The Basics

There’s a wonderful bumper sticker that explains life the way I see it:

The Universe rearranges itself to accommodate your picture of reality.

I have been working with belief systems since 1980 and I’m grateful to have a bumper sticker that explains my life work!

Nancy Canning HypnotherapistBelief systems are thoughts stored in our subconscious mind. Think of them as strongly held opinions that determine how we perceive life. In the same way as a computer is programmed and will only perform according to it’s programming, so too we will only “perform” according to our programming – which is our belief systems.

Everything we hear is filtered through our beliefs. We all have the experience of saying one thing and the person we are talking to is hearing something very different. That’s because what you say gets filtered through their beliefs and interpreted through their own programming. It may or may not be what you’ve said or meant, but it’s how they interpreted it.

How we act is determined by our subconscious beliefs. If you have a belief that it’s not appropriate to impose your will on others, then you will uncomfortable telling others what to do. On the other hand, you may think it’s highly desirable to give advise to others, whether or not it’s solicited. It’s not that one way is right or wrong, it’s simply that we all have different beliefs on how we can/should and cannot/should not act.

What we feel is a result of our belief systems. You may be very sensitive and have your feelings hurt easily. Or you may not even be aware of many feelings, other than perhaps anger or disappointment or excitement.

What you think is a direct result of your subconscious beliefs. In fact, your thoughts can lead you directly to what you believe on a deep level. If you constantly are telling yourself “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m so dumb,” or “I’m so lucky to be alive,” or “Life gets better and better”, then that’s what will unfold in your life.

Even our health is determined by our belief systems. The mind-body connection has long since been proven and there are countless books showing the reality of how our thoughts affect our physical body and our emotions. Very simply, if you think stressful thoughts, your body responds with a tight stomach, a headache, increased blood pressure, or many other symptoms. It’s our subconscious belief systems that determine what is stressful for each of us. What’s stressful for you may not be at all a source of aggravation for someone else. How we respond to life is what causes us stress, and that response is determined by our beliefs on how life should be.

Some examples of common beliefs systems are: I’m not enough, life is a struggle, I have to work hard for money, I am always popular, people love me, I’m unlovable, I’m left out, I am healthy, life is unfair, life is a gift, it’s not safe for me to express anger, the world is a friendly, supportive place, the world is against me, I am always late, I am organized, I am unorganized. The list goes on and on and on.

Your belief systems are not deep, dark secrets. Rather, they are in front of you at all times. It’s as though you wear a hockey mask in front of your face. Think of it as a grid. As you look out through this mask, or grid, you only see certain things. Your belief systems are the grid and determine what it is you see, how you judge what happens in your life, and how you should respond or feel.

Thus, your belief systems are filters. While they seem transparent since you may not be consciously aware of them, everything you are is because of these filters. The questions then become:

  1. How are belief systems formed in the first place,
  2. How do you become conscious of your belief systems and
  3. How do you change them?