Why do some people feel angst and worry all the time while others never worry and being happy is a natural state of mind? The answer lies in the way a person perceives his or her life, in other words how they think. When that thinking is not operating in a manner that will imbue happiness I term it “broken thinking.”

Our thinking is a result of the collection of beliefs and perceptions we hold, which I call a Belief Construct, and determines the way in which we perceive reality. We develop our Belief Construct from all of our personal experiences along with what we have learned or been told and then accepted as real. Each time we acquire new beliefs and ideas, the entire Belief Construct is reorganized to incorporate this information. As we experience more and get older, we have an increasingly sophisticated structure that grows and changes with each new experience. Your Belief Construct is the basis for how you perceive things, whether things are right or wrong, important or unimportant, and so on. To illustrate how a Belief Construct operates let’s walk through how one gets built.

The broadest way in which humans view reality has to do with the question “Who Am I?,” and this includes things like God and all of the other questions related to who we are as human beings, but where do our answers come from? Most have come from what we have learned or been told by others, and we have just accepted them. Because these views are widely accepted, most people do not see them as changeable, to most people these beliefs are absolute truth.

Next, come the ideas from the race of people we belong to, our societies, religions, countries, and so on. Most of the time these ideas are given to us when we are very young and are readily accepted, and since most people within our race, culture, and religion, have the same beliefs it is easy for this part of our Belief Construct to become absolute and rigid. These ideas form the morals, behavior, political views, religious beliefs, and social views that live within our Belief Construct, and everything that comes later must fit together with them or will be in conflict.

Then, we incorporate views and ideas into our Belief Construct from the educational, work, and social communities in which we live. The Belief Construct of an academician is much different than the Belief Construct of a blue-collar worker, just as the Belief Construct of a surfer is distinct from a military pilot. As we grow so does our Belief Construct, and it must include everything, all of the beliefs we have accepted about life, religion, society, the family we are born into and later the families we form. All of our personal experiences, all of the love and disappointments, all of the lessons from our life must be incorporated and fit into all of the other parts of our Belief Construct.

Many people are lucky, and their Belief Construct works well for them. Other people are not so fortunate and feel as though something is missing. Anxiety and depression and other forms of “broken thinking” persist. Often new events create conflict. There are many times throughout our lives when we must choose between our Belief Construct or something we want. One typical example would be to fall in love with someone outside of your faith and feel it would be wrong to get married, so you must find someone else to marry. 

When a person’s Belief Construct is more important than what they want or the feeling that is happening inside of them, they are living a life dictated by beliefs. They are missing the most exciting parts of life and condemning themselves to conflict and dissatisfaction. You have the right to question and change any belief. By doing so, you choose how you perceive and live your life. You give yourself the freedom to overcome angst and conflict and open the door to greater peace and happiness. You give yourself the right to get what you want. 

Originally published at quietclarity.com