The Power of Belief
Depending on what our beliefs are, we will feel about things accordingly. Beliefs are ideas, not reality. They are ideas about ourselves, others, the world and situations, which we have picked up during our lives consciously or inconsciously. Many beliefs we just acquired without knowing it and if psychoanalysed we probably have no idea why we believe them. Some beliefs help us and keep us from danger. Other beliefs limit our potential, make us unhappy or stop us appreciating the moment. Beliefs can create a set of rules or circumstances that must happen before we allow ourselves to experience a certain emotion. For example, having a certain amount of money before we can feel happy. However, we shift our goal posts without realising it, and in many cases never actually reach the 'nirvana' or happiness that we originally planned to allow ourselves when we fulfilled all the criteria and rules we set out, of what we believed was important. Some people may never feel happy until they have saved the entire world of hunger, poverty and perhaps eliminated all inconsiderate driving and love rat behaviour. Beliefs are backed up and strengthened in our minds by references. Beliefs lock us into the way we focus on things around us. And our focus perpetuates and strengthens our beliefs. Negative beliefs create addictive negative thought patterns and stress. They sap our energy. Some of our negative beliefs we may be completely unaware of, until we have removed or 'exorcised them' from our minds. Others we may be aware of to some degree but believe that they give us strength. Negative beliefs can be metaphorically or literally viewed as 'demons' that are controlling and ruining our lives (or vice versa), and only be removing them can we be free and happy, and enjoy our lives in the here and now, and open ourselves to possibilities.
We really have to be honest with ourselves, and come up with all the negative beliefs we have about ourselves and others, and to try to come up with great reasons why they are rubbish, and really feel these reasons and believe them. We then need to come up with positive, empowering beliefs to counteract them and replace them. Try this exercise and write down all the negative beliefs you have about yourself and your environment, really brainstorm it. Put on some up tempo music, and give yourself 5 minutes for the negative beliefs. Then again another 5 minutes for the negative beliefs. Now go through this list and pick out the 5 biggest, more limiting negative beliefs that hold you back. And pick out the 5 counteracting positive beliefs. Either alone or with a friend, go through each one and say something like 'I used to believe that old rubbish/[insert expletive, whatever works for you!] that [insert negative belief but say it with a silly voice so it sounds ridiculous]. That's rubbish/[insert optional expletive]. The truth is, [insert positive belief, saying it with enthusiasm, passion, like you really mean it!]. Do this for each belief. Go through your list. Then repeat several times. Preferably to some music that really gets you motivated or that makes you feel alive. You are building positive reinforcing beliefs and knocking down the negative ones. If you just try to knock down the negative beliefs, you will leave a void and they will creep back again!
Another perhaps even better technique of breaking down negative beliefs that cause massive amounts of stress in our lives and interrupting negative behaviour patterns is called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It combines the breaking down of a negative belief by speaking it aloud repeatedly whilst simultaneously tapping and rubbing certain acupressure points on the body. It is incredibily powerful and much more than the sum of its parts actually sound like. A free download to the EFT manual is listed on the Bibliography and Links page. The alternative is to see a practitioner of EFT who can guide you through the process and show you in person the correct points to use, which can sometimes initially be difficult when learning from a book or manual.
Lyrics to Rollins Band song 'Low Self-Opinion' can be found here.
Negative beliefs erode our confidence and happiness. They reduce our love for ourselves and others. They limit our positive actions, possibilities and potential. A metaphoric representation of negative beliefs is shown below.
Positive beliefs make us feel good about ourselves and our environment, enhance our love for ourselves and others. Beliefs such as "I am sexy", or 'I am the greatest', 'I give myself permission to totally relax', 'I give myself permission to be really happy and have great health' or 'I am totally relaxed' etc are useful, and the more we repeat these to ourselves everyday, then the better we will feel, and the more relaxed we become. You can feign confidence (certainty) and eventually you will become confident (certain) without realising it. The brain does what it is told. You can't expect the brain to deliver the goods if you keep telling it that it can't do it! All belief is is a sense of certainty about something. People who are indecisive or who lack confidence lack a sense of certainty. Beliefs such as 'I can't do this thing', or 'I am useless at that' are not empowering and will erode your confidence in other areas. We may not have chosen these beliefs, many have been acquired without us knowing about it! From friends, parents, ourselves, peers, teachers (huge culprits!) You know who you are! Shame on you! Teachers and other professionals in a paternal role don't realise how they shape people's lives and ought to be more encouraging rather than focussing their attention on their favourites and putting everyone else down.
