When did you first decide that?

It’s amazing the power of this question isn’t it? I use this question a lot with clients. Psychologists tell us that we’re born with a huge capacity to learn (we’re also born with key knowledge; that’s to be explained on another day!). We also, when young, have a strong capacity to believe as “truth” whatever we are told or experience whether or not that is “true” or not. Further, and certainly when young, we can form universal beliefs based upon experiences that we have, especially harmful ones.

A child:

  • who’s bitten by a dog may easily conclude that all dogs are bad
  • who’s repeatedly verbally assaulted by their father may well draw the conclusion that all men are abusive and are to be mistrusted and probably avoided

This and many other beliefs are so easily taken with us into adulthood and continue to influence our thinking and behaviours as a result (if we let them). Although adults bring to their own experiences a wealth of knowledge and apply strong filters such as ‘qualifiers’ in order to help them draw conclusions, beliefs formed in childhood can remain massively powerful, though far from unchangeable, and can easily limit us as adults. We can become stuck with a child-formed belief and it becomes an unhelpful burden to us: something that we don’t want to carry with us. (The good news though is that we can change those beliefs to what we want them to be! Carry on reading for ways to unhook yourself from those beliefs.)

It is the reason therefore that I pose the question: When did you first decide that? It is liberating to recognise how beliefs are formed and indeed when we may well have formed them. Having a greater grasp of when we probably formed that belief makes it easier for us to change that belief for something else. Yes, absolutely, we can change our beliefs. After all, that’s what we did in the first place wasn’t it? We didn’t believe something was the case and then thought it was as a result of an experience. If we can change a belief to something unhelpful and something we don’t want any more we can change it from something unhelpful to something that we do want.

There are some very powerful tools that can help us move our focus away from damaging beliefs to something more attractive to us. Clamping and Date-stamping; the use of Meanings Diagrams and changing sub-modalities are three of a whole number of Powerchange tools that can be used to change our beliefs. Click here if you want to contact me and find out more.

I was stung by a bee when I was very young; I can still vividly recall the experience today. Recalling the experience though is in itself probably not the issue. Rather, for me, it is what the experience now means to me that is critical. What I have done is to identify the belief from that experience as for then; not for now. In other words, the experience in the past that resulted in the belief: I was stung by a bee so all bees and wasps are harmful required me to disassociate from that experience and then have this experience as a resource for future times. My new belief became: I like bees and wasps (some brilliant YouTube videos showing how beneficial wasps are for the garden); they are useful to us and the garden and (crucially) when I was stung the bee meant no harm to me personally (I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and the bee was merely acting as a bee would when in such a situation).

Does that mean that I would invite a swarm of bees and wasps to dinner? No. Would I do my best to catch and release any that enter the house or work place: most certainly yes! The unhelpful impact of that bee sting experience was for then: it is not for me now.

What beliefs would you like to change that you recognise were for then; not for now? By all means let me know.