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When we confidently accept the truth or actuality of something, this trust or acceptance can be called a belief. Sometimes a belief is positive and strengthening, giving us comfort in times of trouble. The strongest and most deeply rooted trust becomes faith and through this faith our lives can flourish, no matter what our circumstances. Martin Luther King made his historic “Let Freedom Ring” speech in 1963, stirring the hearts of listeners and igniting the Civil Rights Movement with the words “With this faith we will be free one day….” Such is the profound power of belief.

Where we can run into problems is when our beliefs don’t actually support us. Sometimes beliefs are simply words that we heard at an impressionable age that had a strong emotional punch behind them. When you were a kid, if someone yelled at you when you tried to stick your hand in a lighted oven, chances are you came to believe that hot temperatures will burn you. This is of course a supportive belief because hot temperatures will burn you.

Now maybe one day an important adult in your young life, probably one who cared a lot about you, didn’t take kindly to some creative activity of yours. Like breaking the window accidentally with your softball or cutting off a piece of a fancy tablecloth to make a dress for your doll. So what if you then heard a very emotional statement like this, “How could you’ve done that? How stupid can you be?” And all your life in the back of your mind you’ve held the small but potent belief that you are, in fact, stupid?

Remember, our impressionable minds are like sponges when we are young and we very much want to please the ones we love by learning what they tell us. Even when what they tell us is something they didn’t mean for us to learn. Somewhere

in our minds is a data processing center that contains data in the form of beliefs that may be outmoded and in some instances harmful.

Our beliefs about our health can be important to identify for the same reasons. What if you often heard the words, “People in our family don’t live to be very old.” Or “Everyone in this house always gets a cold the first time our neighbor sneezes.” Maybe these words were said in such a way that it made a powerful impression on you and to this day you believe those things. While there may be some important information to clarify and address within this type of statement, our belief can also be investing truth in something that might not actually be true.

Take a moment to write down some things about your health that you believe. Examine those statements and try to recall how you came to believe them. In the light of all you now know to be true, are these beliefs valid? What do they tell you about yourself that you might want to investigate further? Do they support you in your health or are they limiting?

How Could you re-state the beliefs you listed so they would be even more supportive? This is called re-framing and always includes some emotion and intentionality. Do you actually believe the statements you re-framed?