True V Helpful

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You probably already know that your behaviours, the things you do, are a result of the narrative you have about, and the meaning you assign to, any event or situation you find yourself in. 

We gather all the information we consider relevant to us, we make sense of it in the form of a story and we select an action. 

Usually, the unconscious mind takes over and short cuts this for us so that we can just crack on. If we had to weigh everything up consciously, we never get anything done – you know how long it takes to make even simple choices when you start over thinking. 

The story we tell ourselves is built from the way we believe things are with the world, the beliefs we have about ourselves and the relationship between the two. This happens whether we are conscious of what those beliefs are or not.

Some of the things we belief lead us to take actions, carry out behaviours and form habits that are not particularly helpful or productive on many levels (but must be a good solution based on those beliefs). In the coaching/therapy world these would be classed as “limiting beliefs”, they limit you, and hold you back from achieving your goals. 

The usual solution offered is to hunt down that belief and to wrestle with it, go head to head so you can disprove it and declare it “untrue” once and for all. 

Perhaps there is another way. 

We still need to do the work of uncovering the belief. You need to know what you are responding to before you can decide to stop responding, but maybe putting energy into fighting and disproving is not energy well spent.

How do you categorise your beliefs?

True vs untrue is a bit misleading in my eyes. We never have enough information to know for sure what’s true. For example, we never fully know the story someone else is telling themselves. We don’t know their beliefs or their stories without our own filter overlaid.  Also, as we only have a handful of sense to perceive the world around us, I find it hard to believe we are getting a full enough picture to know what the “truth” is about any given situation.  

Dogs have a better sense of smell, Moths have far superior hearing and we can’t even see as well as some bloody shrimp! Our senses are wholly inadequate to fully assess the world around us and think we really know the craic. That’s before we even consider that there may be things around us we have no way of sensing at all. (sorry if that’s a bit “out there” for a Sunday morning!)

That makes me think that perhaps we need to drop the whole true/untrue categories when it comes to what belief and go for something else. 

My suggestion is helpful/unhelpful. 

If a belief is helpful to you, carry on using it. Keep it charged and ready to go. 

If a belief is unhelpful, it doesn’t need to be fought off, you can simply stop using it. Allow the power to run down on it by itself. 

But as I said, first you need to know what it is.

While I am suggesting that this is simple to do, I am in no way under the impression that it’s going to be easy. It’s going to take openness, self-reflection, time and support – but to me it seems like generating this belief pattern is helpful, and will be energy well spent.

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