By Sophia Thora, Psychological Advisor and Yoga Teacher

When we become aware that some things in our life happen repeatedly, or our lives don’t go the way we wanted – we might need to face our subconscious beliefs and make some changes. But how exactly do these belief systems work and how can I become aware of them?

What are belief systems?

Belief systems help us orientate ourselves in our environment and to navigate through life

Belief systems are mostly subconscious rules and strategies that we have adopted from others or learned through experiences – often in our childhood and adolescence. You could say that beliefs are “if – then” strategies that help us to orientate ourselves in our environment and to navigate through life. Belief systems can be positive (“I am good enough”) or negative (“I am not good enough”). When we talk about wanting to get rid of our belief systems, we mean the negative and the restrictive ones. Restrictive belief systems are primarily rules and strategies that we have acquired to protect ourselves and to cope with stressful situations.

For example: As a child, I developed the strategy of being good all the time so my parents and other important role models didn’t always complain about me. 

However, this strategy may not be effective, and could be preventing me from gaining more strength. As an adult, I have the ability and authority to decide what I need and what I want. So resolving conflict situations by “being good” is no longer a suitable strategy , but rather one that “limits” my development. 

One of the most important things we should understand about belief systems is that they are actually here to protect us. They do not restrict us because they’re negative in origin. We just subconsciously apply an inappropriate strategy that is not effective. So it is not  that I am doing something wrong, or even that part of me is “wrong”, on the contrary. Everything about me is right. I just use the wrong strategies sometimes.

If I just have to change my strategy, why is it so difficult to get rid of my negative beliefs? Belief systems are not only subconscious. They have also been consolidated through countless situations on the way from child to adult. Of course it is entirely possible to resolve them. With the right strategies and continuous inner work. 

What impact do belief systems have on us?

In order to be able to understand more precisely how our belief system works and how we can dissolve them, we want to look at different levels on which belief systems work.

  1. Our Subconscious: This is where our belief system is stored as strategies. If they are set in motion. E.g.: The belief “I have to be good”
  2. Emotion: Activated belief systems in our subconscious trigger a certain emotion in us (e.g. fear of rejection)
  3. Thinking: Our emotions influence our thinking. For example: “I have to protect myself from rejection so I have to be good”
  4. Situation & Behaviour: Our thinking influences our behaviour and our actions. E.g.: Be good by saying “Yes” to please the other person even though I want to say “no”.
    Although we could already consciously perceive what is happening to us from the second level, we often do not. If the belief system is very deeply anchored, it may even be that we do not even notice that we actually wanted to say “no”. What we just perceive is that we are not happy or that we are not doing well without knowing why.

The good news is that everyone is able to dissolve his negative beliefs. In our next article we are going to tell you how you can do it!

About the Author: 

Sophia Thora, Psychological Advisor and Yoga Teacher

Sophia Thora

I am a Munich based Psychological Advisor and Yoga teacher. After my psychology studies and various study courses in stress management and neuro-linguistic programming I went to India to learn how to teach yoga. This  was the beginning of a long journey into yoga and my work as a yoga teacher, mental coach and founder of Kale & Cake. It’s my passion to find ways to a happy, balanced, and healthy life and to show others what inspires me. I am constantly exploring new approaches and developing myself, because I believe that the best teacher never stops being a student. I am happy about everyone with whom I can share my experiences and I love to support others in finding their balance and happiness. 

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Check out how Mindfulness can help you achieve happiness at work, or how to turn positive stress into personal growth.