by Henry Velez
First off, let me say that I am -not- into the whole meta-physical, ‘mind over matter’, believe-it-into-existence via the ‘Secret’ nonsense. I don’t buy it. If being convinced something was going to happen is all that was needed to bend the laws of the Universe.. every lotto ticket purchased with hopes of winning would win, broken hearts would be a myth and I’d always have shaded parking every place I went.
Now, that being said.. what I -do- believe is that Attitude affects everything going on in our subjective experience -inside- our being. There is -real- reality (gravity, death, poverty, etc.) and then there is the -subjective- reality between our ears which is 100% shaped by our belief system. Thus, ‘believing’ that I can fly off buildings works fantastic in my imagination.. but not from the edge of an actual building.
The fantastic and horrible news is that we can re-shape our ‘beliefs’ about ourselves and the world around us at any given time. Just like our parents maybe told us, “Change your attitude.”, and the world becomes a different place. The horrible side of all this is that as we get battered around during the early part of our lives we may have come to certain conclusions (beliefs) about ourselves or the world around us and ever since then have been chained down by those unhealthy beliefs. But the fantastic news is that, with a bit of surrender and effort.. we can re-write our belief system into something more desirable.
So how is this applicable in real life? Can we just -will- ourselves into wealth, love or happiness? Well, yes and no. I believe that if we, for instance, have long believed that “this world never gives me an even break”.. then what we do is we only spot and remember in detail any experiences that support that belief.. ignoring and forgetting all the experiences that say otherwise. So, we not only end up with a jaded memory of the past, but a bad precept for the present and the future. (pretty dismal, eh?)
However, if we take that bad belief-system and change it.. our perspective inwardly changes with it. That is the fantastic news about belief systems.. they are more pliable and flexible than we dare toy with. We get comfortable with the “devil we know” and become afraid of how we would adjust to things actually getting better. As someone once wrote, “Too often, we are more afraid of success than failure.” Therein lies the awesome power of each person’s ‘Will’.
Ever known a woman who is a victim of physical abuse? I have. Several, over the years. Despite all the OBVIOUS evidence that this man does not love them.. they blame themselves for his abusiveness and vow to “do better” so he doesn’t get upset at them again. It’s insanity. It’s a self-demoralizing belief that only they can shake off. At some point, if things are to improve, they themselves have to come to certain realizations such as, “I don’t have to put up with this one second more.”, “I can leave and start a new life.”, “This is not the life I want for myself.”. AT THAT MOMENT is when their reality begins to change. Until then, the faulty belief system in their head will direct the reality they live.
Something I’ve done over the years, kinda goofy, but it works enough to do is this. When it’s really, really HOT outside.. I’ll say out loud, “Brrrr! It is SO Cold!!! I’m just freezing to death out here!” and I shake and do all the things you’d do if you were freezing out in the snow. And you know what? For a brief moment of time.. I’m actually cold. I get shivers. I start wondering where my jacket is. And.. even though it’s still 105*F outside.. I deal with it a bit better, as though I’d just come from a nice, cool experience. Because, in my mind.. I have.
Anyways, my mind has been spinning on this topic for a few days and I figured I’d jot it down to share. There are several good books on the subject, but unfortunately.. many hocus-pocus over-promising ones as well by complete hacks, in my opinion. But all this to say, circumstances are what they are.. that’s one side of the coin of reality that we call our ‘experience’. But the other side of the coin can be molded.. our ‘beliefs’, our ‘attitude’. We can choose to either “remain in a funk” for the rest of our lives.. or we can stop for a moment and ask ourselves;
“What kind of person do I want to be?”, and begin seeing ourselves that way, begin behaving that way.
“What sort of life do I want to live?”, and begin making small (or big) changes to go that direction.
You get the idea.
One last example before I go. I’ve always done well in school, since first grade not only have I loved to learn what was put in front of me but loved to learn and analyze new things. Over the years a few kids came to me and asked, “How is it you get good grades? Is there a trick to it because I study real hard and get bad grades anyway.” I always told them the same thing, which somehow was my belief system since Day-One of school. It was this, “I start every first day of the year believing I already have an ‘A’ in the class. The rest of the year, I just maintain it.” That’s it.. now you have it, my whole belief system which since I was a kid served to keep me at a 3.8 grade average all those years.
Like I said, you get the idea. Now.. ask yourself, what are you willing or daring enough to change starting TODAY?
Henry Velez is a writer, traveler and vlogger currently living in the Philippines. He has written extensively on social issues, relationships and travel.