By Monika Nygaard, 
Published in Nanaimo Harbour City Star, June/99

Create a new set of beliefs and succeed. Beliefs are powerful influences in whether we succeed or not in our career, relationships and in life.

As human beings we all have beliefs about who we are and what we can do.  It is an old axiom that if we believe we can do something, we often can.  At the same time if we believe we can’t do something, often we can’t, sometimes even if it is proven that we can.

There is a funny story from abnormal psychology about a man who believed he was a corpse.  He wouldn’t eat, he wouldn’t work.  He just sat around all the time claiming he was a corpse.  The psychiatrist argued with the man trying to convince him he was not really dead.

Finally, the psychiatrist asks, “Do corpses bleed?”  The man responds saying, “No, all body functions stop so there is no more bleeding.”  So, the psychiatrist says, “Okay, let’s try an experiment.”  So the psychiatrist pokes him with a needle and the man starts to bleed.  The man looks totally amazed and says, “I’ll be damned.  Corpses do bleed!”

When we have a belief, even environmental and behavioural evidence won’t change it because belief isn’t about reality.  Beliefs are about things that nobody can know in reality.  If someone has a terminal illness, she doesn’t know if she is going to get well or not.  She has to believe she is going to get well precisely because nobody knows what the reality is.

When an event happens, how we choose to interpret it depends on our past experiences, decisions, beliefs and values.  It is therefore important to choose our reflective lenses carefully.  You may colour your world optimistically, pessimistically, as a dreamer or a worrier.  It is important to realize we have a choice in how we interpret things.  We can filter out negative thoughts and hold on to the positive.  We can endeavor to withhold judgement on people and situations.

It is not what happens on the outside that creates stress.  Stress, especially the kind that causes illness, comes from the way we respond to what happens on the outside.

A learned response can be unlearned, the root cause of that event can be reprogrammed by looking at how your unconscious has processed it and then shifting it all along your Time Line.

Two other matters are also valuable.  The first is believing your goal is achievable.  Otherwise you may feel hopeless and don’t take appropriate action.  The second is believing you have whatever it takes to reach your goal (even if you believe you need to re-organize the resources you have).  If you believe you aren’t capable, and so feel helpless, this also leads to inaction.

When you feel both helpless and hopeless you become apathetic and opportunities can pass you by.

Having a person go back through a therapeutic session and re-experience a negative event without the negative feelings associated with it can assist them to form different, more resourceful beliefs and create a completely different and powerful meaning for them.  It’s not erasing what actually happened, because the content of the event is not what makes the difference anyway.  It’s what you’ve learned from it and the reminder that you now have what you need in terms of inner resources that’s important.

So, it follows that if you make internal changes in your beliefs, then the external picture changes and so also your perception of the universe.  As Henry David Thoreau said, “Things do not change.  We change.”  Take charge of your life.

Monika Nygaard is a Certified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer, Time Line Therapy® Master Trainer and Hypnotherapy Trainer. She can be reached at nlp4change@shaw.ca
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