Have you ever been curious about why we believe the things we do? Are we naturally born with these beliefs, or do they develop over time influenced by situations, people or other life leanings? Let’s explore this thought.
Recently I had an interesting conversation with a few friends concerning this very issue. The conversational topic of how we develop a personal belief system.
We were talking about our personal beliefs, and, considering the current situation, the conversation moved in the political realm. Stay with me, because this piece isn’t about politics!
We each had very strong beliefs about right and wrong and how our government handles itself. Thankfully, the conversational tone was civil, and a free-flow of ideas and thoughts prevailed.
The main point here was that we ended up trying to figure out where our beliefs came from. We were not able to pin it down to parents, school teachers, college professors, friends, or any other specific influencers.
My initial thought is that this group had answered their own question: parents, teachers, professors, friends, the media—all of these sources, and many others, influence our belief system. With all the information bombarding us from every angle these days, it becomes vitally important to be skeptical about what we take in, because once we give sanction to the information, it can become part of our personal belief system.
The challenge for most of us is that a lot of this information came at us when we were very young, and we didn't have the ability yet to discriminate between "truth," "opinion" and “bias.” Because the information came from authority figures, however, we didn't question it. It became "truth" for us, and got stored in our subconscious to form the foundation for our beliefs and decision-making.
One of my principles, influenced, of course, from an early mentor, is, "Our thoughts accumulate to become the core of our belief system." The more we think about something, the more it becomes a part of who we are, affecting our actions as well.
Therefore, it becomes critically important that we be careful what we listen to, and from whom we get the information. The good news, now that we are adults, is that we can examine our beliefs and toss out the ones that no longer serve us.
Someone said that "belief systems are the stories we tell ourselves to define our personal sense of reality. Every human being has a belief system that they utilize, and it is through this mechanism that we individually make sense of the world around us."
Just ensure one thing. Your personal belief system should be just that. Your unique beliefs that is gleaned through your intelligence and not of someone else’s.
I’ll leave you with one final thought. Do not let your belief system prohibit your ability to seek other possibilities in which the real truth might lie just beyond your thought paradigms.
Think about it…