In the last installment of Law of Attraction Pearls of Wisdom, Your Beliefs Shape Your Reality, I discussed how beliefs are a crucial element of manifesting the life of your dreams. In this installment I'll dive into practical advice on how to identify and remove beliefs that aren't serving you, and how to install new ones that are aligned with the attainment of your goals and desires.
Two Approaches to Changing Your Beliefs
You can take one of two approaches to changing your beliefs. The traditional approach is that you try to identify your hidden limiting beliefs and then weed them out, replacing them with new more empowering beliefs, as you find them.
The alternate approach involves skipping the first step — rather than looking for and worrying about your hidden limiting beliefs, you just select the beliefs that you want — ones that are aligned with the attainment of your desires. And then by regularly reminding yourself of these new beliefs, and taking small actions consistent with them, you will gradually install them and override any incompatible limiting beliefs. Because of the way the Law of Attraction works, as you affirm your chosen new beliefs, both through your words and deeds, evidence will mount that supports them and facilitates their installation.
Since it doesn't hurt to get in the habit of noticing and inspecting your beliefs let's explore that first.
Identifying Your Beliefs Through Reflection
The first step in the process of ridding yourself of your limiting beliefs, by the traditional approach, is to identify them. This isn't necessarily easy because many of them are almost completely unconscious.
The key to identifying your unconscious beliefs is the understanding that they are reflected in every thought you think, every word you speak, and every action you take. If you want to discover your beliefs just pay attention to what you are thinking, saying, and doing and reflect on what they imply or say about your underlying beliefs.
Paying Attention To Your Thoughts
Because our minds generate a constant stream of thoughts, most of which we are barely aware of, it's nearly impossible to monitor your every thought. Despite this, it doesn't hurt to try to build a habit of noticing and reflecting on your thoughts because the ones you do catch will give you a window onto your beliefs. Yet, it is often easier to monitor what you SAY and the process is the same so let's explore how this works in that context.
Paying Attention To What You Say
Because we speak only a small fraction of our thoughts, it's often much easier to monitor and reflect on what you SAY. Get in the habit of paying attention to what you say and spend a little time reflecting on what it implies about your underlying beliefs.
Have you ever wanted something but then caught yourself telling your friends something contradictory? Maybe you long for a deep and meaningful relationship, but then you catch yourself saying something to the effect that relationships never last. Or maybe you're trying to lose weight but you hear yourself complaining that it doesn't seem to matter what you eat, you still can't lose weight. These are examples of expressing your hidden underlying beliefs. When you catch yourself saying things like this you've just nailed a belief that's working against what you really want.
Here are some more examples from the book Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams.
Have you ever heard yourself say to someone, with a tad bit of envy, "It must be nice?" Even though you might just be joking you're really admitting that you can't even imagine what it's like to do or have whatever it is, and your implying that you likely won't ever know. Catch yourself the next time you say something like this, and ask yourself why you believe this object or experience is out of your reach. If you drill down to the bottom of this you'll likely uncover a limiting belief.
Have you ever heard yourself groan when you receive an unexpected bill? Clearly you are expressing a belief that money is tight or hard to come by, and that the chances of this changing are small. Even though this belief may be an accurate reflection of present circumstances, it will only perpetuate those very circumstances. To pave the way for a different circumstance, you must think and imagine the new circumstance despite your current circumstances. That's why Never mind what is, imagine it the way you want it to be is a timeless pearl of manifesting wisdom.
Instead of focusing on the lack of funds when you react to the unexpected bill, you could say to yourself "Good thing I'm rich!" This has you focusing not on the lack of funds but your preferred circumstance and will energetically contribute to the manifestation of that very thing, especially if you say it over and over.
Have you ever noticed yourself turning off lights or turning down the thermostat at home to save money? What do you think that says about your money beliefs? Actions like this generally reflect underlying beliefs in limitation and scarcity. You might object saying that it's not a belief — that your resources really are limited. And that is indeed true RIGHT NOW. But again, if you focus on lack, by the law of attraction, you will get more of it.
Paying Attention To Your Actions
Just as your words reflect your beliefs so do your actions, so reflecting on your actions provides another window onto your beliefs. Here are some examples.
When your packing for a hike in the mountains do you always grab that can of bear spray and make sure you bring it with you? What belief do you think underlies that action? It's pretty obvious the underlying belief is "bears pose an imminent threat to your health and welfare". But are they? Well, maybe or maybe not, but you sure believe they are otherwise you wouldn't need to bring that bear spray, would you.
