I am an educated women; but I’ve still had to resort to the dictionary to really pin this one down. It says: “something that somebody believes in – a statement, principle or doctorine that a person or group accepts as true”.
I hadn’t given the word a lot of consideration until recently. Belief was all about religion and ideas; it hadn’t really entered the therapeutic vocabulary.
This was quite an oversight.
Belief is right at the centre of everything. What you believe about yourself is so important that I didn’t even consider it. The link between thought and action is so obvious that I totally missed it. And had to go right back to the beginning.
How I think we are made.
This is either incredibly simple or horrendously complicated. I’ve tied myself in knots with it and, if you’re looking for a coherent explanation, there are, undoubtedly, far more eloquent philosophers or psychologists or professionals out there than me – but this is a bit of my puzzle, my therapeutic problem solving.
What we believe is made up of…what we’ve experienced (touching something too hot is, as I was kindly reminded by the baking tray yesterday, painful); what we’ve heard (that getting bitten by a tarantula is equally painful); and, what we’re intrinsically like (high pain or low pain thresholded, to finish the analogy). It’s also influenced by the whole perception thing – but you’ll have to read that section as well if you want the full hypothesis.
When we start out and everything’s new, there’s more to work with. There’s a strange combination of fearlessness and curiosity and carelessness that make experimentation easier. That make fickleness far more acceptable. That sees life in far simpler terms.
As you get older, things get more complicated. Ideas tend to fossilise. Habits stick.
In the most part, this is probably okay, after all, it’s hard to get the wrong idea about just out of the oven baking trays and tarantula’s bites; but, beliefs aren’t just practical or external – they also underlie what we thing about ourselves and, from this, how we act towards ourselves.
See where I’m heading now?!
This is where self belief gets really important. This is where it’s worth considering why we think what we think and how we end up thinking what we’re thinking. This is the critical link.
The whole belief-identity-person forming process is all very interesting and all very natural; but it’s not very predictable – and it’s not always smooth.
It took me 15 years and an exceptional therapist to point out that I had some slightly strange beliefs about myself. And that I was acting out my slightly strange beliefs about myself through some equally mis-placed beliefs about food.
Somewhere along the way, they’d fossilised – and I’d got stuck.
Tags: self belief