Transform Beliefs

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?

How are beliefs formed?

Belief systems are formed throughout life, but especially during the time from birth through early childhood. Our core beliefs around love and security are usually formed by the time we are four years old because those two areas are necessary for survival. If we aren’t loved and cared for enough or aren’t safe, then we instinctively know we can die. While you may believe, and have experienced, that your parents didn’t love you or you weren’t safe, the fact that you are alive shows that you had enough love and security to survive.

This is how a belief system is formed. Let’s say you’re a one year old and standing in your crib and crying to be picked up. This is a common experience all children have. However, it may be that this time you cry too long and decide that no one is coming to pick you up because you’re not lovable. If you were lovable, or good enough, then someone would be there for you. Since your mother doesn’t come for you, then that proves there’s something wrong with you. None of this is logical thinking, or in any way conscious, yet it occurs energetically and unconsciously in all of us over and over again.

In that moment of stress and despair, a belief system is formed and encompasses four elements: (1) your thought of “I’m not good enough”, (2) your emotions in the crib, (3) your age of one, and (4) the event of no one coming to pick you up. All four elements become locked together and programmed into your subconscious mind. It is fused with the thought/feeling of  “this is what’s true about me.” From then on, that thought can become reinforced and more real for you as life goes on. It seems to be like a magnet, actually attracting that situation to you. As a teenager, you may not get picked for a team. During dating, the person you are crazy about someone who likes someone else. In your job, you get passed over for promotions. As life’s events happen, they are filtered though this belief and you respond with “See, more proof, I’m not good enough.”

In another example, a thirsty four year old child is reaching for her drink which is up on a counter. She struggles to reach it but can’t, and nobody comes to help her. So she sits down on the floor and feels overwhelmed and helpless. She turns her attention inside to console herself. In that moment, a belief is formed, which if it isn’t changed or updated, can cause her to close down and feel helpless or overwhelmed as an adult when she can’t see a solution. In reality, there was a kitchen chair available that the child could have pulled over and stood on to reach her drink. It may even be that a few minutes later she saw the chair, retrieved her drink and went on her merry way. However, the belief was already formed and can have a profound effect throughout her life.

The majority of our belief systems are naturally updated and changed as we go through life. We learn how to walk, ride a bicycle, tie our shoes, learn to read, drive a car, get a job, and so on. Most of our belief systems work for us in a positive way and help us navigate through life.

However, when a belief is formed early and with strong emotions, it can remain unchanged in the subconscious until such time as it’s consciously changed. It’s these beliefs that are formed early in childhood and remain unchanged that cause us problems as adults.

These are the beliefs that we need help releasing. That’s where I can help you.

Belief Systems Seem True, but…

Belief SystemNow this may surprise you, but belief systems are ALWAYS meant to help when they are formed. They are always intended to be a positive solution in the beginning. If they create a problem as an adult, it’s because they are (1) still in their childlike format and have not been upgraded and (2) not true to begin with.

Thus, our “problems” are actually solutions chosen by our subconscious mind according to our beliefs. Concerned about your safety, your mother may have constantly told you to “be careful crossing the street.” As an adult, you may continue to have trouble “crossing the street” in order to stay safe. You may have great anxiety taking a risk, such as changing a job, moving, travel, or making a decision. You may be a homebody, rarely traveling far from home, staying off highways, or having trouble driving in general. Even if you dislike your job, it’s what you know and fear of change will send you back “home” to your job where it’s safe.

These examples show that …

We are ALWAYS 100% successful at following our beliefs.

It looks to you like your belief systems are true, doesn’t it? You may believe it’s not safe to drive and, thus, you may very well experience feelings of panic or anxiety while you drive. You might say to me, “See, it’s not safe and I’m not confident. My anxiety shows this.”

My response would always be: “Yes, you experience the panic, not because in reality you’re not safe but because you have an underlying belief that you’re not safe.” So it will always appear to you that your beliefs are true and justified. In fact, all that is True in the real sense is that you have a belief that you’re not safe on the roads. It’s not necessarily true.

All that is really true is that you have a belief – and that belief happens to make you feel unsafe, anxious and panic.

You can think of your conscious mind as a train that can only go where the railroad tracks are laid down. The tracks are your subconscious mind, the rule book of how you are to live your life. It is these beliefs, these tracks, in the subconscious that determine where your life goes.

An event happens and the conscious mind immediately checks this “rule book” to see what that event means to you, how to respond, how to feel, how to interpret it. Thus, belief systems are simply strongly held opinions. They are not facts, although they appear to be real, true, and factual. Indeed, we have plenty of experiences that seem to prove they are real.

This is one of the most important points I can make: How we experience life is a result of our subconscious belief systems.

So even though we can point to our life experiences and say “this is true about me and my life,” the underlying basis of these experiences are the beliefs that say “that’s how life is for you.”

Here’s another example. Let’s say every boyfriend or girlfriend has left you for another person, and you can point out the numerous men/women who have all acted this way. These are real experiences! So you say to yourself – this proves what’s true! Here’s the other way to look at it: All this actually proves is that you have a subconscious belief that men/women leave you for another – and so they do.

I hope you’re beginning to see that the reason these bad things happen is because of the underlying belief. This is a hard concept to really grasp at its core level. You may not believe this yet for it’s a very different way of looking at life.

Our belief systems appear real because we believe in them as real. We can just as easily believe in the opposite experience and make it real in our lives. In fact, we often have opposite belief systems. There’s no law of the universe that says our beliefs have to be in alignment. We should be so lucky! Rather, we can have opposing beliefs, which is why we act one way sometimes and other ways other times. Or we can be capable of making decisions at work, and yet become subordinate and dominated at home. We simply have different beliefs about our roles as “workers” and “spouses.”

