If you’ve never given any mind to why you react to certain situations in certain ways, you’ll always react the same way. It can be very easy to believe that your perception of reality is true for everyone else, but what about if it isn’t? What if I said that the way you interepret every event in life is purely from your own perception and no one others? Could this because no one else in the world could have possibly experienced your life?
You may believe that an activating life event (“A”) causes you to instantly react, thus leading to a consequence (“C”). For example, if someone hits you, you hit them back, if someone calls you a rude name, you reply instantly….so A=C?
What some of us ignore is the process that takes us from A to C. We’re missing a B. Let’s call this B belief. We believe that we should act in a certain way to a certain situation, but why?
Because our beliefs are what we’ve inherited from our parents - because it’s impossible not to before we develop the ability to critically think for ourselves. Have you ever considered whilst growing up why you like and dislike certain things? Is that because your parents liked and disliked those things? What about any prejudices you share? Political views? Taste in music?
Beliefs are also the ideas that we’ve had validated throughout our past, e.g. if you’ve failed a few exams in the past, you might start to believe that you’re a failure, similarly if you’ve faced rejection in the form of a love interest or a job you really wanted and that can affect the way you see the world, the impact you make on your own life and those around you.
Wouldn’t it be more effective and productive to respond to a situation rather than react once we’re fully aware of our beliefs? Beliefs impact behaviour and behaviour certainly has consequences, whether they’re positive or negative is up to you.
We should, therefore, critique any cognitive biases, distortions or limiting beliefs that we have developed in order to make sure that we are adding value to the people closest to us (let alone to ourselves), and in doing so, we are taking responsibility for our thoughts, for our beliefs, for our opinions, for our attitudes. Then we can start to feel more empowered once our beliefs are in alignment with our core values (what makes us tick).