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  • Divya Chandroth

The Power of Belief

Source: Red Poppy by Wix

In the 1950s in Mississippi, North America was born a little black girl to a teenage mother. Her parents were unmarried and travelled away from Mississippi to take up jobs owing to poverty. She spent her early years in the care of her strict maternal grandmother who taught her to read before the age of 3 years. They were very poor and lived in their farmhouse. The little girl didn’t have money for clothes and often wore dresses made of potato sacks. She was adept at public speaking early on and would often recite Bible verses when she went to church. Owing to her grandmother's ill health, the girl who was 6years of age then, moved on to stay with her mother, a maid and had other step-siblings living with her. The little girl had a difficult childhood and was sexually abused by her relatives at the tender age of 9 years and later went on to become a pregnant mother at the age of 14 years. She lost her child few weeks after being born prematurely. This did not stop her from completing her education and taking up a career path. The difficulties she faced early on in her life did not stop her from becoming one of the most influential women in the world; talk show host of the highest-rated television program in history. This is the story of none other than the famous icon, Oprah Winfrey; talk show host, television producer, author, actress, and philanthropist. Her story is one of a phoenix rising from the ashes. She is the first African American multi-billionaire and the greatest black philanthropist in North America. She believed in herself and her talents and is an example of rising above all odds due to the power of self-belief. “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe” as quoted by Oprah Winfrey herself.

What is a belief?

Belief is a state of mind in which something which is necessarily not true, nor based on reality is accepted to be true and considered as an opinion. It stems from both the conscious and the subconscious mind. Overthinking on the same thing over and over as part of our inner daily dialogs creates realistic-looking conscious beliefs we develop. Some beliefs are subconscious, and we become aware of them as soon as we say them openly out loud.

Beliefs can be of two types, either the positive uplifting ones or the negative self-limiting beliefs. Positive beliefs are the ones that let you see the positive side of everything and make it possible to bear even the most undesirable situations. It does not mean living in denial or living in a pretence that everything is desirable. Self-limiting beliefs make you feel gloomy even in the most positive moments of life and rob you of the opportunity to enjoy them fully.

Self-limiting beliefs arise due to negative experiences such as being rejected by over-critical family and friends or due to facing traumas early on in life. People who tend to overthink small challenges or compare themselves to others often underestimate themselves. They tend to give more power to negative beliefs about themselves. This leads them to think that they are a failure and do not deserve anything good. Procrastination and risk avoidance can be seen in people who harbor such self-limiting thoughts. Sometimes, this fear of failure leads people to overwork on themselves and pushes them to the extremity of being a perfectionist in their relationships and everything they do. This causes lots of unhappiness due to unrealistic expectations.

Modifying self-limiting beliefs to positive ones which uplift you take time, and the path to it is not an easy one. This is because an individual or a group who decides to act on the modification might face a lot of resistance while doing so. The main reason for this is, because, core beliefs are formed due to experiences and the way one thinks over a period of time. It takes a long time for beliefs to form a part of you. Also, the fear of consequences due to change in the belief system hinders the progress to be achieved. Always, focus on the good in every experience of life instead of just focusing on the negatives. This helps in improving the quality of thinking and brings positivity in your thoughts, thus, uplifting you.

How to inculcate a positive belief system to improve the quality of your life: -

  • Make self-love a priority.

  • Always remember you are unique and incomparable.

  • Keep self-doubts at bay and, if faced with it, then, make a list of all your good and bad qualities. Reflect more on the good and work on your bad qualities.

  • Always count your blessings and be grateful for all the good things in your life.

  • Consider setbacks and failures as an opportunity to learn from them.

  • One important thing to realize is that not everything is about you. People have other things in mind other than you. No one cares about everything you do or say.

  • You are your best ally and do not be afraid to stand alone.

  • Be happy in the progress you have made till now and be proud of your achievements.

  • Try to spend more time with the people who make you feel good rather than those who create feelings of self-doubt in you.

  • Change is a part and parcel of life. Be unafraid of change and be open to challenges that new changes bring.

  • Let go of procrastination and give your best in everything you do.

  • Stay away from media and news programs that make you feel the world is a scary place. It is good to be aware, but always letting your mind feed on negativity affects your belief systems. Be careful of what you feed your mind.

  • Don't settle for anything less than you deserve. You deserve the best. Aim for the sky but be unafraid to fall.

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