“Belief is a beautiful armour, that makes for the heaviest sword.” – John Mayer.
We all have them and use them on a daily basis. These mystical things that exist but show no hard evidence of being real.
Yet they have so much power and influence over the lives of all of us. They can lead us down a long-winding road of pain and heart-break or they can lead us down the road to success and fulfilment.
I’ve been wrestling with my understanding of the world and myself for over 27 years now. To some, 27 years isn’t long at all, but it sure feels like it.
I’m constantly checking-in with what I believe about a situation and more importantly why I hold that belief. I do the same with other people. Watching them and asking myself “what would they need to believe for them to do that?”
It’s as if we carry a pocket-book in our mind filled with all of our beliefs about the world and refer to them as we move through our daily lives.
I don’t think enough value and weight is given to just how much our beliefs dictate our daily lives. Think about it. Why would you do something if you didn’t believe it was going to get you something you wanted? A feeling, a connection, a reward, a hug, a kiss, a payment, something. Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, that’s what’s going on in your head.
Beliefs also work the other way. They can stop us from doing certain things in our lives. Even if it’s something that will be beneficial to us. It can be the difference between totally embracing something and almost rejecting it.
A few weeks before our wedding, I had spent a lot of time getting caught up on how much it was going to cost us to have a close group of friends and family join us to celebrate.
Focussing on the money along with a stack of other challenges was removing the fulfilment and anticipation of getting married. Now I’ve been able to adjust to this way of thinking and haven’t been bothered that I’m not leaping out of my skin about the wedding day.
It wasn’t until I had a heated argument with both my fiancé and my mother about the effect my thinking was having on those around me. I had no idea it was having a tragic ripple effect.
Mum was telling me that I’ve been miserable and completely out of character, followed by a long speech about how important it is for me to stop and embrace my current reality, before it all slips away from me and ends in only a few memories of planning and attending my own wedding.
Then it was my to-be wife’s turn. It started with her telling me that my attitude was making her feel guilty for having a wedding in the first place (even though I hadn’t blamed her for it). Then she went on to tell me that given everything we’ve been through over almost 9 years together, it’s an opportunity to celebrate more than just our relationship.
She said “We’ve been through so much challenge and difficulty that would’ve been the end of so many relationships, but we stayed together through all of it. It’s rare to see love like that these days. That’s worth celebrating. We’re worth celebrating! It’s worth every dollar being spent showing that to people and it may even inspire them.”
In that moment she completed shattered a belief I was holding onto… Just like that!
She had reached for my pocket-book of beliefs and put a big black mark through the belief getting in my way. No more using that belief.
Up until that moment I had the belief that this wedding was just a big expense looming over our heads (even though we weren’t borrowing money to pay for it).
I was so caught up on that aspect of it that I had forgotten why we were paying so many bills for this one day. Then I was reminded of the reason – because we believe we’re worth it and we had an opportunity to share that with people we cared about and who cared about us.
Moving forward I had a renewed anticipation for our wedding day and was looking forward to it. The money stopped bothering me and I was able to wholeheartedly embrace the rest of the planning that came up. I wouldn’t have been able to do so without a change in belief.
Without a change in belief, whatever it is or whoever it’s about, there will be no change. Change your beliefs and your behaviour and thoughts will change. This is the key to habits and behaviour.
After all someone wise once said:
Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.
Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.
Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.
Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.
— Chinese proverb, author unknown