Mind is the builder.
What You Think, What You Know, and What You Believe
We have three different words for the ideas that inhabit our minds. First is the word know. When we say we know something, we mean we have experienced it for ourselves. It is our most definite category of ideas. For example, I know how to get home from work, because I have done it. I know I have hair, because I can see it and feel it. I know the sky is blue. Unless we have personally experienced something, we cannot honestly say we know it.
Second is the word believe. A belief is an idea to which we have an ego attachment. I believe I have good ideas. I believe my neighbor doesn't like me. These ideas have emotional components and help show how we define ourselves. We often disguise beliefs as things we know. You may tell yourself you know your neighbor doesn't like you, when this is a belief.
Third is the word think. We use think to refer to ideas that are intellectually based. I think the square root of nine is three. In terms of how we have developed mathematics, this is a true idea.
An important point to note about the things I said above is that in all cases I was talking about ideas, mental constructs. There is a world outside us, and we live and function in it, but we live and function in terms of what happens in our own minds. Everything that we experience, think, and do first passes through, and is shaped by, our minds.
This is important. What we know, think, and believe determines what we do and how we feel. Go back to the example of the neighbor that you believe dislikes you. As long as you hold this belief, you may say, okay, Joe doesn't like me. You think you have good evidence for this belief. He never says hi. He called the police when your dog got in his garbage. And he tells you your grass is too tall. So you decide you don't like Joe, either. Just because you believe Joe doesn't like you, you decide you don't like him. Are you happier or less happy now? Has your belief that Joe doesn't like you improved your life or made it worse?
What we do and how we feel creates the world that exists around us. To be able to change our lives, we have to change our ideas and beliefs. The world outside is an expression of the world inside our minds.
Instead of saying you don't like Joe, you could not let his actions affect you. You could say "Fine, Joe doesn't like me, but that's okay. Everyone doesn't have to like me." In this case you'll go on acting like you were. Or you could say, "Joe doesn't like me because of things I have done. I want Joe to like me." In this case you will keep your dog on her chain, and cut your grass more often. Or you could say "I don't know if Joe likes me or not. I think I'll find out. So one day you go to Joe and say "Joe, I get the feeling you don't like me." Joe could say, "No, I don't dislike you. I'm just preoccupied when I get home from work. It takes me a while to unwind." "Well, what about my grass?", you ask. "Man, I wish my grass grew like that. I've been trying for six years, and I still have bare spots." So Joe didn't really dislike you. You misinterpreted his actions and attributed to a belief that Joe doesn't even have.
The point of all this was that you took action based on your beliefs about Joe, and your beliefs about yourself. If your beliefs are different, you act differently.
The Power To Change
Like so many things, the basic theory I've just laid out is simple. Our beliefs create our life. This isn't a complicated proposition. Implementing changes based on this can be complicated, though. We are aware of some beliefs, but not aware of others, while still others hover on the edge of consciousness.
You have to work with your beliefs. You can start by writing down what you believe. The act of writing gives focus so you can see your beliefs more clearly. While you write, you also need to write down the things you know. As I said earlier, beliefs are often disguised as things we know, so unless you are talking about a statement of physical fact, look at what you know as beliefs.
As you list your beliefs, you begin to see patterns in them. Some beliefs are destructive, others are limiting. Some are empowering. Some conflict with each other. As you rid yourself of the destructive and limiting beliefs, and resolve some of the conflicts, you will see a change in your life.
Change may not be quick, and it may not be obvious to others, but change will come. Beliefs are habits of thought, and like any other habit, take time to end and begin. But continue to work, and as you build a new you, you will build a new world around you.