A Reflection on Our Beliefs
A Path for Inner & Outer Peace
“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.” ― Oscar Wilde
The world is full of clashing opinions and beliefs. Whether political ideologies, religious views, or even how to raise children, we all have our way of seeing things. But our core beliefs shape more than how we interact with others. They shape your entire perception of reality and impact your life in ways you might not expect.
You can live a more fulfilling life by understanding your core beliefs and how they shape your worldview. The first step is learning to put aside your ego for peace. It’s easier said than done, but you can learn to see things through others’ eyes with practice. This helps you accept differing opinions and love those who disagree on important issues.
Awareness of how our beliefs shape our views also means we are better equipped to make conscious decisions about our ideas. We don’t have to get stuck in one way of thinking or accept things because they were presented as “common knowledge” or handed down from our ancestors.
Understanding the power of your core beliefs allows you to live a rich life with meaning and harmony with others. Whether making sure your opinions are based on facts or learning to accept differences between yourself and others, you can use this knowledge to guide you towards a healthier path.
What is a Belief?
A belief is a feeling of certainty based on some data that something exists or is true. It’s often formed with the help of other people or outside influences. Beliefs aren’t static and may change over time. As young children, we develop our core beliefs, which, unless challenged by life experience or proactively examined, can remain with us for a lifetime.
The ability to think critically about beliefs is a valuable skill. It helps us identify which beliefs are beneficial and which should be discarded. This process can help you stay open-minded, make better decisions, and live peacefully with others.
Our beliefs can be stubborn and entrenched in our minds, defended by biases and other psychological barriers. But we can confront them with resilience - this process of self-reflection will help us become better individuals while improving our interactions with those around us.
“I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not.” —Neil Gaiman
How Beliefs Impact Your Actions & Decisions in Life
Our beliefs shape our decisions and actions in life. It’s essential to recognize how our thoughts influence us, so we can decide which ones are beneficial and which should be discarded.
For example, if you believe that money is the only source of happiness, your decisions will reflect this. You may focus on making more money at the expense of other activities, such as building relationships or self-care. This could lead to an unbalanced lifestyle and eventual unhappiness.
Some people refer to beliefs in positive and negative terms. I like to refer to them as beliefs limiting or empowering us.
In the same way, you may be limited by the belief that money is the only source of happiness, but you can be empowered by believing that money is a tool that can help you build your values in the world.
Only by being aware of what we believe can we choose the most beneficial beliefs for our lives. Our beliefs influence us, so we must be mindful of them and ensure they align with who we want to become.
The Concept of Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance states that when you hold two conflicting ideas or beliefs, you experience discomfort and anxiety. To reduce this feeling, you construct a new belief to reconcile them.
For example, if you believe that money is essential to happiness and impossible without love, your brain will create a new belief: “Money is important for finding true love.” This new belief helps to reduce the tension between the two opposing views and serves as a way for your brain to make sense of the world around it.
This process can help us reconcile decisions in life. Yet, it can also repress the truth or mislead us. It’s essential to be aware of cognitive dissonance.
The concept of cognitive dissonance helps us understand how our beliefs and attitudes are shaped. It’s essential to be aware of this process to choose which beliefs to accept instead of being swayed by what is presented.
“The question is not, do you have conflicts? The real question is, are you aware of your conflicts?” ― Abhijit Naskar
Is There Certainty?
No matter how certain we feel about our beliefs, life has no absolute certainty. Even the most strongly held beliefs can change over time.
Recognizing that it’s OK to question and explore beliefs is essential. We don’t always have to cling to and defend them at all costs. Instead, we can use them as tools for growth. If you keep an open mind and challenge yourself to examine your beliefs, you will be better equipped to deal with life changes.
We usually defend our beliefs because we feel we are defending ourselves. But we aren’t our beliefs; there is a difference between who we are and what we believe. It’s a slight difference but an important one.
Remembering that our beliefs are not us but reflections of how we think about the world and ourselves is essential. We can change them if necessary, allowing us to be more flexible in our thinking and create a better understanding of ourselves and others.
You will better understand yourself by being aware of your core beliefs and re-evaluating them. You will be better equipped to interact with those around you. This is an essential step in leading a happier life.
“Belief is the death of intelligence.” ― Robert Anton Wilson
So How Can We Live Happier & More Harmonious Lives?
Living with yourself and others involves knowing your beliefs and recognizing how they affect your decisions in life. It also means being mindful of the beliefs of those around you so that you can better understand their point of view.
Once you know your beliefs, it’s important to challenge them by asking questions like: “What if I was wrong about this?” or “Do I have evidence for why I believe this?”, “Is there another viable or more desirable option?”, “Would it be so terrible if this weren’t true?”, “What would be real-world consequences if what I believe wasn’t true?”
It’s also essential to be understanding and tolerant of the beliefs of others. We all have different experiences shaping our worldviews, so listening to others and trying to understand their perspectives is essential.
When we challenge ourselves and open our minds, we can live happier and more harmonious lives. By being aware of our beliefs and how they affect us and being willing to listen to those around us, we can create a more peaceful environment for everyone.
Not only will this help us find harmony within ourselves, but it will also make interacting with those around us much easier. We will be better equipped to handle any disagreements or conflicts in a productive way that leads to resolution.
By understanding our beliefs, challenging them, and respecting the beliefs of those around us, we can create harmonious relationships with ourselves and others that lead to a more peaceful life.
Remember that life is dynamic and the world constantly changes, so staying open-minded and adaptable is essential. Embrace uncertainty and take on the challenge of living a happier and more harmonious life today!