Many negative beliefs are created through fearful states and messages that encourage people to be fearful about certain things. The media (newspapers, TV shows and movies in particular), our education systems, parents and peer groups often instill ideas about the way things are, and how we must be fearful and worried about certain types of situation. This are often arbitrary beliefs and ideas, and bear no resemblance to reality. Fear paralyses people into passivity and inaction, rather than analysing the risks and limits of a given situation, on its own merits, and the real available options that exist (that many people do not consider), in a cool and detached manner. Fear does not allow us to really listen and observe what is going on around us. We are instead observing an interpretation or nightmare/bad dream version of reality. We are not seeing the world with clarity in that given moment. Rarely is appropriate, positive or confident behaviour a result of fearful states. Fearful states do not allow us to build confidence easily. Fear is a fight or flight response which is a defence mechanism. Fear often leads to panic and irrational behaviour. Fear is examined in more detail in the Phobias page.
For example, fear of a certain 'type' of person, a fear of adverse weather conditions whilst driving, fear of being assertive, fear of the reaction of other people, fear of crime, all lead to excessively paranoid behaviour or thoughts. An example of fear of being assertive or of the reation of a particular person is often based on our attaching great significance and meaning to their power and importance, and their right to their position and their right to their hostile feelings that we imagine we will receive if we try to be assertive with them; and little belief behind our own - a belief that we have no right to our feelings of frustration at an imbalanced or inappropriate situation where we have allowed a person to tread on others toes, start slacking or become arrogant. If you don't believe in yourself (you don't deserve it) and you do believe in the other person (that they do deserve their 'unreasonable stance' or 'hostile feelings towards you), then you may fret for minutes, hours or even days about an upcoming 'confrontation', when the actual reception you receive is calm and relaxed, as it is reasonable in nature, and that you fretted about it all for nothing - like a 'bad trip' or 'negative, paranoid fantasy'. The core negative belief, besides inflating the other person's power and importance, is a fundamental belief that we aren't worth it or don't deserve the right thing. A negative fantasy is all about the other person's imagined response and them, rather than about you. Try to identify this happening in yourself. It is also important to try to see things from the other person's perspective, and the possible issues they may have with you also, that you could perhaps improve on, which would put your own brievances or requests in a better light.
The right amount of confidence is required, that comes across as effortless ease. Not too little and not too much either. We are not suggesting that one should be mindlessly overconfident either, to the point of self-deceipt and arrogance, denying reality, not listening or observing what is really around us - this would be instead seeing a positive fantasy version of what is around us; and far from wisdom.
Most people are opposed to torture in all its forms, whether used during war time or by corrupt and totalitarian regimes. However, do we often extent this value and respect for life to ourselves? Why do we object to the torture of others when we subject ourselves to excessive levels of torture and psychological self-abuse on a daily basis? Clearly on some level we consider it a 'luxury' or 'freedom of choice' that we can allow our egos to beat us up whenever we 'feel like it' (or in other words become slaves to the negative thought patterns, negative beliefs and negative patterns of focus of our conscious mind and ego). Should we not call Amnesty International, so they can step in and campaign to stop all this abuse?!
It is often said that 1000 statements of encouragement or compliments are required to negative one insult or scolding. Perhaps there is some exaggeration there, and that some require more external feedback than others (some being more internally oriented). However it does ring true. When we hear encouragement, it reinforces or helps to nurture sapling positive beliefs (seeds) that are fragile in their early stages but can become huge, unmovable trees when they are grown big enough. Negative beliefs are usually very large and deep rooted trees, that require many choppings of the axe to really come down - some might compare them to certain vines that strangle 'positive belief' trees and suffocate them, taking all the light and killing off the 'positive belief' tree. One can almost never have enough positive encouragement; but it is such a rare commodity in most people's lives. Criticism is usually the normal mode of 'encouragement', in a perverted sort of way, with appreciation of what one likes usually met with silence and not often acknowledged.
Many people often put concern of others over their own wellbeing. Why is this? It most likely stems from a deep rooted lack of self confidence and self-belief. It is the negative belief that you are not worth as much as others, and that their wellbeing is of paramount importance compared with yours. This may be displayed in behaviour where one looks after the interests of others, be it material, emotional or medical, but never one's own, because one does not want to cause a fuss and draw attention to oneself as one simply is 'not worth it'. In such cases, it requires extreme effort to actually make steps towards looking after oneself properly. This is perhaps a case of the Jungian Shadow, where one is sensitive to the suffering of others but not one's own. Being afraid of the reactions of others to what one might say or do is another example of this. In situations where one really ought to be assertive and state one's case, one may agonise over doing so on account of the fear of the other person's reaction. This is giving the other person power over you. You cannot always go around pleasing others and why would you want to? You cannot just go on try to keep others happy as they will generally seek to take advantage of you. If you do not stand up for what is right when it counts, people will get used to this and behave worse and worse. They would not put up with it from you, so why should you put up with it from them? The same goes for fear of offending people with a comment or joke we'd like to make. Some may say 'you can't say that!' or 'you might offend them'. Our westernised cultures put such a high value on not offending people with a correspondingly high stigma associated with offending someone. Some people with their many rules for what is acceptable are in a sense going around asking to be offended. What is there such a fear of offending people? What's so wrong with someone being offended? When someone gets offended, nothing actually happens. They do not suffer a loss of life or limbs. We often tell our children when they are arguing, 'sticks and stones can break your break your bones, but words can never hurt you'. Why does this change when we are adults? When one is a child, one sorts out one's disagreements with very mild violence. In adulthood, most fighting is done verbally, only occasionally spilling into violence. Clearly if this saying isn't true, why do we tell it to our children? Shouldn't we practice what we preach? Why should we be offended by others? And why should we be so preoccupied with sanitising everything - the more you do so, the more people fear anything else, and the more easily people become offended and correspondingly stressed. Offence is all about the ego having it's desire to impose its values on the world given a little slap in the face. Our politically correct culture creates laws against offending people is perhaps ridiculous in absolute terms. So if no one is allowed to offend anyone in the workplace or public arena - does that eliminate people's thoughts about each other? Does it just create a sense of superficial harmony whereas under the surface there are things people need to say but are constrained from doing so? The biggest peer group dictates its values to the rest of the population.
When we want to drive from one city to the next at night, we can only see ahead of us as far as our headlights. But we know that if we continue for a certain amount of time that we will reach our destination, even if we can't physically see it in front of us now. We are CERTAIN that if we continue on this strip of tarmac it will eventually lead to the chosen place. We KNOW the road will not suddenly end with a big cliff that we will drive off. We know it will be simple and we know what we need to do, we are certain about our destination, and we just get on with it. We are focussed however primarily on the next 100 yards and getting them right. The goal will come when its time is right and it will indeed be ours. So don't be scared off or put off just because you can't see the goal right in front of you! Be certain! Have faith and BELIEF in yourself, in your goal, and your ability to meet that goal. And you will get it.
Try to get in touch with your gifts and your talents, find out what they are, and remind yourself of them and be grateful for them, and really treasure, nurture and develop them. Stengthen them with positive beliefs about them and yourself. So many people have talents that they never explore or realise, as they have been conditioned by negative beliefs about themselves from birth. Don't rebel against your gifts, deny your gifts through desires for loyalty, inappropriate modesty, embarrassment, political correctness, or because of beliefs about which of your gifts and qualities are important and which are not, or beliefs about which of your gifts and qualities are cool and which aren't cool, decisions arbitrarily made based on beliefs that you have acquired often unconsciously and happen to believe in at one point in your life, but which sets the map for the rest of your life. Loyalty is often a form of fear (of leaving or breaking free) in disguise! Don't die with your music still inside you!
Quite often, our perception of reality is heavily distorted by perceptions of what is good and bad, with arbitrary meanings ascribed to objects or situation, which stops us seeing what is really there. This is one of the concepts of the 'Absurd' of Existentialism. The philosophy that nothing has any objective meaning apart from that which we give to it. One aspect of this is society's use of the language of polarity. The language of opposites. The language of opposition. For example, we are told that the opposite of hot is cold. What does 'opposite' really mean? What we really mean is one object has more heat energy than another, which has less. The second object is less hot. When we say the opposite of light is dark, what we really mean is dark is a condition where there is less light. And absolute quantities are difficult to describe and indeed measure! A quality is always relative. A person may be considered rich amongst one group of people and poor in another group of people. Which is he? Rich or poor? Does the terminology really mean anything? One has varying levels of abundance. There is no such thing as poor. The same concept can be applied to 'good' and 'evil'. Love and hate. There is no such thing as evil, just the absence of love. A purely evil action can be considered to be devoid of any kind of love-based norm or morality. It is an action that is done purely for the doers benefit that has extremely detrimental effects on others. It is not 'evil' per se.
Monotheistic faith can be viewed the same way, there is God or not God, love or not love, and varying shades in between. Is there really such a thing as the 'Devil'? Or is this just the embodiment of rebellion and turning away from God in every area and pure ego-driven beliefs and behaviour? To an extreme? You decide. The nature of using polarity in one's perception often results in not seeing the relativity of a situation, not being objective, becoming blase and unappreciative. We may ascribe a sense of good to one extreme and bad to the other, but usually this perception shifts with time, so that we become more demanding and fussy, and only that which is closer to 'perfection' in our eyes makes us feel good momentarily.
Perhaps evil can be considered as a collective consciousness, or rather, like culture does not belong to any one individual, but exists only because of the people that embody it, and is passed on in a population and between generations like a 'virus', so perhaps the collective concept of an 'evil' force is also spread in this way, in the form of negative beliefs and negative suggestion being passed on from one person to another, like a negative virus, that mutates as it spreads, reinforcing other existing negative beliefs, self-hatred, insecurity, stress or vulnerabilities, and manifesting itself in certain individual in selfish, anti-social, sadistic or inhumane acts. This can be seem where entire groups or populations whip themselves up into a collective psychosis. Please see the chapter on the Jungian Shadow for related discussion.
Some people go through life actually actively avoiding the act of addressing and confronting areas where they realise they are deficient in psychologically, as it would entail some work and effort and stepping outside his or her comfort zone. These may be behaviours that routinely cause problems, aggravation or difficulties for us, and/or those or things around us, and which perhaps require remedial action (physically or psychologically) to mop up the downstream mess from these patterns. We may be used to doing this so don't see it as painful emotionally or a big problem, and it is tempting for many of us to put it out of our minds when we don't notice its effect or that behviour is not engaged in. Or when we are aware of it, we may blot it out and kid ourselves that it isn't happening or that it's no big deal. It is hard to view ourselves objectively, to see our Jungian Shadow, but the more self-aware we are and the more honest we are with ourselves emotionally, then the more we notice. Others may notice such deficiencies in us more easily. We may from time to time receive feedback from others, in the form of comments, suggestions, or surprised responses etc., that can be helpful in providing us with pointers to our deficiencies. A common response is to either ignore these, entertaining them only for a second or two and making a brushing off statement to oneself inside one's head to say that one will perhaps look at addressing that later - which of course never happens); or to become defensive and deny or refute the allegation or to start attacking the other person verbally to divert attention away from oneself, to justify one's own shortcomings because the other person is not 'perfect' either. We often defend our deficiencies to ourselves and others and try to protect them as if they are part of us - in a sense, they are, but only because we like to stay in our comfort zones and that is as slaves to our deficiencies, which can be quite miserable, but they are OUR misery. This kind of thinking is not really very logical or helpful. Your deficiencies are not your friends. They are just blips or bad pieces of programming. They are like fleas in your carpet. On some level we may think we don't deserve to fix them and address them and engage in the behaviours we are avoiding, as they require more confidence and self-belief. Shying away from the knowledge of our deficiencies and shortcomings, often in the form of disempowering habits or a lack of confidence at a certain activity or an inability to treat ourselves properly or to pay attention to certain areas of our lives because of low self-esteem in certain areas (e.g. looking after oneself properly) is not clever and you won't get a prize for doing so. It simply means that you will be walking around slightly disempowered for many years or decades with the same disempowering habits, when you could have been enjoying a much richer existence. Don't wait until you have no choice but to change or it gets worse or more noticeable and you can't stand not changing any more. Be positive and address those core negative beliefs that underlie this lack of confidence and work at building up your confidence in this area; and be prepared to step outside your comfort zone and to feign confidence initially, to physically break the conditioning and habit. It may feel very strange and uncomfortable at first, but feeling strange is good, it means you are building up new neurological connections in your brain. You can't change habits without doing this. Try to enjoy the new sensations and feel good about the end goal now!
Idealised societies or scenes can be imagined that are so constructed that if they could ever exist (in a sustainable manner) they would remove the need for one to face up to one's own fears, character deficiencies, weaknesses and allow us to continue to hide away from one's own low self-esteem. For example, if I had an assertiveness problem, then I might dream of an ideal society where I would not have to be assertive, where people were naturally empathic, considerate, egalitarian and sharing.
Confidence comes from positive and empowering beliefs about oneself. Try to connect with your passion and your youthful dreams and your power and confidence will come from there. One can fake confidence and eventually the beliefs that one has to employ to 'fake it' will rub off on you and by experiencing them for brief periods, you will come to believe them. These 'fake' beliefs are probably good, empowering beliefs that are true, that one was too 'embarrassed' to really believe as one's negative beliefs had really taken hold and the ego put up resistance. Often, a lack of confidence comes from not having done something before, or not having done it for a while. The mind has created a set of negative beliefs around the fact that the task at hand is new, and it must therefore be difficult. Perhaps you are afraid of failing. Or being rejected. Once you have forced yourself to do whatever it is, and you lose your fear, and you become familiar with whatever it is you wanted to do, then it becomes second nature. You KNOW it is easy. No problem at all. If you had convinced yourself and really believed it was easy to start with, then it would have become a whole lot more relaxing and effortless to achieve! Often people who are confronted with a new task are totally confident and just get on with it. This is why. The belief is there, the self-confidence. If you can't manage this then forcing yourself to go and do something outside your comfort zone can help to dispel other fears in unrelated areas about why or how you are unable to do something. By doing nothing and backing out all the time, you are making a choice and building walls around yourself. If you think of all the people who are good at approaching girls, starting new businesses, not being bullied, having fun and relaxing, they are probably no more intelligent or gifted than you. By really rooting out one's negative core beliefs, one will radically boost one's confidence levels. One doesn't have to hide behind overly aggressive attitude or an adrenaline rush as a cheap substitute for real, relaxed confidence.
As stated already, and on the Romance page, people tend to like those who are confident and who believe in themselves. This is why one often notices that one gets more romantic and sexual interest when one is already dating than when one is single and is actually after this interest (the old syndrome of waiting for a bus for hours, then two come along at the same time!) This natural self-confidence spreads like a virus and makes others feel good about themselves. Those who are natural 'followers', i.e. those with low self-esteem, will tend to flock around such people like bees to honey quite often (if they have charisma and are polite!) Some people let this go to their head and like to be the 'funny one' or the 'centre of attention'. But that is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about self-confidence with humility and charisma, i.e. being one's true self, and not self-deceit and arrogance. Arrogance and self-deceit can be one's worst enemy, even worse than self-hatred or lack of self-confidence and indecision. No one likes arrogance (except to laugh at the person) or lack of self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence and being trapped in lower levels of consciousness (e.g. security and safety rather than being in higher levels of self-actualisation and self-expression) is a turn off for many people and indeed makes people feel uneasy. For example, if one doesn't trust oneself, then why should anyone else trust you?One can be lacking in confidence for many reaons, either lack of self-esteem and self-love, or because one is a fraud or trying to pull the wool over someone's eyes. People cannot always tell the difference, hence the bad reception a lack of confidence often receives. It does not put someone at ease. No one likes to buy from an uneasy sales person.
From the movie 'Once Upon a Time in the West':
How can I trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders [braces]? He don't even trust his own pants.
An exercise one might like to try is to set aside a period of time during the day, for example, your journey to work, where you try to be detached and observe your surroundings in a calm and cool manner. Where your conscious mind tries to judge, look down on something or someone, find someone or something amusing, find someone or something annoying or stressful, try to let go of this way of focussing and addictively getting involved, and just observe in a detached manner. It may require you to stop yourself and then detach repeatedly, but with practice it will come naturally! After all, a controlling conscious mind is just a bad habit, something that you've learnt to do.
The removal of long term, negative core beliefs (about self or world) can be a hugely emotional experience. It can feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your chest. This may be a result of an NLP/NAC technique or religious conversion. Anything that has enough power to prize out those deep rooted negative beliefs. Negative beliefs usually are present like the layers of an onion. Whilst you may well 'peel off' most layers of the onion, you will rarely remove all layers in one go. So whilst any 'unchaining' may feel very releasing, rarely does one ever release everything. Some negative beliefs will inevitably remain, perhaps only small seeds, that if left unchecked grow larger and affect other areas of your core beliefs. If you don't have confidence in certain areas of your life, and focus and certainty in all areas, then you will not feel the FULL weight off your shoulders ever! A good massage etc. feels very liberating for example, but you'll be back for another later! The causes of that shoulder tension (physical and mental) are still there and keep creating that physical tension.
How easy it is to release that 'weight off your shoulders' depends on how chained up or confused, how much you hate yourself, and how twisted and knotted up your internal energy is to start with. As much as we think we are honest with ourselves, and liberated in what you think is your core philosophy, there is always 'stuff' in there, negative beliefs and self-hatred and self-doubt that totally conflict with what we think are our core beliefs but sit there happily and interfere without us being aware they are there. That is what I see as 'negativity' or 'evil' or whatever you want to call it. This type of 'garbage' inside our subconscious and inevitably nervous system will influence our behaviour, on a conscious and unconscious level, and manifest itself in the odd moment of dubious behaviour, and in extreme cases 'sick actions'. I also see toxins in the body as a form of 'evil' or pollution, and by this definition, the lack of awareness or care about the effects of drugs (recreational and also certain medications), modern consumer diets, and the food industry as 'highly misguided' or 'irresponsible'. It is giving us the choice to be healthy or to kill us, that's the free market and democracy. Education is clearly important, and this is what is driving this web site and many others to share information with the general population, to empower them to make them our informed choices. If people still want to abuse themselves physically, mentally or spiritually after learning the 'truth', then this is their business and their choice, as long as they 'don't impose this on anyone else' or influence anyone else which may not be the intention but is almost always inevitably the case.
There are an infinite number of permutations of negative beliefs that a person can instill into his mind. When one is younger, this might even include the belief that one does not believe that one will ever grow up and become an adult, as life seems to pass by so slowly, and that one will stay a kid forever. This may result from various other negative beliefs that instill a low self-esteem, for example, adults chipping away at one's sense of significance and importance etc., being made to feel a 'nobody' because you are 'just a kid'. Having this view may result in a disconnected and passive approach to life, not really connecting one's view of one's future self with the present, and the path in between. There are many others to end up feeling disconnected, whereby one's perception and beliefs at a younger age are completely divorced from those one currently holds, and one cannot see the path or connection from having been the way one was before to being how one is now. In this way, one's dreams and goals when younger can be completely forgotten or blanked out, and one can lose touch with oneself and one's genuine desires. It is as if one is looking at different people, and one has no recollection of when one began one's current life or consciousness. This often occurs with drug use and depression.
Role playing is a useful personal development tool, not only for practising your communication and influence skills, but also to re-enact painful situations where you feel pressured, uncomfortable and unable to exact your will or desires. For example, it could be asking someone out for a date, or approaching someone who you wish to ask about something or to stop doing something you perceive as anti-social or threatening. Role playing can be fun and a great way to explore your own personality and your negative beliefs and limitations, and an avenue to overcome them. Most people never engage in any forms of role play unless their boss or instructor tells them to do so. Why wait for such rare occasions? Why not do a little role play every week or every day! With a friend or partner. You can volunteer scenarios or let your friend pick one for you. You can change places and see how the other person deals it with. It can be a form of entertainment or escapism as well, in the way some people love to play RPGs on line or dungeons and dragons. Why not! It doesn't cost anything! Being shy is just a form of fear of self-expression.
One should consider the language one speaks and one's accent and the intonation one uses in day to day speech and how this effects how one feels about oneself and various activities one may participate in. Often it is not the word we hear and the literal meaning of that word, in terms of its dictionary definition, but the emotions, feelings and images associated with the sound of that word. Depending on who says the word, how it is said, and what language is used, we may have vastly different feelings about the person, object or activity. I have myself noticed this when saying a word in either English or Swedish, and has radically different feelings about the 'same thing' depending on which language is used. This is not 'logical' but then the human mind is not as rational as we believe it to be. Most of what we react to and how we feel is not based on our empirical logic that we believe should govern our feelings and behaviour. Those who are aware of this principle use their voice to create positive and empowering association and meaning in their own lives, e.g. motivational speakers, even if to some people they sound 'ridiculous'. Who cares! If they are getting the result they want and making people feel good about things they otherwise felt 'bummed out' about, then that transformational modality is surely something to treasure and nuture. If you prefer one language to another, in terms of the way it makes you feel or focus, then use it in preference to another. Or consider emigrating. Or changing your circle of friends!
I would describe a cult as a group of people, club, society, organisation or company that conditions, manipulates and brainwashes people into non-mainstream views (to make their leaders feel better about themselves). Which gives people half truth and does not tell the truth. Which has a powerful leader or central figure who all members aspire to be. Who condition members or attendees to hold the same world view for the benefit of the continuation of the cult. Who often use their control, bullying or influence over members to extract sums of money. And who make it difficult to leave. Examples include The Branch Davidians, Children of God, The Church of Scientology and The Church of Christ. Clearly some groups are more clearly 'cults' than others, but many groups display cultish characteristics. Not cult ever admits to being a cult. Clearly cults must have some redeeming features or attractive aspects or no one would join them to start with.
It could be argued that by writing about and exposing cults in general, that one is doing them a favour by focussing everyone's attention on them and providing free advertising, which is not of course what one wants to achieve. If you focus on a person in this way, what may often happen is that rather than question them, you may actually give them significance, and perpetuate their power over people and fear amongst people (which gives them power). And for victims of such cults, focussing on them and continually reminding oneself of them can be extremely negative and prevent closure. This is the trouble with the conspirazoid movement, it perpetuates notions of governments being all powerful, and makes readers of these theories feel helpless and disempowered, which is supposedly the opposite of what they intend to achieve. Whether the actual theories in question are true or not is an entirely different matter! If these cultish people were just ignored and not mentioned, and therefore not talked about, then it might be better for everyone. But where such people are widely praised, or have a powerful influence on a local community or society as a whole, then perhaps it is one's duty to inform others of both sides of the story.
The difference between self-referenced and externally referenced individuals is examined on the personal orientation page. To cite a particular example of low self-esteem and naivity in many externally referenced individuals:
Externally referenced persons may fall victim to dishonest scolding, i.e. when person A makes a momentary error or lapse of judgement, person B not only scolds them for it, but lies in order to fabricate references and 'victims' of the 'crime' in question, in order to provide leverage over person A and to prove his point. This is beyond gross exaggeration that often takes place in heated discussions or defense responses (which is of course rather unproductive and one-sided and either lazy or just immature). Faking worse consequences of the actual action than had really taken place. If the fake consequences sound plausible, then person A may believe it and may feel really bad, which is what person B wants - to wield power over that person and to humiliate them as much as possible. Often the person may try to come across as being reasonable and pleasant, to lower your defences, then they can deliver their 'payload', to maximise the hurt inflicted on the other person. Ironically they may inflicting this hurt on the most sensitive person to external emotional sources of hurt, making the overrall effect much worse than they had imagined. Person B may use any perceived injustice as an excuse to behave as terribly as he likes with another person and licence to treat them as badly as he likes, without losing any of the high ground. This is what happens in many arguments or geopolitical conflicts, where one group feels victimised and fully justified in committing atrocities against the other group, whilst still maintaining the moral high ground and being 'victims'. However, if person B goes too over the top or can be seen to be acting, then person A should be able to figure it out at the time, and not hours or days after the event, but this does not always occur as person A is often very credulous and naive. Clearly this is cowardly behaviour but it does occur not infrequently. It is a kind of ego trip and playing psychological games with an individual, far worse than the original 'crime' which such an individual felt was perpetrated upon them or their 'world'. It is perhaps an example of an individual who has a chip on his shoulder about a particular issue and really wants to have a go at the next person who makes this mistake, and punish them for all the instances that this person has suffered or imagined occurrences that this individual has wound himself up about. Clearly aiming to destroy a person's self-esteem is not clever or decent. If the strategy fails, person A may just become so annoyed with person B that he may do the opposite of what person B wanted them to do, so the whole effect is wasted. A comeback line might be to challenge person B about making it up, playing psychological games and perhaps pointing out that their behaviour is perhaps far worse and dishonest than their own behaviour or 'crime' ever was, and not to scold them for all the cumulative anxiety that individual has build up about that issue over time - which had nothing to do with him - assuming a fight situation is not on the cards of course! Another strategy is simply to ignore the other person.
