The Discomfort of the Unknown

Beliefs are useful. They eliminate the discomfort of the unknown.

When we are uncertain, or in unfamiliar territory, we feel anxious. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”  The sensation is familiar — feel what it feels like to hold the belief, “Something out there might be dangerous. Something bad might happen.” It is a biological signal, heightening our awareness of the environment, preparing us for “fight, fight, or freeze.”

Beliefs are a way out, back to the comfort of the known.  “It’s okay, it’s just the wind.”  “Daddy’s here to protect you.”  “Look — there are no monsters underneath your bed.”

Our biological and anthropological history installed anxiety as a survival mechanism.  If we’re uncertain about what’s going to happen, and we’re driven to figure it out and prepare for it, we have a much better chance to survive the next snowstorm, famine, or attack.  “Figuring it out” is the construction of a belief.  “Planning in advance” is a learned behavior based on the belief in predictability.  We live in a mostly predictable universe.  Except when the shit hits the fan.  Then, anything goes.  No amount of planning in advance is helpful.  Sometimes a deep ocean drilling rig explodes and spews millions of gallons of oil and gas into the ocean waters.  Then, you do the best you can.  In an emergency, apply awareness first.

When we’re uncertain about our past, as in “Why did that happen to me?,” beliefs are useful as explanatory devices.  “I’m a bad boy. That’s why Daddy hits me.”  Something is settled.  The unknown is now known.  The belief may be fallacious, but it settles the anxiety deep in the body’s psyche.

Every belief we accumulated was useful at the time. It reduced some anxiety or uncertainty.  Do you remember the feeling of being called on in class and not knowing the answer?  It’s shame — especially if other kids laughed at us.  This feeling drives some children to come to the conclusion (belief), “That’s never going to happen again. I’m going to study so I know the answers.”  Other children take the downward path into the belief: “I’m just stupid.  I’ll never learn that stuff.  I give up.”

The unfortunate fact is that beliefs do not automatically expire when their usefulness is over.  Even as we grow into adults, the old beliefs run us, especially when similar incidents occur.  The boss asks you a question you don’t know the answer to. Your face flushes. The familiar, bitter taste of shame appears.  Suddenly, you feel (and act) like you’re seven years old.

The BeliefCloset Process is a tool for success. When you delete your collection of old, useless beliefs, one-by-one, out of your belief closet, you make room for new, useful and empowering beliefs.  You can live the life you were meant to live.  When you face the unknown from centered Presence, rather than your old patterns, your natural enthusiasm, curiosity, joy, and playfulness emerge.  You are no longer limited by your old patterns or limitations.  Your True Self shines in the world.  You’re giving your gifts that you were designed to give.  This is No-Limits Living, and it’s available to you.  Start by cleaning out your Belief Closet.

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