Thursday, November 14, 2013

Changing Beliefs or Behaviors?

My assumption is that everything we do is an expression of our underlying beliefs.

(For example, when we put up with mean behavior from others, that is an indication of our belief that we are deserving of it.  When we stand up for ourselves, that is an indication that we believe that we deserve better treatment.  Both behaviors - putting up with or standing up for -  reflect our underlying belief about our self-worth - the mother-lode of all beliefs.)

Where do our beliefs about our own self-worth come from?  Our earliest experiences - before we even had language.  So these beliefs are stored as wordless memories - so we can't even challenge them.  We can't say the words out loud and hear how wrong they sound to us.

Some men say they respect a woman who respects herself.  So if he doesn't respect her then it is her fault.  This is pimp mentality conveniently co-opted by the selfish and irresponsible.  So women who were taught from their earliest experiences that they did not deserve to be respected - a tragic travesty - are now considered at fault when men treat them disrespectfully.  The victimized are at fault for the target on their back? And the target on their back makes them an easy and justified mark for thoughtless men. Can you believe this $hit?? Fuck that $hit.

The challenge is that our beliefs can be so underlying that we don't even know what they are!

Beliefs tend to sound something like this:

I am good enough or I am not good enough.
I matter or I don't matter.
I am loveable or I am not loveable.  
I am capable of getting things done and figuring shit out or not.
I have a right to get what I want or not.
There is plenty for me.

So if we are not aware of our underlying beliefs, then how on earth can we change them??

If beliefs influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviors...
And our thoughts/feelings/behaviors both influence and are influenced by our actions/feelings/behaviors...
Then if we change our thoughts/feelings/behaviors, would that change our beliefs??

That is, if we do something different (remember "opposite George" on Seinfeld?) over and over again, despite our underlying beliefs - fake it till you make it, so to speak - then will the results of our new and uncomfortable behaviors change our beliefs about ourselves?

If we keep taking risks at work, in relationships, etc. - even though we are feeling scared to death because we don't believe we are competent or loveable - and the risks pay off then we might start to believe something different about our competence or loveability.  Hmmm, are you down to experiment?

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