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  • Writer's picturerhoyte8

Narratives and Beliefs, How They Impact Our Actions and Behaviours

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Narratives are the stories that we tell ourselves and others, these stories are how we make sense of the world and our place in it. Narratives can be personal, such as our life stories, or collective, such as cultural myths, historical accounts, or political ideologies. Our narratives contribute to shaping our identity, values, the emotions we feel, and our motivations.

Beliefs are statements that we hold to be true or probable, based on our perception, experience, or reasoning. Beliefs can be factual, such as "the Earth is round", or evaluative, such as "democracy is better than dictatorship". Beliefs can also be implicit or explicit, conscious or unconscious, rational or irrational.

Narratives and beliefs are closely related and often influence each other. Narratives can provide a framework for forming and organizing beliefs, while beliefs can provide evidence or justification for narratives.

Narratives and beliefs have a powerful impact on our actions. Actions are behaviours that we perform intentionally or habitually, in response to internal or external stimuli. Actions can be individual or collective, constructive or destructive, ethical or unethical.

Narratives and beliefs can motivate, guide, or constrain our actions. Narratives can inspire us to pursue a certain goal or vision, such as achieving personal success or social justice. Beliefs can inform us about what is possible or desirable, such as what we can do or what we should do.

Narratives and beliefs can also limit our actions by creating biases, prejudices, or blind spots, such as ignoring alternative perspectives or dismissing contrary evidence. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the narratives and beliefs that we hold and how they affect our actions. We should critically examine the sources, validity, and implications of our narratives and beliefs. We should also seek to understand the narratives and beliefs of others and how they differ from ours. By doing so, we can improve our decision-making, communication, and collaboration skills. We can also foster a more diverse, inclusive, and respectful society.

Positives and Negatives of Strongly Held Beliefs

Psychotherapy is a process of exploring and changing one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in order to improve one's well-being and functioning.

One of the common factors that influences the effectiveness of psychotherapy is the client's beliefs. Beliefs are mental representations of reality that guide our perception, interpretation, and evaluation of ourselves, others, and the world. Beliefs can be positive or negative, rational or irrational, flexible or rigid, and conscious or unconscious. Beliefs can also vary in their strength, meaning how strongly we hold them and how resistant they are to change.

Strongly held beliefs are those that we are very confident about and that we do not question or doubt. They are often based on personal experience, values, or identity. They can also be influenced by social norms, cultural background, or religious affiliation. Strongly held beliefs can have both positive and negative effects, depending on their content and context.

Some of the possible positives of strongly held beliefs in psychotherapy are:

- They can provide a sense of meaning, purpose, and direction in life.

- They can motivate us to pursue our goals and overcome challenges.

- They can enhance our self-esteem and confidence.

- They can foster a sense of belonging and connection with others who share our beliefs.

- They can help us cope with stress, adversity, and uncertainty.

- They can facilitate positive change by inspiring us to adopt new perspectives or behaviours that are consistent with our beliefs.

Some of the possible negatives of strongly held beliefs in psychotherapy are:

- They can limit our openness to new information, feedback, or alternatives that contradict our beliefs.

- They can bias our perception and memory of events to confirm our beliefs and ignore or distort evidence that disconfirms them.

- They can cause us to reject or avoid people who have different beliefs from us or to engage in conflicts or arguments with them.

- They can impair our critical thinking and problem-solving skills by preventing us from considering multiple viewpoints or solutions.

- They can interfere with our emotional regulation by triggering intense negative emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, or shame when our beliefs are challenged or violated.

- They can hinder positive change by making us resistant to modify or abandon our beliefs even when they are dysfunctional or maladaptive.

It is important to be aware of the role of strongly held beliefs and to assess their impact on well-being and functioning. It is important to deconstruct these beliefs when they are irrational, distorted, or harmful and to develop more adaptive and flexible beliefs to allow positive well-being, effective functioning and personal growth.

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