Our beliefs are the driving force behind why we do what we do. “Belief systems” are the governing rules of our lives. It’s described as a system because it addresses the many different types of rules that we create for ourselves or that society creates for us.
We have beliefs to govern our morals and values; our identity and how we present to the world; our perspective and how we view things such as religion, race, time; our behavior and how we treat others; how we navigate and sustain life; and how we process information and use information.
Why We Get Frustrated
One of the greatest sources of internal conflict and feelings of imbalance is when your beliefs don’t match up with your current life experiences or your priorities. For example, if you believe that you need to marry a Catholic, yet you have fallen in love with someone Jewish, you will experience internal conflict. You may even decide to end the relationship based on what you believe. A loving relationship is a priority for you, but it doesn’t match your belief about marriage.
As children, we adopt beliefs from our parents. As teens, we adopt the beliefs of influential peers. As consumers, we adopt beliefs from what we hear from ads, reviews, the news, and science. “Milk does a body good.” “Skinny Women Are Pretty.”
We also create beliefs to protect ourselves from experiencing pain, loss, or failure. “It is against my religion to get divorced.” “Education costs money.” “Money can buy happiness.”
When our beliefs are adopted from others, it increases the likelihood that they won’t match up with our own life experiences and desires. A young man can spend thousands of dollars and several years of time and energy attending law school only to pass the bar and feel a sense of longing and discontent.
See, he really wanted to be an artist. He grew up being told that he would be an attorney like his father and like most kids, he adopted this belief. He also held the belief that being an attorney will earn him his father’s respect. He felt discontent because his belief did not match his desired goal of being an artist.
Living a Flexible life means we must recognize that our beliefs need to be flexible too. They are not set in stone. In fact, beliefs should evolve and change with our lives and goals. A flexible belief system allows for adjustments to be made as needed.
This doesn’t mean that you need to change all your beliefs. It simply means that you should take the time to assess which beliefs you hold are no longer serving you or are based on false information.
If you’d like additional guidance on updating your beliefs, get a copy of my self-help guide, Finding Your Life Balance.