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The Happiness Connection  

Knowing vs. believing

I have been an Oprah Winfrey fan for many decades. Among the things I love is the title of her column in O Magazine; What I Know for Sure.

When I feel stuck or hampered by indecision, I often ask myself that question. Revisiting what I know for sure grounds me and gets me back on track. 

Until this week, I never stopped to consider why I love that question. I think I assumed it was just another way of asking, what do I believe?

But I ‘believe’ I will weather any storm that comes my way, isn’t as powerful as, I ‘know’ I will weather any storm that comes my way.

Does that mean believing is not the same as knowing? It certainly doesn’t fill me with the same sense of conviction.

A conversation in a course I was teaching this week, awakened me to these thoughts. I’ve been considering the differences between believing and knowing ever since.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, believing is accepting something as true, genuine, or real, while knowing is having knowledge or information.

When it comes to inner belief and inner knowing, I see the main difference revolving around choice. You get to decide what you believe. You can always change your mind. 

Knowing involves a certainty you can’t escape. You may not even be able to explain why you know it is true. It just is.

Perhaps believing is not what we are trying to achieve in the realm of personal development. Maybe it is only a step on the way to the more powerful position of knowing. Maybe belief assists us in figuring out what we know for sure. 

More information is absorbed by your brain than it can possibly process. How does it decide what to pass to your consciousness and what to file in your subconscious? 

Your brain is designed to help strengthen your beliefs and intentions by giving you evidence to support them. It is one of the reasons you get more of what you focus on.

You choose an uncommon name for your child, only to discover it isn’t that unusual. You buy a new car and suddenly see them everywhere. You get pregnant and so does everyone else.

It wasn’t that those things didn’t exist before, you just didn’t take any notice of them. Your brain didn’t have any reason to pass those items on to your consciousness.

Life is beginning to shift again. We are being invited to step back into the world, in a social distancing way. The pandemic isn’t over, but there is a lull. 

For some people, stepping out is just as hard as staying home was.

Ground yourself in this time of uncertainty. 

Begin by listing your deepest beliefs. Are they beliefs, or do you know them to be true? 

When you choose what you want to believe, your brain will help you turn it into certainty by giving you evidence to support it.

I know challenge helps me grow and that the world is full of kind, compassionate, and loving people.

These statements help anchor me so I can retain perspective and equilibrium.

What do you know for sure?



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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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