Each of us functions within a set of beliefs. In
our lives, belief systems create order and
structure. They make important decisions easier,
and they provide the basis for our integrity, ethics,
and philosophy. Our personalities are structured
by the beliefs we learned from parents, teachers,
friends, and the culture around us.
For a great many of us, our parents' spoken and
unspoken beliefs have become our own. As adults
we no longer need to be told right from wrong because
our parents' voices are ingrained in us, telling us
how to behave and what's expected of us.
Our beliefs also arise from the ways we interpret what
we see and hear as we grow up. And it's
interesting to note that our beliefs frequently are
based far more on interpretation than on fact.
Virginia always broke corncobs in two before boiling
them. She never questioned the logic of that
behavior until her son asked her about it one
day. She did it because her mother did it.
When he probed further, her discovered that his
grandmother had a very logical explanation: her
pots were too small to accommodate the large ears of
corn grown in their fields. Virginia's belief
was a habit based not on an acknowledged truth but on
her own, unexamined interpretation of her mother's
actions as right and proper, whatever their origin.
belief systems can also be created from fear. If we
fear rejection or disapproval, we may believe that it
isn't safe to disagree with others. When our views
run contrary to popular opinion, we may find it hard to
speak our minds. Why? Because we fear the
The culture around us also propagates inaccurate beliefs,
such as that men are more powerful than women or that men
should make more money because they have families to
support--a popular belief that statistics refute.
(At least 30 percent of all households in America today
are wholly supported by women, according to the Census
Bureau. And I bet those statistics are low.). . . .
Positive beliefs guide us; false beliefs handicap us. . .
An extremely important part of our work toward emotional
growth and change will come from examining our belief
systems regarding all areas of life. To gain the
courage to be yourself, you need to address the beliefs
that are keeping you stuck where you are. What
beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes are you holding onto
even though they no longer enhance your life? It is
possible to free yourself from worn-out beliefs and
acquire ones that bring happiness, strength, and
What we believe we may become.
Patton Thoele continues her quest to help readers
enhance their self-esteem and tap into their core
emotional strength. Geared to women who too often
find themselves meeting the wants of others at the
expense of their own needs, the book provides
necessary tools to help readers transform their
fears into the courage to express their own
authentic selves. By sharing her own journey and
the journey of other women, Thoele helps readers
learn to set boundaries, change self-defeating
behavior patterns, communicate effectively, and
become a loving and tolerant friend to themselves.