By Wendy Hill, Ph.D.
You are a living testimony to what you believe. What you do, what you feel, what you think, how you react, the choices you make, and how you experience your relationships are influenced by your beliefs. There is very little outside of yourself that can determine your well being. Your well being is determined by what you believe to be true. What you experience is a reflection of what you believe about yourself, others, and the nature of reality.
“I am what I think I am.” It matters little what others think of you. It matters a great deal what you think of yourself. If what you believe about yourself is loving and supportive you will have experience that is loving and supportive. If what you believe about yourself is fearful and judgmental, you will have experience that is fearful and judgmental. What you experience is a reflection of and a direct result of your beliefs about yourself.
“Others will treat me as I believe they will.” You choose your relationships. You continue to choose them by remaining in them. You choose the people in your life in accordance with what you believe others to be. All those with whom you are in relationship choose you in accordance with their beliefs.
“Reality is what I believe it to be. There is no reality outside of myself.” What appears to be in the world around you are perceptions unique to you alone. “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” can also mean “reality is in the eyes of the beholder”. Everything you see is seen from your mind, your perceptions. All you see is filtered through your beliefs and that is what you see as reality.
There is no accident about what you experience, who is in your life, and what is happening in your life. You are the creator. You are the seer. You are the perceiver. You are the chooser. You are the doer. Your beliefs are so powerful that they attract outside people and circumstances that coincide with what you believe. Love attracts love. Fear attracts fear. You live in a responsive universe. It responds to what you put out. It responds to your energy. It responds to your beliefs.
If you are wearing rose colored glasses, you will see all things in your world with a rosy glow. If your glasses are grey colored, everything will look grey to you. The rosy glasses will make you feel good and so you will walk and talk with a sense of well-being. The grey tinted glasses will make you feel depressed and anxious and so you will walk and talk with tension and fear. People and conditions that you encounter will automatically respond to the way you walk and talk. Attitudes of well-being will bring about positive responses. Attitudes of fear will bring about negative responses. You attract responses reflecting your own consciousness.
Your true beliefs about yourself, others, and the nature of reality are buried deep within. Consciousness is similar to an onion in that there are many layers. The outside skin of the onion represents what your conscious mind knows. As you peel the onion, the deeper you go into what represents the subconscious mind. For example, some things are “on the tip of your tongue”. This means that the information you seek is close to the surface-one of the outer layers of the onion. The heart of the onion can represent your subconscious mind. This is the part of you that is totally unconscious. You can help thoughts in this part of you filter up through the layers to the surface. But while they are in your subconscious mind, you are not aware of them.
It is in this part of you, the heart of the onion, that your true beliefs reside. The skin of the onion and the heart of the onion are very different. Your conscious beliefs and your subconscious beliefs can also be very different. It is possible to think one thing consciously about yourself and on the subconscious level think another. How is this split within the self possible? It occurs as a result of a series of defense mechanisms that are built into the personality. Though these defense mechanisms are designed to help, sometimes they can actually hurt, causing a split within yourself.
If you are seeking well being, it is essential that you become aware of your deepest “to the heart of the onion” beliefs. Why is it so important? Because your deepest to the core beliefs have created patterns in your life that you repeat over and over again. Your patterns are based on your beliefs about yourself, others, and the nature of reality. Your patterns result from the following sequence of events: you think, you feel, you choose, and you behave. What you believe will dictate your thoughts. These thoughts create an emotional reaction which help determine your choices and behaviors. For example, if you believe that you are worthy, you will have thoughts about your ‘worthiness which will bring about feelings of well being. These feelings of well being will influence how you eat, dress, walk, communicate, and act. These feelings will influence everything about you. This is what creates your reality. If you carry negative or conflicting beliefs at the “core of your onion”, you will automatically create a reality in direct response to these beliefs.
All this responding to beliefs happens in a split second and usually on the subliminal level – just below the conscious level. Imagine the layer of onion flesh just below the tougher skin of the onion. This is the level in which most of your thinking and feeling is occurring. This means that you are not aware of most of your thoughts and feelings. Because your responses are habitual they occur instantly. It is a mental habit that you don’t even think about. You just do it.
Some of your core beliefs are positive and some are negative. Where do all of these core beliefs come from? Where did they originate? To understand the answers to these questions you must first understand the human experience beginning in the womb.
At some point after your conception, you began to develop an awareness of your- self and your experience. You began to feel, think, hear, and even see. Your mind is very sensitive and responsive. You have a very active intelligence. For example, you can see light or darkness depending on whether your mother is in light or darkness. You can feel your mother’s emotions, hear her conversations with others, experience her moods and the effects of what she has eaten or had to drink. You then interpret what all this means about you. Your well being as a fetus is determined by all you experience and your interpretations of your experience. You do not need to know language. You automatically respond to your experience. By the time you are born, you are already responding to beliefs about yourself, others, and the nature of reality as you see it.
Your birth is of great importance in determining your core beliefs. If your birth experience is harmonious you will respond with harmonious beliefs. If your birth is unpleasant or conflicting in any way, you will respond with conflicting beliefs. These beliefs help make up the core or heart of your “onion”.
Your next several years of life are also very important in the development of your core beliefs. During childhood your mind is in a state of receptivity and openness that you will never experience at any other time in your life. You take things personally and literally. You do not know how to rationalize or analyze your experience. You simply respond to it as you perceive it. If it is positive you will respond with positive beliefs. If it is negative you will respond with negative beliefs. This condition of such openness continues to about the age of ten. The younger you are the more open you are. As you grow older you begin to develop a more conscious mind with more effective defenses. Your experience affects you to a lesser degree. The time between pre-birth to about age four is the most receptive time and there- fore the time that most of your core beliefs develop. Your beliefs can be influenced by later experience, but not to the same degree as when you are very young.
As an adult your perception of the world is quite different than during childhood. You are older and more experienced. You have much more control of your environment and your attitudes. You can change your perceptions and the world around you. You have power to act and choose your responses. As a child you simply respond without thinking. Your choices are limited.
Your experience between the womb and ten is very vital to you. Your beliefs that stem from your experience become “locked” in your consciousness. They are the “heart of your onion”. They are the foundation of your personality and influence you for the rest of your life.
You learn who you are in your childhood. At least you learn who you think you are. Conflicting experiences in your childhood cause you to have conflicting beliefs about yourself. These conflicting beliefs influence your emotions and your actions. These emotions and actions become patterns. These patterns repeat over and over again. They become familiar to you. You have certain patterns of thought, feeling, and action. For example, you may have patterns of how you think, feel, and act around authority figures. You may have certain patterns of behavior when you are under stress. You may handle problems in predictable ways. Your pat- terns can be observed in every aspect of your life. They are predictable, compulsive, and consistent. You are continuously responding to your early experience.
In many ways you may define yourself by your patterns. You may also feel imprisoned by them. Because most of your patterns are subconscious, it is difficult to recognize many of them. Because your patterns are compulsive, they imprison you. Until you become aware of them and find their roots, you are responding like a puppet to your core beliefs.
The key is to find out what your core beliefs really are and how you came to accept them. You can discover this valuable information about yourself. You can transform your beliefs. By changing your core beliefs you can change your feelings and reactions. You can change how others react to you. You can change your experience for the better.