Are you one of those people that has stock piled food, supplies, money, and perhaps even a gun and ammo in your home? So you can be prepared for any natural disaster or maybe even the collapse of society and social order. What belief do you think this implies? It's pretty dang obvious that it implies you BELIEVE that there is a significant chance of these calamities actually occurring and have probably spent a fair amount of time thinking about and imagining these scenarios. What are the chances of these types of events actually occurring? Hard to say, but YOU believe there is a REAL chance otherwise you wouldn't have made those preparations.
From these examples it's pretty clear how our actions reflect our underlying beliefs. And by the Law of Attraction, your beliefs, and the thoughts and actions that they spawn, are the energy that is slowly but surely increasing the chances that you will actually experience those very types of circumstances.
So simply reflecting on your actions can help you identify your beliefs. Once you expose one of your beliefs in this fashion and determine that it is counter-productive you can then start working on ridding yourself of it, which I'll dive into a little bit later in this article.
Identifying Your Beliefs Through Backtracking
Another approach to identifying your beliefs is to reflect on the undesirable experiences that you've encountered and attempting to back-track to the underlying beliefs that might have attracted them into your life. Ask yourself the following: "What would I have had to be believing in order to attract such an experience?" Although this approach will not always yield obvious results it certainly can't hurt to reflect on your undesirable experiences and try to understand the beliefs and thoughts that might have served to attract them. Any awareness gained can potentially help you defuse them.
Changing Your Beliefs
Whether the discovery of a hidden limiting belief prompted you to formulate a new PREFERRED belief, or you simply formulated the new belief by deducing what you'd have to believe to achieve your intended goals and desires, you are now ready to install it. Of course installing a new belief can be challenging because old limiting beliefs are often very deeply entrenched.
Making it Easier to Change Your Beliefs
One thing that can go a long way in helping you transcend limiting beliefs is to realize that beliefs are NOT TRUTHS they are merely opinions about reality. All beliefs are equally-valid. Beliefs are neither true or false they are simply beneficial or detrimental. By releasing your attachment to the truth or falsity of your beliefs you liberate your mind to select whatever beliefs best serve you and the fulfillment of your goals and desires. Repeat the following affirmation regularly to install this new belief about beliefs.
My beliefs are neither TRUE or FALSE they are simply either beneficial or detrimental to me.
With the freedom gained from adopting this new perspective about beliefs it becomes much easier to ask yourself "What would I rather believe?"
Another way to make changing beliefs easier is to embrace the esoteric truth that is the foundation of the Law of Attraction — all realities are generated by beliefs (and thoughts) and therefore there is no "basic" reality that is any "more real" than any other reality.
All realities are constructs of thought. Life and existence are an empty canvas with infinite possibilities and what you fill the canvas with is a function of your thoughts, beliefs, and what you can imagine. The canvas is EMPTY because there is NO "inherent real reality" at all! There are "Infinite Possibilities" because reality can be ANYTHING you define it to be, according to your definitions, your beliefs, and your imagination!
Fully embrace this truth and you will no longer have that lingering feeling that the old belief is more "real" or valid than your new preferred belief. And therefore you won't slip back to the old belief, because it seems more "true" or "realistic".
Installing Your New Belief
Once you choose your new belief you can do the following to install it; (1) Create and regularly say affirmational statements that reinforce the new belief, (2) Actively seek out proof of the new belief, and (3) Ask yourself what would you do now if you were committed to the new belief and start doing it!
1. Affirming the New Belief
A key part of installing a new belief is through the use of affirmations. Affirmations are simply statements that you repeatedly say to yourself. They can be used to reinforce your thoughts about what you desire thereby amplifying their attractive power. Check out Your Words Are Like Orders Placed With The Universe to dive deeper into the power of words and affirmations. In the case of affirming beliefs you are both sending a signal to the universe and trying to program your mind with the new belief so that in the future your thoughts and actions will automatically be consistent with it.
To dive deeper into this subject I highly recommend the book The Power of Affirmations & The Secret to Their Success.
Gradually Shifting Beliefs — Bridging from Old to New beliefs
Sometimes when trying to replace an old limiting belief with a new empowering belief the leap is just too big — you simply won't believe the new belief you are trying to adopt — especially at first when you haven't yet seen any proof that it's working. In this case gradually bridging from the old belief to the new belief, as suggested in the book The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham is a more effective approach.
Here's an example of bridging to a new belief from the book Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams.
Let's say you were thinking about how this is the beginning of the flu season and you're remembering how very sick you were in the past with the flu. Your memory of having the flu has conditioned your belief in the probability of getting the flu. Just saying "I want to remain healthy" is not enough to override the strength of your belief that you might get sick. In this case the following line of thought would probably be more effective.
