscious and subconscious minds.
Emotions, as defined by the English Oxford Dictionary (online), are strong feelings derived from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others; are instinctive or intuitive feelings as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge. Emotions are inherent. Beliefs are a combination of thoughts and emotions we create, integrate, and store in our subconscious mind, and refer to with our conscious mind. They are something we accept as true or real despite having no proof; they are visceral.
Beliefs are created internally. Since we start out having more beliefs than knowledge, our beliefs make up our core – who and what we are and that becomes our guidance system to happiness.
Where do our beliefs come from?
Parents and adults provide children with information and teach us life lessons that add to our knowledge and shape our beliefs. Children have a natural desire to learn. So, even if parents don’t openly teach us things, we just pick up information. We consciously and subconsciously do this by watching parents’ and caregivers’ behaviors and listening to them talk.
When parents directly tell or show us what they think or feel (believe) about us, we believe it and therefore, it becomes our belief. If they give us good information, we’ll have good beliefs. If they say or show us bad things about ourselves, we’ll believe we are bad. If we don’t understand what parents or adults say or do to us, we will create beliefs about ourselves based on how we feel and the knowledge we have at the time. For example, if a parent uses a word his young child doesn’t understand, the child will interpret its meaning based on the parent’s tone, facial expression, and body language, and create her belief on what she knows, thinks, and feels, namely the belief she is good or bad.
Children also believe they are valuable by being valued by their parents. Any behavior that devalues children, especially abuse and neglect, causes children to create bad beliefs about themselves. This includes parents’ increasing lack of attention to their children because of greater attention given to electronic devices. Imagine the feelings and thoughts you might get when, as a child, you are sitting at the table eating with your mom and dad, who stay engrossed in their cell phones, and their only communication to you is, “Sit up and eat right!” or “Stop playing with your food!” or “Don’t spill your water!”
Parents teach us their superstitions and beliefs about other people, the government, and God by overtly talking to us about them or covertly through us overhearing them talk and watching how they behave in regard to these topics. Our innocence, dependence, and natural desire to learn make us impressionable and susceptible to their beliefs so we naturally adopt them and they become what we believe about the world until we mature and are independent thinkers enough to use our reasoning skills so we can challenge and evaluate their credibility. Then, we can choose our own beliefs and we can change the ones we’ve come to know.
The beliefs we have about the world and others are easier to change than the beliefs we have about ourselves because they are external. The beliefs we have about ourselves are internal. Even though the feelings we get come from other people’s words and behaviors, we create our beliefs with our own emotions and our own thoughts that come from our own subconscious mind.
Our beliefs are a part of us. They belong to us and we are less inclined to give up what belongs to us. So, once we develop our beliefs, we hang on to them.
In addition, the subconscious mind, being a powerful means for existence, takes in our beliefs and incorporates them into our existence, coding them to be the way we exist. Our beliefs become our truth and reality. They are our core.