“B” stands for Beliefs. Beliefs are thoughts that we think over and over, until they create part of the framework with which we see the world. It’s like looking though the bars of a jail cell for years, until we no longer see the bars, but only what’s beyond them. A belief doesn’t get questioned. It’s rare that we ask ourselves if a belief is really true. Most of the time, we except them as truth.

A belief system will make it seem that no other belief is possible. For example, if I believe that my differences from others are keeping me isolated, I may not notice all of the evidence to the contrary. As in the example I gave under automatic thoughts, a belief that I’m alone will make me ignore the loving animals who live on my farm. I may come up with a very logical explanation as to why the presence of loving animals can’t disprove the belief that I’m alone. I might say “they’re animals, and I’m talking about humans.” Then a neighbor might drop by for a chat, or my sister might email, or a friend might call, all in the course of a few days. But I still might not notice, finding different explanations that help discount the evidence that defies my belief.