Anchor chains and anti-aircraft guns on the battleship North Carolina; Wilmington NC
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t, no proof is possible.” - Stuart Chase
In and of themselves, our thoughts have no power over us. We are not responsible for our thoughts – it is our words and actions that we are accountable for. But our thoughts have a way of becoming ingrained when we do not challenge them, and we start to accept them as fact. It is when we face the prospect that thoughts that we have come to believe are threatened that we start feeling threatened. Still more deeply ingrained are the beliefs that we hold that were handed to us by those that raised us and we have never questioned, and when these are called into question our hackles go up quickly. We all hold beliefs that are inaccurate – we can just look back a year ago and see how many things our minds have changed about. This process of maturing will continue, and there are ways to accelerate the pace, or at least make it a bit less painful.
A woman named Byron Katie developed a four step system for challenging beliefs that can work quite well to take our ego out of the way of the growth process. The first step is to question our belief. First, we ask ourselves if the belief we hold is true. (I believe quitting smoking is difficult.) If yes, we ask ourselves if we absolutely know it is true. (There are some people who have said that they quit smoking with little or no difficulty – there is a slim possibility it might not be difficult.) Of course we cannot absolutely know anything, but we may still be pretty convinced. Next we can look at what happens when we believe that thought. (I keep on smoking.) Then fourth, we ask ourselves who we would be if we did not hold this belief. (I would be a non-smoker.)
Ms. Katie goes on to discuss how we can take these false beliefs and turn them around by asserting thoughts on the other side. (Quitting smoking is not difficult.) I have tried it on a few things, and it takes being willing to be willing to change if change is merited in order to begin to change thinking. But since beliefs that we hold that are false tend to cause a lot of pain as we try to manipulate them into truth, this is a simple exercise well worth using to challenge why we believe what we believe.
Happy Tuesday !!
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