“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”
I’ve talked before about the power of belief and how if we don’t stand up for our beliefs no one else will.
Today I want to ask the question: What do you believe?
What you believe affects every aspect of your happiness in life. It’s just as important as how strongly you believe.
If you’re holding tightly to beliefs that were created in your younger years – beliefs about not being enough or about traditional marriages being the only sanctioned form of family, for instance – your life is limited.
I remember a time when I prided myself on being able to sustain my beliefs for so many years – years of turmoil in my marriage and in my family. I’d have been better off if I had asked myself whether those beliefs were working to improve my life as I aged. I would have made huge alterations much sooner in what I believed, especially when I learned and grew in my spirituality. But it took me years to create new beliefs to match my more enlightened approach to life.
Beliefs – obvious and not so obvious
We talk about our beliefs relative to powerful issues everyday: gay marriage, abortion, civil rights, ageism, racism, etc. And these are certainly important things to consider. When you’re looking at the full spectrum of beliefs, however, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Am I willing to speak up for my beliefs or am I afraid of criticism?
- Do I say I want to be better and have better in my life but then do nothing to create any improvement?
- Do I want and talk about goals, but haven’t looked at mine in twenty years to see if they’re still relevant?
- Do I remain bogged down by the overwhelming size of the task at hand in terms of changing my beliefs, even though I believe small actions matter?
- Do I believe failure can make me stronger, but I’m unwilling to even try so I don’t have to risk failing?
Letting go of defunct beliefs
Loosen your hold on past beliefs and turn to the present moment. Take time in silence and solitude to examine your beliefs, in particular, those that might be causing you problems today. For instance, do you say out loud that marriage should be comprised of two consenting adults, regardless of sex, but then support candidates who completely eschew support for those relationships? Do you say children should be allowed to make many of their own choices but then keep your family on a near suffocating routine of “shoulds” and “do as I say, not as I do”-isms”?
Appreciate and trust that you can reformat your beliefs to better serve and support who you are today. It may take time, but it can be done. This kind of realignment creates a truer self – to the world and to yourself.
What do you do if you come across a belief that surprises and disappoints you? Well, what would you say to a friend if this was the case for them? You’d be kind and gentle and support their work – however long it took – to modify behavior to create a more grounded and happier person. Be that friend for yourself.
Greater peace and self-confidence and joy are yours if you take the time to look at beliefs you have maintained for years, perhaps decades, to see if they represent your truth now.
What I believe may not be what you believe. And that’s okay. I respect you for your beliefs even if they are different than mine.
I believe life is good, that my senior years can be some of the best years of my life, and I believe you have absolutely everything you need to have a fabulous final chapter in your life too!