By Ragini Michaels
Beliefs are the glue that hold a personal reality in place. And when that reality gets stretched to its limits, the beliefs either break down, making space for something new, or settle into the shape of a conviction that cannot be moved or shaken.
Clients come in all shapes and sizes as do their beliefs. In addition, the way they relate to their beliefs is also quite varied. Here are a few tips for identifying where your client is in this vast spectrum, and how to respond:
- Has your client questioned whether or not their beliefs are the TRUTH? Or do they just assume what they believe IS the truth and operate from that assumption?
Help your client explore alternative perspectives via the ‘as if’ question format: Now I know this isn’t the truth, but WHAT IF the opposite were the actual case? What new options might be there? Or how might you relate to things differently if you approached the situation with this alternative view?
- Is it clear to you that they have thought about the validity of their belief and remain convinced that their belief is indeed the TRUTH.
Help your client think a bit more deeply by gently offering counterexamples that challenge their conviction as a universal truth. Keep it light and in the form of a question: What about the circumstance where (counterexample) happens? How do you imagine that can occur?
- Some clients intellectually know that their beliefs are not true and that they limit them. BUT the beliefs still feel true in their bodies. This is confusing to most people and can evoke feelings of shame and a sense of failure and/or incompetence.
Help your client understand this is a great place to be and that it is now possible to get rid of that feeling of truth in the body. Explain that the belief still feels like a truth in the body because of the amount of emotional charge attached to it.
If you have permission from their system to clear out this belief because it limits them, you can proceed to an Energy Psychology tool or equivalent process. The objective is to choose a tool that will lower the emotional charge until the belief shifts from the felt sense of a truth back into simply a thought that they can act on or not.
There may be other categories of response to seemingly truthful beliefs as well. But these three seem to be most prevalent.
BASIC NOTIONS ABOUT BELIEFS & TRUTH
There are some basic notions about beliefs and truth to explore with your client when needed.
First, make sure your client can distinguish between a relative truth (one that has operating relevance in their personal life) versus an absolute truth (one that is true for everyone, or universally). Offering this distinction can open the door to greater possibilities, insights, and understandings.
For example, how they relate to pistachio ice cream (it’s the best to it sucks) offers a truth based on their own experience (bite of ice cream + like or dislike flavor + generalization out to all pistachio flavored things + the same response will be there for all people who eat pistachio ice cream). Obviously, not everyone experiences pistachio ice cream with the same response. Thus their experience is relative.
Experiences that fall into universal truth would be rain is wet, oranges are round, breathing is composed of an in-breath and an out-breath. These experiences are the same for all people.
Second, the introduction of this distinction creates awareness that the reason we form beliefs is because we can’t know the actual truth. When this is the case, we almost always will create a story or belief that helps us better navigate the unknown or unknowable. For example, beliefs about what happens after death, or deciding that Jane didn’t go out on a second date with Hal because he’s overweight.
Bringing conscious awareness to this distinction makes the freedom they’ve been seeking from the limitation/problem/challenge more available. And that is part of what brought them to see you in the first place, whether they consciously knew it or not.
Simply becoming aware that Belief IS NOT EQUAL To Truth can be incredibly freeing.
BELIEFS, TRUTH, AND POLARIZATION
Extreme polarization is increasingly common today. And with it, comes increased stress and anxiety. Why?
No fixed idea can become a permanent guide to happiness or peace of mind. Things evolve, growth happens, and things change.
When our beliefs are fixed, we lose the ability to navigate our lives and the world effectively.
Without flexibility, we cannot navigate the continually shifting twists and turns of life. And as we’re seeing, this can result in extreme reactive behavior (anger, violence, war), or giving way to giving up (sadness, despair, hopelessness, and helplessness).
Once your client knows intellectually that their belief is not THE truth and thus limiting them from accessing their full potential to respond, you’ve got a green light to go ahead and show your client how to drain that belief of all its power.
And be sure to remind them that they can direct their own process to re channel the released energy into a new form of expression that is of their own choice (curiosity, excitement, flexibility of viewpoint, etc).
Hope these tips have opened up a new door or two to better serving your clients with love and respect. The beauty of the journey is right there in the unfolding of their own unique process.
If you have any questions, or would like to know more, please give me a call at 425 462 4369.
Best to you,
Photo: Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_tashechka'>tashechka / 123RF Stock Photo</a>