“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
Belief is an Anglo-Saxon word that means “to live in accordance with”. People of religious faith tout that belief is the action word that puts arms and legs to the exercise of their faith practice. Believing in something, someone or yourself requires more than words, it engages action. Belief is powerful. It is the stuff that makes up miracles. People have overcome overwhelming terminal medical conditions, crediting their capacity to believe. Incredible feats and accomplishments in political movements, business, sports, and treks of outdoor pursuit have been achieved stoked with the fuel of belief.
Many have endured hardship, struggle, incarceration and so much more simply because of a deep belief that something would change or be worth dying for. Dreams are not realized without this important action step.
You can believe in God without believing, or with a minimal belief, in yourself. An addict can stop acting out with minimal belief in self. The secret to seeing your future self is contingent upon your capacity to believe in yourself. Believing is an action word that must be exercised in order to expand.
There are varying degrees of self-belief. An addict would never experience a single day of sobriety without believing that they can go to a meeting, say no to the junkie worm, call a support person, or reach out rather than act out, etc. These steps require a certain level of belief in oneself that I am worthy of this basic action toward sobriety.
Addicts and others must tear down and remodel their false belief in self. False belief in oneself denies limitations and ignores personal boundaries. People with misplaced beliefs operate their lives from a blind spot. They fail to recognize constraints and controls and the need to resource the energy of wisdom outside themselves. They are blind to the power of humility. True belief in oneself recognizes personal boundaries and realizes the need to go deep within to unearth the limitless power of belief that exists within the depths of the self. When personal energy is focused deep within, personal transformation becomes reality. It culminates from the reserve of brilliance given by the universe that lies immeasurably within.
Methods toward excavating your own brilliance of personal belief are countless.
Here are a few considerations:
- Face your mistaken beliefs: Misbeliefs must be rooted out. It requires confrontation. You cannot ignore mistaken beliefs. You must face them. When I awaken every day I am confronted by a chatterbox of over 26 mistaken beliefs that I have inventoried through the years. The beliefs chirp at me daily, not all of them, but many. Over the years some have disappeared. I have learned that by facing debilitating beliefs, I can practice ignoring them and focus on inspiring intimacy, acquiring beliefs that fulfill my destiny. Activating these inspiring beliefs demand training and action. You will need to practice your inspiring beliefs every day. The world outside won’t see your work. They will only observe it by the way you live. Face your misbeliefs.
- Cultivate deep abiding hope and confidence with the conviction of self-believing affirmations. Do you believe that you are “an unrepeatable miracle of the universe”? Really believe it? Then the way you treat yourself must be congruent with this belief. Self-degradation must stop! It is inconsistent with self-affirming belief. Cultivating self-believing affirmation requires commitment, not perfection. When your behavior and attitude stray from a deep belief in self, gently make amends and bring yourself back to center. You must act on the conviction of self-belief regardless of feelings notwithstanding your critical voice. This requires a daily commitment to rolling up your sleeves and doing the blue-collar work of acting on self-belief even when the outside results tell you it is not working. Remember, you are affirming your being, not the results. Ultimate results you do not control. Your response to them is where you cultivate unconditional confidence and belief in yourself.
- Self-belief is creative. Craft your own path. Ultimately, belief is personal. Listen to the storyline of others who have deepened belief in self. There is no one way to believe. Self-belief becomes the way. My personal pathway has involved physically going back to locations of personal hurt and abuse, giving back the shame that stifled self-belief, and reclaiming my own self-empowerment.
For example, I attended my 50th college class reunion. I graduated from a small conservative church-sponsored university. My advisor at the business school who was the chair of the department, would regularly chide me with negative beliefs. He told me that I would never amount to anything special and that I would simply be a “nine to fiver”. He told me to be average and just go home and make a living. At the time I was vulnerable and didn’t know how to believe in myself. I allowed his negative messages to dominate me for many years. But then I became determined to prove him wrong. What I proved was that I could be a workaholic and that my workaholism fueled my sexual addiction. I learned to self-sabotage self-belief.
Through the years I learned to detach from the shame of misbelief. I learned to affirm my sense of being and not to allow my performance to determine my worth. Part of my recovery journey was to give back the shame to the department head. He has been deceased for several years. Creatively, I went to the school of business and went to the room named after him. I did a kind of “seance” and invited him into the room named after him. I envisioned him as I recalled 50 years ago. Once seated, I read him an emotion-focused letter and gave him back the shame that I had carried for so many years. I then read to him selected poems that I have authored about shame, personal uniqueness, and empowered living. I celebrated my sense of being rather than my accomplishments. I shared feelings of anger, sadness, relief, and joy. Though I had addressed the mistaken beliefs years before, the ceremony of giving back the shame was powerful and deeply meaningful.
I then walked over to the religion department. Even though I was a business major and not a religion major, I sat in an empty room and invited a man named C. Paul Gray into the room in the same way. During my first year of college, I confided in Dr. Gray about the physical, sexual, and religious abuse that I endured throughout my childhood. He listened and admitted that he did not have any answers for me. What he did do is validate me and treated me with dignity, respect, and compassion. He looked me in the eyes and told me that he believed in me. He believed in me when I did not know how to believe in myself.
On my trip, I shared an emotion-focused letter with him. I thanked him for his support and deep belief in me. After reading the emotion-focused letter, I read to him inspired poems that I have authored that anchored self-belief. I left the empty room filled with inspiration that affirmed my deepest belief that I am an unrepeatable miracle of the universe!
You will need to create your own way. You may want to cobble together bits and pieces of other people’s journeys. Just make it your own. A deep belief in self paves the way to self-acceptance regardless of gender, race, religion, or economic status. You will need to practice being who you are and saying what you feel. Fulfilling your destiny will help transform our world. Thoreau is right when he emphasized that when you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you imagined, you will meet with a transformation unexpected in common hours. It all hinges on deep belief in yourself.