Sunday, April 24, 2011

Belief Windows

Belief Windows

As I do parenting workshops or work one on one with parents, I have found many parents are struggling to create a peaceful environment in their homes. It seems there is constant bickering between family members and relationships with their children or their spouse are so negative. Often the problem lies within the parent and their Belief Windows. Belief Windows affect the decisions we make and the actions we take with our families.

What are Belief Windows?

You cannot actually see your Belief Window because it’s invisible, but we all have one. It is figuratively attached to your head and hangs in front of your face Every time you move, that window goes with you. You look at the world through it and what you see is filtered back to you through it. Our outlook on the world around us is determined by our belief windows. We begin forming these belief windows from birth. Some of the belief statements are good, some not so good. These windows change as we change and improve.

How do these Belief Windows form?

The Beliefs on our windows:
*Come from previous experience.  Example: As a child you have had a bad experience with a dog, you might believe that all dogs are vicious. 
*Come from what people have taught us when we were young or from cultural messages.  Example: As a child you take candy from the store and parent makes you go back and pay for it.  You learn stealing is bad.
 *General observations of life  Example:  Growing up, you watch as your father always takes out the garbage, you  assume it is a husbands responsibility to take care of garbage

Some of us can barely see out of our belief windows because they are so crowded with
statements of how we believe things should be. The smaller the viewing area through our window, the less willing we will be to test our assumptions and beliefs.

Examples of destructive Family Belief Windows:

*Good moms have a clean house at all times
*Successful children get all “A’s” 
*Children should be reading by the time they start kindergarten
*If we have money, or a big house, or a nice car, we will be a happy family.
*Child should attend a particular college
*Daughter should play tennis/Son should play football
*Children should never talk back to their parents

(Something is wrong is you have too many “shoulds” on your window. Be wary of “should” behaviors)

So, how well can you see out of your belief window?
Is it streaked with lots of untrue, outdated, or damaging belief statements
that limit your options in life?
Or is it clean and easy to see through, framed by tested and true belief
statements that keep your options open?

We can clear our belief windows. 

First, we need to recognize and acknowledge the very existence of these belief statements and that some of them might be wrong and stopping our progression.
Second, look at the results you are getting in life. Are these results bringing you happiness or do they produce pain in your life.
Third, Ask yourself what beliefs might be on your Belief Window that could be changed. Talk to a friend or a professional to get an impartial opinion.
Fourth, Implement a new behavior and evaluate the results. A correct belief on your belief window should bring peace and happiness into your life and your family.

Examples always help:

I recently worked with a young couple with small children. They constantly argued and the children were always fighting. To the husband this seemed to be normal behavior because that is how life was for him growing up in his home. The wife was very unhappy in this environment and uncomfortable with what was going on at home.  This is not how she was raised. She expressed her concerns to a dear friend who assured her that she was right. Her home was dysfunctional and it did not need to be that way. This cute, young mother stressed to her husband that they needed help. She convinced him to go to counseling. Through counseling and group therapy, the psychologist was able to show the husband that his perception of what goes on in a normal family home was not correct. The couple was able to make the necessary changes and is now experiencing a new level of joy at home.

When you come up against a situation or problem within your family. Examine your belief window. I find when parents are open to change, their lives improve!