Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true. ~ Demosthenes
My Two Sets Of Glasses
I wear glasses. I’ve worn them since the sixth grade which is, well, quite a few years. Here is an interesting thing about wearing glasses. Once I put them on, I forget I’m wearing them. I mean, of course one can see better. But other than that, I don’t feel them on my face and I don’t have the sensation of looking through something. I usually don’t even think about having them on or remember that I’m looking through them at the world.
I also wear a different set of glasses . . . and so do you. These “glasses” are the beliefs you and I have, through which our view of the world is colored and shaped. And, just as I do with my physical glasses, we typically don’t realize we’re wearing our glasses of beliefs.
Beliefs Take Many Forms
Our beliefs take many forms. Some are scientific facts, which have been proven to be correct, at least until something else is proven to be more correct.
At one time, people believed the “fact” that the earth is the center of the universe. There are people today who believe man has walked on the moon. There are others who believe the whole thing is a hoax, perpetrated by NASA. Eisntein’s general theory of relativity changed the way we saw space and time and the discoveries of quantum physics are continuing to change our scientific view of the world. Still, these beliefs serve as a way to order our reality.
Are Your Beliefs True For You?
In addition to our beliefs based on fact, we have other beliefs based on our experiences of the world around us. In general, the older we are, the more experiences we have had, and the more beliefs we have on our “glasses”.
Many of these cannot be tested as scientific facts. They can’t be proven to be correct or incorrect. They are our opinions. And they take a wide variety of form. “I’m not good at __.” “My parents made me the way I am.” “The person who dies with the most toys wins.” “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
Now, these beliefs through which we view our world may be correct, but they may not be. They may be “true” (for us), but they may not be.
Our Belief “Glasses”
We live our lives based on what we see through our glasses and our behavior stems from the beliefs we have put on them . . . good, bad, or indifferent. But here’s the important point. We act as if they are true. We forget that we are looking through glasses.
You can test your beliefs to determine how closely they describe reality. You do this by observing your actions and determining what beliefs you are acting upon. Are your actions serving you and others for the greatest good? Do they get you what you want in the long run?
Change Your Belief, Change Your Behavior
Sometimes, we try to change actions and habits and this can prove to be difficult. That’s because we haven’t changed the beliefs that drive the action. In Loving What Is, Byron Katie says, “As you inquire into issues and turn judgments around, you come to see that every perceived problem appearing ‘out there’ is really nothing more than a misperception within your own thinking.” [Katie] Or to say it another way, your “glasses” may need cleaning.
If you want to make lasting changes, first examine your beliefs. Which ones are serving you well? Are there some that aren’t grounded in reality, as you perceive it? Change your belief and the behavior will follow.
Cleaning Our Belief Glasses
I clean my glasses every morning. Occasionally, I inspect them for scratches. I am not as conscientious about checking my “belief glasses” and that’s probably even more important.
How about you? Do you ever inspect and clean your “belief glasses”? It is helpful to examine them from time to time, to see if they are still serving you. As you grow and change, your perception of reality grows and changes.
Have your beliefs kept up with your growth, or are you hanging on to some that don’t really serve you any longer? You don’t have to give anything up, but shouldn’t you know if your beliefs are still true for you?
You’re acting as if they are.
Excelerated Focus™ — aligning your actions with your true desires — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.
Katie, Byron. Loving What Is. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2002