Our beliefs are part of our lives. Sometimes they are obvious, and—in other occasions—they hide in our words and actions. No one escapes their influence, and the reason is not that we are born with them, but because we acquired them at a very early age.
Beliefs define our life and can become wings that allow us to fly or cages that keep us captive, depending on the energy they carry. It is easy to accept the ones we agree with, but we are very likely to reject any differing notions.
One interesting question is what are our beliefs? Do not limit your inventory to those that are evident or the ones that you consider most brilliant and noble. What about those that limit you or lead you to self-deception? Those are the most complicated, the ones that bring bigger problems.
“We cling to our beliefs, even when they drown us,” says philosopherJules Evans. The phrase reveals the greatest danger of ideas: we keep them even when evidence indicates that we are on the wrong track.
With a hypnotizing power, our deepest beliefs lead us to see things not as they are, but as we want them to be. We cling to them even if they suffocate or bury us in despair and conflict. It is tough to let go.
Some beliefs are ingrained from childhood, such as “I’m not good”, “nobody loves me”, “it is not good to trust others.” Others appear along the way: “I’m a failure,” nothing I do is right”, “our worth is based on our material possessions.” We also embrace many of them to gain membership in a select group: “My team is the best,”Only my leader is right”, “My people are superior to the rest.” And thus continues the inventory, each person with their script.
But is it bad to believe in something?
It is not, but we must explore and analyze what we believe in. As we cultivate the impact our beliefs have in our lives and that of others, we avoid becoming hostages to our thoughts. If embracing an idea can harm us and affect others, is it not the time to evaluate whether it makes sense?
The tricky thing is that our ideas seem to be always true, and those that contradict us appear like mere lies. They are like Velcro and Teflon: Our beliefs are stuck hard, and everywhere we find evidence to support them.
Therefore, it is crucial to use discernment along with wisdom. By wisdom, I do not mean theoretical knowledge, but life experience that will allow us to live better, in harmony with ourselves and with others. As for discernment, it is the ability to see things as they are with an open mind, keeping a safe distance and with the willingness to change if the evidence—or the experience—requires us to do so.
Simply put: if you want to swim, drop the anchor.
Eli Bravo is the Managing Director and Chief Editor of Inspirulina, a Spanish content website with articles on wellness, personal growth, and health. ■