COVID-19 Survival Guide: Beliefs and Character

Categories: News

Ann StrombergAnn Stromberg, Emotional Wellness Counselor

Beliefs and Character

We have all felt the uncertainty of our world during the past few months. How do you respond to uncertainty? Do you feel anxious or in total control? Our deep beliefs influence our response to difficult challenges. Our belief system influences our biological and emotional responses to all situations we encounter, both positive and negative. Our beliefs also influence our character, the qualities we show the world, and the way we experience life.  

You have likely heard the concept that our inside influences our outside, what we show the world. This is not a new concept, but one that is worth review. Consider that 95% of our behavior is controlled by our subconscious mind outside our conscious awareness. Our subconscious mind allows us to do ordinary daily activities without using a lot of consciousness. An example of how we allow the subconscious mind to lead would be driving and realizing we were not paying attention to the route but still reached the destination. We can use our brainpower for more challenging tasks and learning. Most of the decisions we make with our conscious mind. However, our subconscious mind drives most of our behavior. 

We still blame outside influences if we are not happy with the results, not recognizing our limiting beliefs. Our subconscious beliefs are based on what we internalized as children. Dr. Bruce Lipton in The Biology of Belief says we can use positive affirmations to confirm our intelligence, but if our subconscious messages we received were that we are dumb or worthless, that will always override our affirmations. 

Outside of our awareness, our subconscious mind overrides our conscious thought. These beliefs that we internalize early in life are our deep belief system, and our mind wants to protect them. Our body’s natural protection system will naturally override the growth system, so it is a challenge to shift these deep beliefs. The protection system is linked to our body’s stress response to challenges. Our bodies cannot be stressed and have a positive growth at the same time.

As you know, there are many techniques to build our self-awareness and to notice the signs of our distress within us. Frequently when our thoughts, feelings, and actions are not aligned, it will manifest in physical symptoms, a stress response. We can use mindfulness to begin to notice when the stress response that has developed, usually with physical symptoms. Slowing down and paying attention to our thoughts and feelings allows us to tune into the subconscious thoughts. 

As we gain awareness of our beliefs, we can begin to align them and our actions, diminishing the distress within us. Our character brings together our mental and moral qualities, and these should align with our beliefs and behaviors. Some believe we are born with characteristics that make us who we are. However, the positive character can be cultivated and grown by our conscious thoughts and behavior. We can develop our character by doing things that align with our belief system. Our beliefs help to shape our character, and growth occurs when we are humble and teachable. Service to others also builds character.   

The beauty of this complex physical and emotional balance we strive to achieve is that we are in control of our health and well being. Our beliefs do become our biology, and yet we can create our best selves. We must take time to assess our thoughts and feelings by slowing down and listening to our bodies. Find the technique that best fits you, meditation, prayer, sitting quietly, anything that allows for introspection. We can find peace in knowing we can grow and change as necessary, creating our best self with a strong character.

Your beliefs become your thoughts

Your thoughts become your words

Your words become your actions

Your actions become your values

Your values become your destiny

Mahatma Gandhi