"This is usually the time of year that I get the flu. I don't want to get the flu this year. I hope I don't get the flu this year. It seems like everyone gets it. This may be an exaggeration. Everyone doesn't get the flu. There have been many flu Seasons when I didn't get the flu. I don't always get the flu. It's possible that this flu season could come and go without me getting sick. I like the idea of being healthy. My past flu experiences happened before I realized that I control my experience. Now that I understand the power of my own thoughts things are different. It isn't necessary for me to experience the flu this year. Isn't necessary for me to experience anything that I don't want. It's possible for me to direct my thoughts towards things I do want to experience. I like the idea of attracting into my life the things that I do want to experience."
The explicit walking through of the reasons why your old belief is not necessarily true and focusing on a new belief and the reasons why it makes sense are a very practical approach. If negative thoughts about a given subject return simply repeat the bridging thoughts and eventually the negative thoughts will disappear.
Here's a personal example of using affirmations to gradually bridge from an old belief to a new one.
When I decided to start writing about spirituality and metaphysics, it seemed like a very unlikely direction for me. Being a writer and author seemed improbable because english and grammar had been my worst subjects in school. I knew I held a belief that I couldn't be a good writer or successful author so I decided to do affirmations to counter this belief. Instead of starting with an affirmation like "I am a great writer and a successful and prosperous author", which might have been too big of a leap in terms of believability. I started by telling myself "You don't have to be the world's greatest writer to be a successful author. Writing is a learnable skill. Anyone can learn to write reasonably well, including me. Study and practice is all that are required." Later as my confidence increases then I'll start telling myself, "I am a great writer and a successful and prosperous author" as well as envisioning my successful blog and books!
2. Actively Seek Out Proof of the New Belief
Because of the self reinforcing nature of beliefs (that I discussed in part 1 of this article) you will begin to see evidence that the belief is working its magic. If you actively look for, notice, and remind yourself of this evidence it will accelerate the full installation of the new belief and completely dissolve any incompatible limiting beliefs that might have existed.
3. Acting In Accordance With The New Belief
As you begin to install your new belief through the use of affirmations you can also forge ahead and start acting the part. Rather than waiting till you've completely removed the limiting belief you simply "suspend your disbelief" and start "acting as if" you believed the new belief you are trying to install. Actions speak louder than words (your affirmations are words) and will spark the delivery of fortuitous opportunities from the Universe that will support the attainment of your desires, whatever they may be.
When you forge ahead like this, you will feel uncomfortable at first because you are taking actions without having completely changed your underlying limiting belief. For a while it will feel like you are faking it, and indeed you are, but, as the classic adage goes, just keep "faking it till you make it!"
To make it thru this "faking it" stage just march towards your goal intently focusing on empowering thoughts rather than doubt, "acting as if", and constantly reminding yourself that you are a creator and exist in a field of infinite possibilities and what you can create is only limited by your imagination!
"Acting as if" sends a powerful signal to the Universe that draws to you the opportunities (people, ideas, situations) that will facilitate the attainment of your dream. As this support kicks in you will find your old limiting belief will naturally dissolve as the new empowering belief is installed. One of the keys to successfully employing "fake it till you make it" is patience and persistence. It might take a little while before the support from the Universe starts to show up. You must suspend your disbelief, go through the motions, and persevere for long enough till the support kicks in and you start seeing proof of the new belief.
As a personal example, when I first conceived of the idea of writing about and sharing my spiritual and metaphysical knowledge and insights my first reaction was fear and doubt — I didn't beleive I could be a writer or author. But I had a burning passion to share this knowledge so I just suspended my disbelief and started doing what any aspiring author would do — take a writing course, write regularly and put it in the public eye to get feedback, join a writers group, etc. Now I'm getting quite a bit of very complimentary feedback about my writing, my blog is really starting to take off, and I have a book on its way!
Putting It All Together
Your beliefs are absolutely critical to manifesting your desires. Ferret out your limiting beliefs by paying attention to what you think, say, and do. When you find a limiting belief formulate a new one that is more aligned with the attainment of your dreams, goals, and desires. Then begin the process of installing it by regularly affirming it, "acting as if" you believed it, and actively seeking out evidence that it's working. As you do this your new belief will gradually install and any old incompatible beliefs will dissolve!
You can make this process easier by fully embracing two profound truths; (1) All beliefs are equally valid — beliefs are neither true nor false they are simply either helping or hindering the manifestation of your desires, and (2) there is no absolute reality, all realities are constructs.
This means that the only limit to what is possible for you to manifest is your beliefs and imagination — so choose your beliefs carefully and unleash your imagination!
More power to you,
Read the next article in this series » What You Resist Persists.
To learn more about the Law of Attraction and manifesting check check out these related articles.