Upon this Rock of Beliefs…

by Steven Mundahl on October 8, 2013

I grew up in a church environment that held individuals as innately bad and sinful. Even the liturgy expressed that statement, and it was repeated as a core belief. To be good, we needed to confess our wickedness, repent of our errant ways, and vow to be better only through divine help. When I first began to understand what those words meant, it was already too late. I tried to live as wholesome a life as I could as a teenager; however, I had common immoral thoughts at times, setting up a cycle of shame and guilt about not being a better person. As I grew older, I gradually replaced the idea that I was inherently evil and began to question the deep-seated belief that had been part of my traditional religious upbringing. Instead of the shame, failure, and guilt about pledging to live a better life, I gradually realized that there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with me as I had been told. I wasn’t rotten to the core of my being. It took years for me to overcome that liturgical belief: By nature, you are sinful and unclean.

Think of the core beliefs you hold from your childhood religious experiences. Place them squarely in front of you. Many religions did not teach us to honor our own divine nature. Once we recognize these limiting beliefs, we can cognitively begin to counter them through building our own spiritual philosophy. We recognize that it was based on a fundamental untruth from an unhealed parent or philosophical belief that may have been originated by human beings to control others instead of supporting their expansion.

As we begin to replace the negative beliefs with more positive belief statements, our core reality begins to shift. We learn that maybe there is nothing wrong with us at our core! We are capable of being loved and loving someone else from this new view. This is the alchemical transformation that takes us from feeling inherently bad and alone to becoming confident and connected to everyone and everything. This is the journey back to wholeness—dropping long-held negative beliefs and replacing them with reinforcing positive ones.

Please share any examples of positive and negative beliefs you have held and how they might be affecting your life today.

Steven Mundahl

CEO at Goodwill Industies in Western MA
Steven Mundahl is president and CEO of Goodwill Industries in western Massachusetts. He teaches leadership and personal effectiveness in the graduate school of Baypath College.

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