You have your own ideas about religion and politics. You have your own definition of honor, fairness, courage, authenticity. You have your personal philosophy regarding relationships, career and family. You have your own belief system. But how do you know if this belief system is really working? After all, a belief system is only as effective as the thoughts, feelings and behaviors it produces.
Whatever your belief system, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Do your beliefs help you be a more loving, compassionate person with the people in your life?
- Do these beliefs encourage you to stay open to new ideas and experiences?
- Do these beliefs help you stay relaxed when you’re driving in rush hour traffic?
- Do these beliefs motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle?
- Do these beliefs let you spend more time doing what you love, and less time doing what you don’t?
Ironically, the more genuinely secure you are within your belief system, the more open you are to refining, reshaping and even completely overhauling that belief system. If it hurts to put your hand in the fire, then I suggest you quit putting your hand in the fire. (Even if your belief system says: It’s really important to put your hand in the fire!) Rather than blindly following the various ideas and strategies you likely learned before you were 10 years old, it’s essential to keep re-evaluating. A belief system is simply a tool. When people follow whatever belief system on autopilot, they tend to ignore practical feedback suggesting this tool is no longer working for them. This shovel isn’t working, but maybe if I just grip it a little tighter, maybe if I just ignore these painful blisters a little longer… Sometimes you simply need a new shovel, one that will let you dig a little deeper.