Negative beliefs are nothing more than stored messages replaying in the “voicemail box” of our brain.
We acquire these thoughts through unconscious experiences and because we’ve never actively deleted our mailbox, they continue to take up space in our mind.
Some typical thoughts, dictated by poor body image, frustration and bad habits are stronger than others, depending on how emotionally invested we are in believing them.
Just like an actual voice mailbox, we can choose to delete these negative thoughts and then replace them with new beliefs. Otherwise, the mind will find something else to cling to—likely whatever comes its way, negative or positive.
Rather than taking a chance, let us activate our higher awareness and harness the power of change.
We Are Not Our Minds
The first step to tapping into our higher awareness is to know the difference between our minds and us.
When our brain is conditioned, it automatically sends us the same thoughts over and over again. In fact, unless we “wake up” to actual self-realization, 95% of our thoughts are completely repetitive and will dictate our actions and dilute our experience.
The brain is a fearful servant; it reacts to life and has one goal in mind, survival. Though our minds can provide a multitude of benefits, which can enhance our survival, overall it is a “negative” thinking phenomenon.
The brain is constantly afraid, leading us to believe life is scary.
The mind loves comfort and security; however, too much of this can be a bad thing.
Our minds would rather settle for the lowest quality of existence for pure safety rather than take any risk, even if the potentiality for incredible reward is high. Thereby, mistaking ourselves for our minds can greatly limit our willingness to take risks and experience growth.
To keep us safe the mind tell us things like “you’re not good enough” and “you can’t accomplish your goals.”
Really, the brain is just doing its job, trying to protect us. Repetition, playing it safe, taking the easy road and the negative beliefs that support them are all signposts that we are living through the reactive mind.
Until we step into a new thought, our old beliefs will be reinforced. The good news is that stepping into transformation is not hard to do—it’s as simple as knowing who we truly are.
Who Am I?
When I ask people the question “who are you?” I am usually taken through a series of ego identities before getting remotely close to their true self. Many of us have been duped into the illusion that we are our minds and its thoughts. However, this simply isn’t true.
Asking the question “who am I?” opens the doors to the discovery of self, the one noticing the negative mind. That same self is the one reading this article, seeking a way out of the minds down-talking and “stinking thinking.”
Once we’ve experienced that we are not our minds—rather, the witness and the master of our minds—we open ourselves up to change.
I want to share an exercise that uses the power of our true potential to change negative beliefs and thinking. Consider for a moment, that this exercise is as an empowering replacement remedy and not another “should” amongst the list of to-dos.
Creating New Beliefs
There is a two-step process to changing negative beliefs, first awareness, then a new intention.
1. Decide as the observer of our life, to watch our negative beliefs as they pop into our mind. Do not resist them, this only gives them power. What we resist we become. Instead, simply allow them as we watch as a silent spectator.
2. Choose, to replace them. Our true self is the silent choice maker of our lives. Free of resistance—change is possible. Decide to respond rather than react by creating a new and empowering thought. Repeat the replacement thought several times with the same emotional intensity as the negative thought but with positive emotion of course. This may feel uncomfortable at first because we have identified so long with negative beliefs.
Examples of Replacement Thoughts:
Old thought: I did this to myself. It’s all of my fault.
New thought: Who cares whose fault it is? Blame doesn’t fix anything—I choose to focus all my energy on the solution.
Old thought: I am weak and ugly. I am not good enough to do anything.
New thought: I am good enough! Who am I comparing myself to in the first place? Comparison doesn’t empower me, self-love does. I love myself!
Old thought: I am a loser and I can’t succeed at anything. Take a look at how many times I’ve failed.
New thought: In the past I didn’t know what I know now. And the past doesn’t determine the present. In fact, those diets, old relationships and so-called “failures” are growth opportunities! Without them I wouldn’t be as wise as I am today. Many of those failures were dodged bullets and actual successes! I can see that in the end, I’ve always gotten what I most honestly wanted.
Old thought: I don’t have time or energy to get healthy or do what I love.
New thought: To be honest, I am always thinking about my health, if I stopped obsessing I would find I have plenty of free time to do what I want. It takes just as much time to think about what I want to do as it does to do it! And when I think about what I do want, instead of what I don’t want, it gives me energy! Simply changing my story gives me more energy to act.
If you notice, this exercise isn’t simple positive talk.
In the examples above it is clear that our negative messages are only rationalized fear and the solution is always simpler than the problem.
This action step is about giving our brain a reason to change. It is our rational mind that locks in rational choices. When we feed the higher brain an equally rational new belief—that is solution orientated —it can easily replace the negative, fear-based rationale.
In time, these new thoughts will become new beliefs and your new story. When we change our perception, our personal reality will change.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Nicholas Kowalski
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock