Understanding that the mind is only creative can help us grasp the power of beliefs. George Orwell once said that “myths which are believed in tend to become true.” This is especially true on an individual basis.
By now, most of us realize that our perception of reality is heavily influenced by our beliefs, but the full extent of this influence is often underestimated. Each of us has a variety of methods for altering our reality so it conforms to what we believe to be real. Each of us is a reality alteration expert.
In part one of this series we talked about how our beliefs provide a structured process through which we evaluate everything in our lives. Now it’s time to take that concept a step further and look at the influence of your beliefs on…
Part 2: Your Internal Map of Reality
From the moment you entered this life, your subconscious mind has been busy collecting and processing information. Combined with your experiences, this information is used to create your beliefs about who you are as a person, and how you fit into the world around you.
Because these beliefs are based on your evaluation, and emotional conclusions of your personal experiences, they are accepted by your subconscious as being absolutely true. Your subconscious mind then uses these personal “truths” to construct your personal version of the real world. In other words, your beliefs become the foundation of your internal map of reality.
To the mind, your map is reality!
The way in which your map is constructed will determine many aspects of your life. It will be a major determining factor in your success or failure, your happiness or unhappiness, and your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your entire life experience.
Remember when people believed that the world was flat? That belief completely changed the way they viewed and interacted with their world. It didn’t matter that the world was really round. They believed it was flat and that belief had a powerful influence on their version of the real world. It changed the way they interpreted the facts.
We customize the facts to fit our map
If we have created a map where opportunity is everywhere, that’s what we will see. When our map is based on opportunity, we won’t view challenges as obstacles because that wouldn’t harmonize with our map. So we interpret the facts in a way that allows them to fit in with, and support, our internal map of reality.
Here’s the catch. For most people the way the map creates their reality on a day to day basis is completely outside of their conscious awareness. And because the process takes place on a subconscious level, they don’t see how they are creating their own reality. Instead of feeling like something they created, it seems like it’s coming from an external source.
The map is not reality!
We also create an emotional attachment to our map. It’s our personal version of what is real and we have a vested interest in verifying its accuracy. We want it to be real because it’s familiar, and that makes us feel safe and secure. This is why we are willing to distort, or even ignore, almost anything that might undermine our map.
Despite our best efforts though, sometimes our map of reality comes unraveled. Usually this involves emotionally charged events that don’t fit the map, and can’t be ignored. It’s like basing your map on a flat world, and then discovering you were wrong. Now your world doesn’t make sense anymore and your map falls apart.
You are not the map
For personal growth to occur, the map needs to be redrawn from time to time. The reason this change feels scary is because most people don’t realize that it’s only a map. They feel like their actual reality is imploding. Like their life is coming completely unraveled.
What is actually happening is their map is being updated to include new information. Being aware that it’s just a map, and not actual reality, makes it much easier to just let it happen. We know that the old map no longer serves us, and that the new one will. But this awareness requires the acknowledgment that we are not the map, and that we create the map based on past beliefs.
New beliefs are the key to a better map
Updating our beliefs automatically changes our map. This is how we create a more pleasing version. When we systematically dismantle our limiting beliefs, and replace them with empowering beliefs, the topography of our map will conform.
When we replace self-doubt with self-confidence, fear with curiosity, or pessimism with optimism, our map will rearrange itself to support those beliefs. The world around us will look and feel different, and we will be more comfortable with our place in it. We will have created a better internal map of reality.
Letting go of the old map
In part 3: Defending Your Beliefs, we will take a closer look at how we alter the meaning of our experiences to fit our map. We will also discuss how we attract people and situations into our life in an effort to verify the correctness of our version of reality.
I have decided to add a fifth article to this series called “Beyond the Map.” Even though learning to manage our beliefs in a way that creates a more satisfying map of reality is the goal of these articles, there is another level. This next level of creating our own version of the world around us will be the subject of part 5: Beyond the Map.
Editors note: This is the second in a five part series of articles about
How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality.
Here is a list of the subjects we will examine:
Part 1: What We Believe to Be True
Part 2: Your Internal Map of Reality
Part 3: Defending Your Beliefs
Part 4: Upgrading Your Beliefs
Part 5: Beyond the Map
What do you think so far?
Do you agree or disagree?
The lines are open!
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