Wednesday, July 6, 2011


A belief, as defined by the dictionary, is the psychological state in which an individual holds a premise to be true.  To have beliefs, or a belief system, is very human.  Our beliefs, in part, help us conceptualize the world, and make sense of our experiences.  Beliefs may be based on evidence, personal values, and convictions.  They may stem from socialization, or they may be deeply personal.  A belief may be quite accurate as defined by reality, or it may be entirely untrue when measured by the same standard.  Beliefs stem from personal convictions, thought processes, and feelings, and they vary greatly from person to person.  Beliefs are not right or wrong, valid or invalid.  They are beliefs.  And they are deeply personal, and very valid and true to the person that deems them to be so. 

Take a moment, my birds, and reflect on your beliefs.  Do you tend to form your beliefs based on factual information, or are your beliefs more difficult to prove as “true”?  Do your beliefs stem for your background, upbringing, peers and society, or do you hold them contrary to popular belief?  Do your beliefs incorporate religion?  Spirituality?   Moral values?  Human nature?  Are they based on your perceptions, judgments, schemas, or experiences? How are your beliefs representative of your thoughts and feelings?

Think now, for just a moment, about how your beliefs serve you.  How much do you rely on your beliefs to guide you through this world?  How flexible or rigid is your belief system?  Do you compare them to those of others, or label beliefs as right or wrong, better or worse?  How well do you know and understand your beliefs?  How much consideration do you give to the beliefs of others?    

And finally, I would like you to consider what you believe to be true about yourself.

As you do this, perhaps you will become aware that your beliefs about yourself are secure, reassuring, positive and empowering.  That you are able to accomplish anything you choose to do.  That even while you have both strengths and limitations, you are a uniquely beautiful and  gifted individual.  You have worth.  You are valuable.  I hope that as you reflect on your beliefs about yourself, you feel self-love, self-awareness, and self-efficacy.

But what if you do not?  What if, when you reflect on your beliefs about who you are, you realize that your beliefs are quite limiting?  What if you believe that you are a lost cause?  That you are not good enough.  What if you believe that you cannot make a difference in this world, that you are dispensable?  What if you believe that you are faulted, or at fault, when things go wrong?  What if you believe that love is conditional, that you must fit a mold in order to be loved, accepted, cherished? 

What happens then, if you realize that you are harmed by your very belief systems?

If you come to the realization today that you are the victim of limiting beliefs, I will tell you that you are in luck.  You are luck, because you have the power to change those beliefs.  You are in luck because the first step to changing your core beliefs is to identify them.  You are in luck because you have made a self-discovery, you now have greater self-awareness, and you are now closer to making positive changes in your life.  If you have identified a belief that is not working for you, you are able to change it.  You are able to combat the negative self-talk, and replace it with positive dialogue.  And as you practice doing this, you will be able to shift your perspective, changing how you look at the world, and slowly but surely, changing your beliefs about yourself.  And once you are able to do this, you will instantly change your reality.

Today, my cherished birds, take a moment to examine your beliefs yourself and the world in which you live.  I hope you notice that these beliefs are positive and empowering.  But if any part of them is not, remind yourself that they do not have to stay this way.  Remind yourself today that while your beliefs do define your reality, you may change them.  You may do anything you so choose to do, whether you believe it or not.  You may change your reality by changing your beliefs. 

Spread your wings just a bit wider today, my birds, and challenge your beliefs.  Sing songs of praise to yourself today and cherish your beautiful individuality.  Revel in who you are, and believe that you do indeed hold the key to the life of your dreams.  Believe that you may fly, spread your wings, and soar.
Ellie Otteson
Wings of Hope

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