We all know that our words matter. Whether we compliment or insult someone or anything in between, our words have an effect on the listener. But before words are spoken or written, there’s an alchemy that’s even greater forming: our beliefs.
The talented author, O’Henry demonstrates this power in his fictional tale, “The Last Leaf.” A young woman is plagued with pneumonia and announces:
“When the last one [leaf] falls, I must go, too. I’ve known that for three days. Didn’t the doctor tell you?”
Before the young woman [Johnsy] spoke these words, she had already made a decision between her heart and mind. She is so filled with the belief that she will die once that leaf falls that she even interprets the doctor’s message as a fatal diagnosis.
Yet the doctor’s words regarding Johnsy’s prognosis were far from tragic:
“She has a chance, if she wants to live. If people don’t want to live, I can’t do much for them. Your little lady has decided that she is not going to get well.”
Johnsy’s belief that she isn’t going to get well is determining her prognosis, her future.
While O’Henry’s example of faith in action is fictional, consider Anita Moorjani (author of Dying to Be Me). At 42, Anita discovered a lump in her shoulder and was subsequently diagnosed with lymphoma. After four years, the cancer had attacked her vital organs, and she was in a coma.
Anita writes about her NDE (Near Death Experience) where she became aware of what brought her to the current physical state she was in:
“I also understood that the cancer wasn’t some punishment for anything I’d done wrong, nor was I experiencing negative karma as a result of any of my actions, as I’d previously believed. It was as though every moment held infinite possibilities, and where I was at that point in time was the culmination of every decision, every choice, and every thought of my entire life. Many fears and my great power had manifested this disease.”
We all possess the power to believe. Many of us do so unconsciously. We are pharmacists, magicians, creators—our perceptions regularly manifesting our reality.
The great news: we don’t need to acquire pneumonia or cancer to alter our beliefs. We can choose to believe that things are always working out for us; we can choose love over fear; we can choose to trust ourselves; we can choose faith.