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Excerpted from Creating a Life of Joy by Salle Merrill Redfield. Copyright 1999 by Salle Merrill Redfield. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Books and Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"If you feel you limit yourself because of certain unconscious or outdated beliefs, take time to explore your beliefs and how they originated."

Salle Merrill Redfield, Creating a Life of Joy, Part 5

Fortunately he explored his beliefs about life and realized that he was being too hard on himself. His wife was supportive of his love of surfing. And his parents were extremely proud of him. He adopted new beliefs that allowed him to relax and be grateful for all the blessings in his life.

This man's behavior may seem strange to someone who will never make a million dollars a year, yet we all behave this way on some level. We compare ourselves to others and think we aren't very successful, even though we have accomplished many things since the day we were born.

We may believe we don't have anything special to offer the world because someone in our childhood told us we didn't matter. Or we think we have to behave according to some hypothetical standard in order to be a good parent, businessperson, or community leader. Beliefs like these can create tremendous stress and prevent us from living lives full of inner peace and joy.

If you feel you limit yourself because of certain unconscious or outdated beliefs, take time to explore your beliefs and how they originated. Maybe when you were a child you heard someone make a passing remark about how women or men were supposed to behave. As a child you didn't have the ability to question the remark. You might have accepted it as truth. But now that you are older, you have the ability to form your own opinions.

To discover your beliefs, ask yourself questions like "What do I believe about money?" or "What needs to happen in order for me to be joyful?" Tailor these questions to any area of your life. And if you discover a belief that no longer serves you, replace it with a new belief.

Find a role model that lives life the way you want to and question his or her beliefs, if possible. Or imagine yourself being extremely joyful and ask yourself what types of beliefs you would hold about living life fully. This will give you an idea of new beliefs to adopt. Also practice having more fun and laughter in your life. This will shake out any old beliefs that say life has to be serious or all work.

Learn to play more. Relax and lighten up. Try new things. Connect with the beauty of the world. Make each day special. And, most of all, take time to be appreciative of your many assets. This will guarantee you more joyful beliefs and experiences in life.

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