When we think we are really throwing all our resources at a problem or opportunity, to get our life back on track, we may often tell ourselves 'I'ved tried everything', but really that statement more accurately is 'I've tried a couple of things and given up' or 'I'll try anything as long as it doesn't involve using my brain or facing up to my fears or my Shadow.'
Just think for a moment about what makes you who you are. Many people spend much of their lives trying to change the outside, their place in the world and their appearance and projected image amongst peers - but often do not consciously make much effort to change the inside. To grow the inside. This usually happens through 'life experience' and by 'accident'. By being at the mercy of one's own mind rather than working with the mind. Why is this? We spend a great deal of time examining the outside world and acquiring status, goods and possessions and identifying with the outside. But we may spend very little time being totally honest with ourselves and studying the inside and looking to improve it.
You are not your job. You are not your finances and wealth. You are not your house. You are not the area you live in. You are not your watch or your car. You are not your work associates. You are not your friends. Try to separate yourself from these things and feel what makes you 'YOU'. Gain your identity and sense of self-worth from these things and not from the above external concepts and possessions. It is easy to become wrapped up in the above and base your happiness and feelings on the day to day performance of these things. Do not try to make yourself fit these things. You should make your surroundings fit you, in the sense that those things that can be sought out can be. You cannot change the unchangeable, but you can certainly take your 'business' elsewhere! Ask yourself if you are where you want to be. If you are not, then look at some of the above and think about how you can change them. Do not settle for second best. It is easy to let life take you to a certain place if you let it. Try to be the driving force in your life. If you are not making the right decisions or any decisions, then you are deciding not to decide, and someone else is making the decisions for you. It is easy to end up in a job or situation you don't particularly like, just by taking the first thing or opportunity that comes along, or being fearful for going for what you want, and being too 'sensible'.
The article below shows a number of somewhat amusing examples of fearful, herd and even inhumane behaviour by people on account of their patterns of focus and belief, the sense of deferral of responsiblity in modern 'civilised' society.
As a general comment on the principles described in this Psychology and Philosophy section, and indeed one which applies to the Health section also, whilst not being in control of your emotions, and feeling depressed, stressed, fearful, angry or unsatisfied much of the time is clearly not enjoyable or fulfilling on an emotional and spiritual level, it could actually be considered a good thing to feel like this! We are glad the brain works the way it does, and that we have gotten ourselves into this far from ideal position! And why is this you may well ask?! Well, it simply means that the very same principles that govern your current mental state, keeping things harsh or imbalanced, are the very same principles and 'rules' that ensure that when you work with these principles you can grow emotionally and align your thoughts and beliefs more towards your true self and what you really want, to empower you and to make you feel better, with the ultimate goal of feeling outstanding and empowered, with that feeling of infinite potential, wonder and possibilities, on some level, all the time. These principles, when used to your advantage, will ensure you don't slide back down to the bottom of the emotional ladder every time one little bad thing happens or every time you have a negative thought. The principles give the good and higher a meaning and significance. They also show what can happen if you abuse them or ignore them and pretend they do not apply to you. Easy relief and instant happiness, if one could somehow magically bypass these principles and the way the mind works, would be a shallow victory and have little meaning. They would not seem a great prize at all and would soon become boring or not have any solid foundation or stability. The same rules that when ignored allow you to totally screw up your life at one point or other, when recognised and used to your advantage/worked with also allow you to reach the heights of existence. Respect the principles and 'rules', don't abuse them and don't get 'played' by them. If you ignore them, and don't bother trying to be a good judge of character or put others before yourself all the time (based on low self-esteem and negative beliefs etc.), for example, you may be lucky and get away with it, but in all likelihood you may end up in destructive relationships and a bad situation(s). However, these are all things you can 'undo' to a large extent with more appreciation of what is going on.
Lyrics from Black Flag's song 'Rise Above' can be found here.
© 2006-2014 Fabian Dee