When I was teaching argumentative essay writing, my regular refrain to students was for them to ask themselves “Why do I believe what I believe?” Embedded in this one question are other relevant ones: “What caused me to believe this?” and “When did I begin to feel this way?”
These are important questions for us to reflect on routinely, but now they are especially imperative. Our world is changing – the environment and planet are under threat, the human race is facing a tenacious viral pandemic, and the inequitable, disenfranchising socio-economic-political status quo is no longer being tolerated.
Given the multifaceted challenges facing all beings on this planet, how we can evolve and adapt to a rapidly changing world?
Research shows that the human brain loves learning and is always ready for change; this is called brain plasticity. Being curious about and growing familiar with the attitudes, expectations, and ideas we have of ourselves and the world around us is the best preparation for change, increased resilience, and improved coping skills.
What are beliefs?
Beliefs are thoughts, attitudes, or opinions that we hold to be true. According to Suze Casey (developer of Belief Re-Patterning) beliefs are thoughts coupled with emotions that are habitually repeated and begin to feel like reality. These definitions show how problematic unquestioned beliefs or opinions can be. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living."
So in the quest to examine our lives, we question our beliefs to:
Our beliefs affects us emotionally, mentally, and physically. When we are in a funk and depressed, what we believe about ourselves and the world makes us sad and hopeless. When we are angry, every situation and person becomes aggravating and infuriating. When we are worried and anxious, everything becomes stressful and scary.
To improve our relationship with ourselves and others, and to live happier, fulfilled lives, we can ask ourselves
For us to create a future we envision for ourselves and other beings, we need to acknowledge that such self-exploration can be uncomfortable, but is absolutely necessary for discovering inner obstacles to our life goals.
At the same time, being kind and gentle with yourself is equally important. Remind yourself that this is an exploration and all revelations are learning and growth opportunities.
May your journey to greater self-knowledge be fulfilling and illuminating.