The first post of this series Thinking About Beliefs was some thoughts on how a belief comes about for ourselves and how we structure the meaning (make sense) of our feelings to external events. Our beliefs are wrapped in many layers of casual experiences that match and build additional supporting beliefs shaped by our perceptions. Once we have accepted it is our belief we rarely reexamine them unless our experiences forces us to.
The second post Fallacy of Limiting Beliefs discussed how the concept of limiting beliefs and discovering their roots using our memory is not our best source for making change. Our behavior comes from our beliefs whether we know about them or not.
Thinking on beliefs is not about I am right and you are wrong but how we come to act in the way we do and how we interpret the feelings that arise from that behavior.
Feelings arise spontaneously from the very fact that we are alive. You cannot suppress feelings. You cannot escape them. Can you stop feeling sad, happy or fearful? Can you turn up the dial on happiness or down to lessen our feeling of sadness? So trying to run away from or change the fact that we will have distressful feelings is a non-starter. We need to simply accept our feelings for what they are. Fleeting experiences that constantly change according to circumstances.
What we can change is how we handle our feelings. If we try to escape our feelings by indulging in behavior that temporarily masks it such as drinking, drugs, gambling or other activities we are doomed to a continual search for the next fix. Pain and suffering are signals that we need to examine our circumstances and determine whether our behavior caused it or was it something beyond our control. If it is something we can't control; accept it. If it is something generated by our behavior then change it and let the resulting experiences and feelings guide us. Just remember that change won't eliminate feelings.
This changing our behavior and evaluating our results will over time construct new beliefs that are more beneficial to us.Usually people embark on self-help programs to eliminate the suffering or pain they are currently experiencing or to obtain more happiness. That this is directly controllable is the Number 1 myth of self-help programs.
There is a good post by Greg at Greg's Brain titled Are You Happy that expands on this topic.
Related Post: The Value of Unpleasant feelings