Yesterday I was thinking about when I was a kid and I first realized Santa was not real. Like most kids, some other kid ruined it for me because they found their parents putting presents under the tree on Christmas Eve. I was trying to remember whether I let go of my belief when I learned Santa was not real or whether I clung to it. I cannot remember. I think I did a combination of both. I had a younger brother who was very little and believed in Santa, I did not want to ruin it for him. I kept half believing hoping those kids who ruined it for me were wrong.
This got me thinking to all the beliefs we hold as adults and how much stronger we hold onto our beliefs even after they have been proven wrong. As adults, we become more stubborn and stuck in our ways. It takes so much more than someone telling us our beliefs are wrong or not true for us to stop believing in them.
I think we make a mistake by holding onto our beliefs after hearing evidence that contradicts them. But we are only human and this is how our brain works. Holding on to our beliefs is a cognitive process; a conformation bias is when we look for information and recall information that support’s our beliefs. Our brains are wired to look for evidence that allows us to hold onto our beliefs even when we are faced with evidence that contradicts them.
The brain is not mean to make us happy because it is not our brain it is the brain. The brain is meant to keep us alive and it does a good job at it. It does not do a good job at happiness and allowing us to move past beliefs that are no longer serving us. If we let the brain control us, then we belong to it. But if we learn to redirect our brain into different ways of thinking, then we start to gain some control over it.
It is not easy to change the way you think because brain always goes back to keeping you alive. That is why the brain hangs on to beliefs long after they are proven wrong. But there are some beliefs that are not life and death, like whether or not we believe Santa is real. Is believing in Santa necessary for us to stay alive? I do not think so. But I am not sure the brain knows that. I am not sure the brain always knows when it is time to let go of a belief that no longer serves us, but the body does and the soul does.
Life is a process of learning how to listen to the body and the soul. Life is a process of figuring out how to use your mind to help you listen to your body and your soul rather than letting your mind do its own thing. Life is about uniting the mind, body and soul so they all stand together to help us navigate through life.