I have been writing about my social anxiety for a while now. Ive talked about the different layers involved and how it seems that there is no end to it – just one level after the other.
I decided that confidence and self-esteem would be one entire section of my new foundation. Then I discovered that there were automatic thoughts in an underlying layer that were controlling my life and sabotaging my efforts. Was there another level lurking in the background – something below automatic thoughts?
Yep, there was yet another layer in the puzzle – the belief system. This is the end of the line as far as I can tell – the core. My auto-thoughts and responses are created from my beliefs – end of story, period. What my brain truly believes seems to be the most basic component. This, in my opinion, was the origin. All of my attention would be directed here.
Our beliefs are truly a force to be reckoned with. What we believe deep down, is what determines our thoughts and responses in all aspects of our lives. Beliefs are built over time. Every experience, and subsequent feedback, in life, serves to program our beliefs.
Once these beliefs are in place, they are very difficult (if not impossible), to change. Thats why I could never program myself with things like self-talk, or motivational tapes. My brain could tell the difference between fact and fiction. Regardless of how often or how long I listened to positive reinforcement, I was fighting a losing battle – it was simply in one ear, and out the other.
I could tell myself that I was a great person with tons of confidence. I could tell myself that people liked me and that I had a great personality. I could try to get through a speech by telling myself how great I was, but since I did not believe it, it was nonsense. I mean, did I really think that my brain and subconscious was that dumb – to be tricked into believing something without there being any substance? Maybe, but the brain knew better.
So if motivational tapes or self-talk could not program my belief system, then what was left?
What the belief system needed was truth and facts – plain and simple. As long as the brain knew that it was being fed facts, it would adjust the belief system accordingly – or so I hoped.