Another belief may be: “When I’m too happy, something bad will happen.” Once again, you can point to numerous happy times in your life that were followed by something bad happening. You can also point to many times when you were happy and nothing bad happened. We have conflicting beliefs and sometimes one will be expressed, sometimes another.

One way to learn whether or not an experience you have is based on a belief system or is True is to determine whether or not this experience is true for everybody. If it is true for everybody, then it is a Universal Truth and not just your own subconscious belief system. For instance, gravity is a Universal Truth since all of us on earth are bound by it. Cause and effect is another Truth. Our day-to-day experiences, however, are not based on Universal Truth but on our beliefs.

We actually make up all of our beliefs. Our subconscious mind doesn’t care if it’s “real” or not, or if the causative event happened the way we remember it. It just sends directions to the conscious mind and our life is lived out accordingly. You may have heard the numerous stories of athletes who have practiced their sport in their mind, over and over, and become better and better players even though they weren’t playing their game in actuality.

Physical Healing

Physical healing Over the past 40 years there has been a tremendous amount of research that shows that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, our mind and body are intimately connected. Our thoughts and emotions have a direct affect on our physical well-being. At a simple level, if you have anxious thoughts, your stomach can feel like it has knots, your shoulders may be tense, and you may have a splitting headache and clenched jaws.

There is usually, if not always, a mental-emotional connection to our physical symptoms. While modern medicine works to remove symptoms, the underlying root causes of the symptoms may remain intact deep within our subconscious mind. As long as the underlying cause is still active, the symptoms can reappear or show up in different forms of physical distress.

As with emotions, the gateway into the underlying cause of physical symptoms is through the subconscious belief systems. For example, as a child you may decide that you mother is only “nice” to you when you’re sick, otherwise she’s “mean.” The subconscious mind forms the belief, “the only way I receive love is to be sick.” This belief may remain intact over the years, with the result that you continually have one physical condition after another. While consciously you strive to be healthy, the subconscious belief that “through illness I will receive love” continues to manifest unwanted physical conditions.

By accessing and resolving these limiting belief systems, you can eliminate or reduce recurring physical symptoms.

How Do You Change Subconscious Beliefs?

Release the unhealthy beliefs!

Release unhealthy beliefsSo now we come to the big question: how do we change these subconscious beliefs that are so firmly implanted in us? We are actually changing our beliefs all the time. It’s a natural, instinctive part of being human. As we grow and mature, we automatically change the inner beliefs and live our lives differently. The vast majority of our subconscious beliefs work in our favor and enable us to lead productive lives.

However, for those beliefs that are still stuck in their childhood state, there are numerous ways to change them. The easiest is the “Aha” experience. This is when you hear or read some new piece of information that strikes a clear note of truth with you. You may even experience it as a tingling or excitement or some other feeling and you suddenly live life differently as a result. You have changed a belief in an instant. Unfortunately, for many of the issues that are impacting our lives negatively, we can’t wait around for the Aha moment.

All of the self-help books are aimed at changing the underlying beliefs, even if they don’t use these words. They have to be because unless the subconscious belief is changed, the behavior and feelings attached to it won’t change.

However, what do you do about those beliefs that you just can’t get to change, even after years of therapy and workshops and books? That’s where my work often comes onto the scene. We need help getting to the subconscious and all the talk and reading may not change the behavior.

In a session, online using Zoom or on the phone, you relax in a reclining position so that your head and neck are supported and you’re warm and comfortable. Even though you’re relaxed, you’re still awake and alert, conscious and clear, able to speak normally. I give you the suggestion to go back to the root cause of ____ whatever your issue is. Remember, a belief system has four components that are intertwined: the original event, emotion, age and thought. So whenever you access any one of those elements, you access all of them. So by going back to the original event, we can then discover all the elements of how the belief was formed, how it was meant to help, and why it’s still hanging on.

Using hypnosis allows us to work in the realm of the subconscious, bypassing the logic, so we can actually talk with and to the belief, as though it’s a little part within you doing it’s job of making you not feel good enough, or feeling stuck, or having pain in your stomach. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I can talk with the belief and find out everything we need to know about it’s affect and purpose in your life. Then I lead you through a process of bringing it into present time and releasing it. Then you fill in with the essence of that which is in your highest good. We don’t give words to the new belief, for that would only limit you in another way. Rather, there’s an innate intelligence within each of us that knows and embodies our highest good, so that is what replaces the limiting belief.

As the belief and all of its connected emotion and energy are released, you feel a lightness in your body. You can actually feel the belief system letting go. It’s an amazing sensation. And then we go back in time for another belief, and go through the same process until all of the intertwined beliefs are released. With limiting behaviors, there’s not just one belief to release, rather there’s an entire network of interconnecting beliefs supporting one another.

When a belief system is released, you naturally begin living as though that belief were never there. When you release the belief “I’m not good enough”, then you don’t go around all day saying “I am good enough.” Rather, you just live your life without the limiting thought; it’s simply a non-issue and you may not even think about it one way or another. This is what amazes clients: a belief that ruled, absolutely ruled their life, can be gone in an instant and you then go on with your life as though it were never there. Before long you can barely pull up the feelings it used to generate. I have experienced this myself with a core belief I took on at the moment of birth and which would lead me into weeks of depression – and suddenly, POOF! it was gone and has not even been a thought within me for decades!