Beliefs are the convictions that we generally hold to be true, usually without actual proof or evidence and are basically assumptions that we make about ourselves, other in the world and how we expect things to be. Beliefs are about how we think things really are, what we think is really true and what therefore expect as likely consequences that will follow from our behavior. Beliefs are often, but not always connected to religion. Our beliefs grow from what we see, hear, experience, read and think about. From these things we develop an opinion that we hold to be true and unmovable at that time. Additionally they can be Empowering Beliefs, which are related to excellence and how it could be achieved, or Limiting Beliefs, where your behavior is not what you want, but you think you cannot change it.
The key to changing your belief system is changing your thoughts. Orison Swett Marden wrote in How to Get What You Want, “Stop thinking trouble if you want to attract its opposite; stop thinking poverty if you wish to attract plenty. Refuse to have anything to do with the things you fear, the things you do not want.”
Values stem from our beliefs, are things that we deem important and are about how we think things ought to be or people ought to behave. Values can include concepts like equality, honesty, education, effort, perseverance, loyalty, faithfulness, conservation of the environment and many, many other concepts. Values govern the way we behave, communicate, and interact with others.
It is possible for our beliefs and values to differ over time as we encounter evidence or have experiences that challenge our previously held views. Conversely our beliefs and values can also be strengthened by experience or evidence. Beliefs and values determine our attitudes and opinions.
Morals are a system of beliefs that is taught for deciding good or bad as opposed to coming from within and are emotionally related for deciding right or wrong. Morals have more social value and acceptance than values, with a person being judged more for their moral character than their values. Morals are a motivation or a key for leading a good life in the right direction whereas value is imbibed within a person and can be bad or good depending on the person’s choice. Morals can be related to one’s religion, a political system or a business society, and are formed because of values rather than being determined by values.
Assumptions are our long-learnt, automatic responses and established opinions. We are, ourselves, almost always unaware of the nature of our own basic assumptions, but they are enacted through our behavior – what we say and do. Basic assumptions are usually rooted in our infancy, early family life and social context. More widely, assumptions shaping our behavior relate to cultural context.
Attitudes are our learned ways of responding to people and situations based on the beliefs, values and assumptions we hold. Attitudes become manifest through our behavior.
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