Beliefs are the architects of our reality, shaping our perceptions, choices, and actions. This week's Trauma Bytes is an invitation to explore the intricate world of your beliefs, how they're formed, and how understanding them through a trauma-informed lens can reimagine how you see the world.
“We don’t see things the way they are, we see them the way we are.” Anais Nin
Beliefs are more than mere thoughts; they're the foundation upon which we build our lives. They are often shaped by our early life experiences, including those related to trauma. In this edition of Trauma Bytes, we'll explore:
1. The Belief Blueprint;
2. The Power of Beliefs; and
3. Tools for Transformation.
1. The Belief Blueprint: How beliefs are formed and solidified, especially in the context of trauma.
Beliefs are those convictions about ourselves and the world that are formed through a complex interplay of experiences and interpretations. They take root in our minds through the repeated messages we receive from caregivers, teachers, society, and personal encounters.
The belief blueprint usually comes from what we take on from others, especially when we are young. For trauma survivors, these beliefs can become deeply intertwined with the traumatic experience itself, influencing perceptions of self, others, and the world. I love that quote by Anais Nin because it really resonated deeply with me as I started to see that it was my perception of how things were that often kept me stuck in old patterns.
These beliefs often show up in how we talk to and about ourselves. They also show up in self-fulfilling prophecies and repeating patterns. If we listen closely to these words from a point of looking for where they started and who’s voice said these things in the beginning, we can start to untangle ourselves from what is not the truth of who we are. They can also challenge us in our businesses.
When I was a kid, I took $20 from my Dad’s wallet and spent it at school. We didn’t have a lot of money, so looking back, it was probably a big deal. He lined us three kids up and gave us the belt until someone gave it up. We went to bed with no one confessing. In the morning, it got the better of me, and I told him it was me. I think he was shocked and didn’t expect I would do that. He hugged me, something he didn’t do, and I was shocked and didn’t understand what happened.
This showed up in my life as an adult in my business. I found it so difficult to take money. It physically affected me. My body was repulsed by it, and I always had the words ‘I don’t know enough’ or ‘I didn’t give enough value’, and I felt like a fraud. Then one day, I was exploring my money story, and this situation jumped into my awareness, and it made total sense. I had made money equal love. Well, we all know that won’t work well in business!
Challenge: Contemplate Anais Nin’s words in her quote and bring awareness to where in your life you might be seeing things as you are, not seeing things as they are.
Just a little tip for you - be patient with yourself, especially if you are just beginning to explore your inner dynamics. Our habitual patterns always come first until we resolve them. We need to be aware this happens and then interrupt them as soon as we see them and ask what else is available to us.
2. The Power of Beliefs: How your beliefs influence your emotions, behaviors, and healing process.
Beliefs are the lens through which you perceive the world. They shape not only how you see reality but also how you feel and act within it. For instance, if you believe you're unworthy of love due to what you internalized from past trauma, this belief can influence how you are in your relationships. It becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy I mentioned earlier. You end up in relationships that prove to you that you are unworthy. This may show up as not trusting affection, not allowing support in and feeling unloved even when love is freely given.
Bringing awareness to the impact of beliefs on your emotions, behaviors, and healing process offers a profound opportunity for change. It's not about erasing your past, it's more about challenging the status quo of your beliefs with a mindset of understanding and compassion.
You possess the power to acknowledge what was and then create beliefs about yourself that are more in alignment with the truth of who you truly are.
Challenge: Identify one belief that you realize isn't supporting you anymore. Next time this belief comes up, ask yourself: Does this belief need to be true now? The next question to ask is, What is the truth? Just see what you notice in this inquiry.
3. Tools for Transformation: Practical techniques to reevaluate and reshape your beliefs and become the creator of your experience.
Self-awareness is the number one tool for transformation. If you can't see the beliefs you are operating under, then there is no way you can do anything about them.
Start by identifying the beliefs that no longer serve you. Don't make the list too long. Make it a maximum of three. What we are looking for at the beginning of doing this work is the experience of success. By success, I mean working through a belief and reworking it into a positive and more truthful belief. A belief that comes from your own experience, not the words of others that you have taken in and owned.
Take one belief and work with it until you have transformed it into the truth. Work gently and kindly with yourself, the way I described in the challenge above. Once you have the full experience of working through a belief, the next time you work with a belief, you can call on this experience of success.
As you navigate your beliefs and trauma, remember that healing is a journey of self-discovery and transformation. By understanding how beliefs are formed and actively reshaping them, you're taking a significant step towards creating a more fulfilling life.
If you would like some support to tackle some of the challenges I write about in these weekly Trauma Bytes, you are welcome to join Transformative Alchemy: Inhabit the Body, Liberate the Mind, classes. It’s a place where you'll gain insights, tools, and the support of a community dedicated to growth and finding the truth of who they are.