Convictions are strong, conscious and thought out beliefs that can serve a backbone for a person’s character. They direct one’s behavior and will, and do not need additional reasoning: that power is so strong that controls a person completely. But human’s beliefs are not always correct, as people can often have serious delusions about the world around. And if one is able to change his or her convictions, this means that person to have a developed personality.
To change convictions, one needs to understand how they are formed and what kinds of them can meet people in life.
Some beliefs are solid and stable. When someone argues them, there will most probably appear a conflict. Despite the opinion of anti-utopists, not every feature of personality can be changed.
But other convictions are open for challenge. This does not mean them to be bad or based on an unstable ground of suggestions. They rather depend on one’s ability to analyze big portions of information and having a flexible mind. Sometimes, not the whole conviction is changed, but its part is modified, added or excluded depending on new experience.
A human resists severely if someone tries to change his or her convictions. But mostly, a person thinks it is normal to change them gradually. As a rule, beliefs are not about grey shades, they are black-and-white. When talking to such person, it is better to make an accent on the fact that every separate situation is unique, and there can be exclusions.
Adaptive convictions are like plasticine: they can be changed within years, simplified and complicated, supported with new conceptions or freed of old ones. They are closely connected with learning: if you change or deny some of them, you’ll be able to learn new things much more effectively.
Some adaptive convictions can become so great that it is difficult to describe them in one text line. They transform into a whole system of beliefs: a cult or religion, for example.
What does that mean? When trying to reassure a person about something, it is better to try distinguishing unchangeable convictions from adaptive ones. When you find this out, think about “superstuctures”: what part of this belief can be completed or denied?
Those are convictions that hold a person back in some ways. A person does not do something, does not tell and does not believe in their ability to reach the goal. These convictions touch one’s personal identification, other people and the world in general.
I am (not). One can say: “I’m an accountant” and decide that way: “I’m not busy with marketing, so I shouldn’t even think about that”.
I can’t. People often have their self-esteem lowered about what they can’t do. If they think: “I can’t sing”, they can spend their whole life thinking like that, and won’t even try changing a situation. This means they have a conviction: they can’t learn anything new.
I must (not). People are bounded with values, norms, laws and other rules that limit what they must and must not do. If they think: “I must have this job”, then they won’t improve their skills in order to get the job they are about to like.
Others. People limit their opinions not only about themselves, but about other people as well. If they think their rival to be smarter, they do not even doubt that, do not challenge, do not become better. If they look onto someone as an egoist, they won’t ask him or her for help.
Where do Restraining Convictions Come from?
There are several reasons:
Personal experience. Direct experience is a key factor forming person’s convictions. They act, something happens, they make conclusions. Such convictions are often useful, but they still can hold a person’s development.
Fosterage & education. People read and listen to teachers and parents in order to understand how the world is built and how to behave in it. But parents and teachers can be mistaken, too, and give their children and pupils those restraining convictions they have.
False logic. People make a lot of mistakes when making decisions, for instance, basing on a wrong probability estimation. They form their convictions basing rather on unconscious hopes and fears than on reality. The word “because” can be very dangerous. When people use it, they think to have serious reasons for this or that decision, but things can really be not like they expect. And sometimes, they confuse cause and effect.
Excuse. They justify their failures. These excuses are often the only basement for personal convictions.
Fear. Restraining convictions are often based on fears. In order to avoid feeling pain, people think out a belief that there is no reason to risk and get out of their comfort zone.
The starting point of many convictions is the fact that they seem to be right. A person can just try being an actor and use a “What if…” technique. They can change a conviction through building a completely opposite suggestion. Then, it is required to live with it for an hour, a day, a week. Soon, a person can see that they were wrong when thinking they couldn’t do something.
To create a conviction, one is to use affirmations. Those are useful phrases that should be repeated a few times a day during months, years and even one’s whole life.
Here are some examples:
- Probability: “This might work. That is why I’ll try.” “I can’t make it” is a general restraining conviction making people avoid even trying to do something. So, it is good to encourage one’s curiosity. Yes, not everyone can become a writer or get that Oscar, but is that a reason not to try at least? This approach gets a person free of obligation to reach success, and to be able to get satisfied with a process itself.
- Ability: “I can get that. I just need to move forward”. Confidence is a great fuel on the way to the goal. Even if things don’t go all right at once, it is useful to repeat this affirmation until it becomes a conviction.
- Learning: “I’m clever. If I read a lot, I’ll be able to know many things”. When a person thinks himself or herself to be silly, that can serve as an excuse to passiveness and cause apathy. If a person is sure to be clever and talented, then the wish to make one more step forward appears.
- Respect: “I take people as they are. This conviction will help me get many friends”. Many people act defensively when communicating with others, as they think everyone is able to hurt them. If to behave with respect and love people, one can become open and communicative, and this will have a positive effect onto one’s social life.
A biblical story about Samson, whose power was in his hair, is a metaphor telling about many important things. If a person is sure to be strong, smart and self-confident, then he or she can start acting like that. And with time, they believe in that.
This single principle says, that it is possible to change one’s restraining convictions and to create other ones instead.
It is everyone’s personal choice what convictions they are going to have. People can change them.