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Note 7: The belief barrier

Welcome to note 7 of 12. In the last note we looked at how gender affects communication. In this note, you will learn about how your beliefs can affect your communication.

Our perspective of situations is affected by our beliefs about ourselves, others and the world.

Our beliefs about ourselves: We hold onto our belief of who we are, our identity and how we expect ourselves to react in certain situations. Sometimes when we behave differently, we can find it hard to accept that we did the unexpected. We may not be happy about it and find it difficult to navigate our way to reconcile our actions and words.

Very often we don’t really react to what is going on in the real world; we react to what we think is going on, as we build our own internal narrative. Our behaviours and emotions therefore depend more on our perspective of situations rather than the situations themselves.

Our beliefs about others: We need to become more aware of our perceptions and validate the assumptions we make, to take a pause before we communicate to the other person. We do this by asking questions and showing empathy, to bridge a connection by showing we understand that person. The purpose of this is also to communicate without misunderstandings or hurting their feelings.

Our beliefs about the larger society/how the world works: A potential barrier can be caused by people having different values, because of their different cultural backgrounds. It depends on how well we accept (or not) those differences that affects how we communicate to others. To overcome this, a person should try to have a good understanding of what the other person’s values and beliefs are and accept their right to have them, before jumping to their own conclusions.

How beliefs affect our behaviour

Some beliefs that supports a passive role might be:

  • ”being assertive means being selfish”
  • “passivity is the way to be loved”
  • “it’s impolite to disagree”

Beliefs that supports an aggressive role include:

  • “I’m entitled to be angry”
  • “If I’m not aggressive nothing will happen”
  • “Honesty is the best policy”: It’s a pretty good policy; unfortunately, many people use honesty as an excuse for being aggressive

Remember: Overcoming belief barriers is key for effective communication. The first step to getting rid of unhealthy belief systems is to become more aware of your perceptions, that may not be accurate to what happened. The next is to ask questions and understand the other person’s point of view or value.

Action: Awareness is the key to dismantling an unhealthy belief system; it begins when one can identify and correct self-limiting beliefs. What beliefs hold you back from becoming a more assertive person?

In the next note we’ll look at being present.

And don’t forget: You are valuable. You are powerful. You can do this!

Your friends at Soul Medicine

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