Changing a belief that limits you isn’t an easy task.
Under each behavior, there is a belief that usually acts, without you being aware of it.
And it makes you solve life’s situations in different ways, automatically.
That is, you answer without thinking too much, though perhaps your response, may not be the most appropriate.
These beliefs are located in your subconscious and that’s why they are so difficult to change.
With this post I’ll try to explain how to unmask all those beliefs that limit you and force you, even without realizing it, to act in a certain way.
3 important concepts
In order for you to understand a bit better how your brain works, I’ll explain three concepts in a very simple way, so you can understand my explanation.
Neurons: are the brain cells and they are responsible for sending information.
Neuronal connection: when a neuron passes information to another.
Neural network: a number of neurons that normally transmit information regularly.
How is a belief created?
Let’s take a hypothetical example:
Imagine that when you were young, someone asked you a question in class. When you answered that question, all your classmates laughed at you, and you felt “dumb”.
Another day at home, something similar happened to you. Your opinion on a matter elicited laughter from your brothers, and you again felt “dumb”.
Then your brain came to a conclusion: “to avoid feeling dumb and prevent others from laughing at you, it’ll be better if you don’t give your opinion.”
After that resolution, the following time you were in a similar situation, in which someone asked you something you didn’t really know, you remained quiet. With this, you prevented anyone from laughing at you and you stopped that “dumb” feeling.
Finally, your brain had found a successful way to solve a problem.
So “that way”, had to be recorded somewhere so in future similar situations, you wouldn’t even think about giving your opinion, because the best option was to shut up.
If we explain this internally, we can say that the first time the problem was solved successfully, a neuron sent the information (“it’s better to keep quiet than to give an opinion“) to another neuron, and this one to another, creating a neural connection in your neuron’s network.
To understand this easily, you could imagine that every time a neuron sends information to another, both remain hooked by threads.
So, every time you live a similar situation, the neural network offers a quick response to the brain.
The “threads” that were linking the neurons have now become “strings”.
And so the belief also becomes more stable.
Resistance to change
Over the years, and after repeating the same solution that worked the first time again and again, the strings become “chains” and your belief had been confirmed so many times that, it becomes automatic.
This means that, in similar situations, you DON’T decide anymore, it’s your brain who decides for you.
Because your brain knew that “that solution” had been useful for you for many years.
There was no reason to reconsider it.
But notice that, from the very first moment, that belief limited you.
If I asked right now: what do you think is better, to express your opinion or to shut up?
You’ll probably say that “it depends”.
And I agree.
But one thing is being able to choose when to express your opinion and when it’s better not to.
And another is for your brain to choose for you and always decide to “shut up”.
But to modify the thought that will always make you always behave in a certain way, is very hard, because it’s an automatic response.
Once you have it, you’ll need to break the neural network chains that created that particular response.
And that will require some time.
That’s why it’s so difficult to change certain behavioral patterns.
Change a belief that limits you
Imagine that after an internal introspection process, yo manage to become aware of the unconscious belief that limits you.
Continuing with the above example:
You now know that, if you’re asked for your opinion in a situation, your automatic response will be to “shut up”.
The fact is that you’ve decided to do something different.
One day, someone asks for your opinion. Your brain is about to offer the automated solution “shut up”, but this time, you’re alert and don’t let your brain answer.
Instead, you choose to express your opinion.
If you do so and it’s a success, then, a new neural connection with a different route, will be created.
The neuron that told the other neuron that “it was better to shut up” now reports that “this time, expressing your opinion, was a success.”
Now in your brain, you have two neuronal pathways with two different pieces of information:
- The automatic response “when they ask your opinion, the best is to remain silent“, information that the brain has used throughout the years.
- The new response of “when they ask your opinion, it’s better to say it.”, information which you got from the experience that just happened
Now here’s a dilemma for your brain:
Should I remain silent or should I express my opinion?
But as it has been silent for so many years, at first, the brain will continue choosing the automated option.
To break the “chains” of the neural path that you no longer want, you’ll have to keep choosing, every time, to express your opinion.
Thus, the threads of the second option will become strings and, if you keep expressing your opinion, the chains of the first option, will begin to break.
Time and new successes when expressing your opinion, will make the strings of the second neural connection, become chains and this new belief that NO longer limits you, will become automatic.
On the other hand, the strings that held the old belief’s neuronal path, will become threads and eventually break and these neural connections, will be phased out.
So, you’ll change the belief that limits you and, therefore, you’ll be able to change your behavior.
This is a slow process that will require patience and attention from your part.
But in the end you’ll be the one who’ll choose how you want to respond to a given situation.
Is there any behavior you’d like to change?
Do you dare to look for the belief that is causing it?
I know this post may be a little bit difficult to understand, so if you have any questions, just ask!