John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C

What else can I say about belief? Everyone, including myself, talks and writes about it endlessly. I almost hesitate to write about it due to fear of being redundant. However, the importance of it is so crucial to success in any endeavor, as well as for living a meaningful and fulfilling life.

The kind of belief I am referring to is primarily your subconscious beliefs. These are the most influential and powerful types of belief. You can assert you believe something all day long, but your actions will let me know what you truly believe. Moreover, you cannot trick your subconscious brain into believing something. Many of the approaches I have seen over the years are focused on examining and attempting to change our thinking. Although this can be beneficial for changing conscious beliefs, they have little to no effect on subconscious beliefs, which comprise roughly ninety eight percent of our beliefs.

Subconscious beliefs can only be shifted experientially

Many of you have read all the books, attended numerous seminars, tried various techniques but continue to struggle with self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and procrastination. The reason for this is the way our subcortical brain works. Our subconscious beliefs were formed out of emotional experience and are stored as emotional memories. We have discovered over the last couple of decades that these types of beliefs and patterns of relating cannot be overridden by your cognitive brain; they can only be shifted experientially. How do you do this you ask?

The old emotional memory has to be accessed and felt in the moment. Then a new experience must happen allowing it to be what is referred to as reconsolidated back into your memory system. Only then can it be changed at this level. There are a variety of ways this can be achieved. The ones I do with my clients are the most powerful and rapid. There are several methods I use: EMDR, Brainspotting, AEDP, and Somatic Experiencing.

How to create new subconscious beliefs 

However, there are ways you can achieve this on your own. You have to create what is referred to as corrective experiences or a better outcome so to speak. Let me give you an example. Let's say you were bullied in middle school and rejected by many of your peers. Now in your life today, you attempt to develop supportive relationships. While attempting this goal, there are times you feel inadequate and fear being rejected. You have the courage to slowly open up to a couple of these potential friendships and share your fear of not being good enough and excluded by others.

To your surprise and relief, you receive a supportive and caring response. The brain is shocked by what is referred to as prediction error. It was expecting to be shamed but received acceptance. This is what will then allow new learning to take place. The memory gets reconsolidated, or stored, with the new belief.

If your early experiences left you with a belief that life is meaningless and you are incapable of constructing a fulfilling and successful one, identify the events that led you to this belief. With support from others, process the emotions related to these incidents. Then create new experiences that lead to the belief your life is worth living, and you are capable of creating that life. Remember, the results will come from the doing not the knowing.


John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.

John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance. 

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