Since last week’s article about Emotional Agility seemed to be a big hit, I thought I would follow up with an article about the difference between values and beliefs. Understanding the difference between what we value and what we believe is an important distinction to make and informs how we make decisions.
A value is a concept or principle we hold dear. Values signal what we think is important and often serve as a rubric for how we behave.
A belief is a statement which we believe to be true. Beliefs are the bedrock of religions and spiritual practices as well as politics, economics, and social constructs. Beliefs also affect how we behave.
Quite often values inform our beliefs, but not exclusively. Beliefs also are impacted by how we were raised or by experiences we have had. We may believe something is true simply because we have never had an experience or a person contradict it.
When a belief is challenged, it is not uncommon to experience overwhelm, fear, anxiety, anger, hurt, disappointment, uncertainty, or confusion. The discomfort we feel is usually not permanent and diminishes the more we are able to view the challenge as an opportunity to foster a deeper understanding of ourselves and our world.
Our ability to view a challenge as an opportunity stems from our willingness to approach life with a scientific mindset. In other words, if we treat the challenge as an hypothesis – something to be examined, then we give ourselves permission to re-think our understanding. Key to using the scientific method is to seek out sources which are varied (step outside of our echo chambers) and which are based on evidence rather than our desires to be right, to be better, and to be liked.
One of the difficulties in approaching challenges with a scientific mindset is our emotions. I don’t know about you but I really hate having my neatly ordered world messed with – even when I experience fear and pain in my neatly ordered world. I notice I feel anxious, or even fearful, when something I believe to be true is questioned.
My work-around is to ask myself:
What I am worried about or afraid of losing if this belief is not true?
Owning my concern is the first step to getting the support I need so, if I learn something new, I have the tools to grieve the loss of what was.
Another work-around is to ask myself:
What is this fear telling me about what I value?
One reason we hang onto our beliefs so tightly is because our beliefs reflect what we value. By identifying the value(s) underneath the fear, we now have a direction for where we want to go.
The opportunity is to take the value and find a meaningful, more congruent way, to act upon the value. Keep in mind that giving up the belief, if that is our final decision, does not mean letting go of the value. Rather consider the loss of the belief as letting go of something that keeps us stuck or small, and which ultimately, gives us a way to more deeply express our values.
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.