“You’re not good enough! You’re not smart enough! You’re not articulate enough and you’re not attractive enough!” She would tell me this repeatedly.
I believed her.
I’m a doctor. I love my job, yet I have a gut feeling that I’m supposed to do more.
I dream of speaking to large audiences and inspiring individuals to lead healthier lives. When I shared my dreams with her, she told me I wasn’t qualified. I’d fail, so why even start?
‘She’ was me.
I was my biggest critic.
I didn’t acknowledge my strengths. I talked myself out of stepping out in faith and having the life I was created to live because I was held hostage by my self-limiting beliefs.
Self-limiting beliefs are negative opinions, beliefs or assumptions we have about ourselves. They rob us of our confidence and keep us constrained. These beliefs usually develop during childhood and can be caused by an experience in which we had a bad outcome. Other times, an adult such as a parent or a teacher may have spoken damaging words to us.
We may also use self-limiting beliefs to keep us safe. Stepping out of our comfort zone is scary. We have a fear of failure and rejection by others and our self-limiting beliefs reel us back in whenever we want to take that step. By the time we become adults, our self-limiting beliefs are cast in stone.
Do you have any of these self-limiting beliefs?
- I’m not good (replace with any other desirable quality) enough.
- I’m a failure.
- I don’t have what it takes to succeed.
- I don’t have enough confidence.
- I could never do that.
- I’m not as skilled as they are.
- Why would they listen to me?
- I have too many flaws.
- I’m too old, too young, too fat, etc.
- Taking risks never work out for me.
There is hope.
We can overcome self-limiting beliefs. My breakthrough came this past Spring. I attended a conference and one of the presenters spoke about negative mindsets and how they prevent us from living our best lives. At the end of her talk, we were all asked to write our number one self- limiting belief on a breaking board which we then had to smash in true kung-fu style (sound effects and all!).
On my board, I wrote “I am not good enough”.
I had never acknowledged I felt that way about myself. After I broke the board, I became emotional but I felt free. I left the conference empowered; knowing that I could change what I believed about myself.
How do you get rid of this negative thinking?
Identify what they are. Self-limiting beliefs can sometimes reside in our subconscious minds. Determine how these beliefs came into our lives as well as the experiences which have supported such beliefs.
Journaling can bring them and the attached emotions to the surface. If they are linked to childhood memories, we may need to let go of specific experiences and forgive people from our past or even ourselves.
Be committed to the process. We have spent decades developing these faulty belief systems, so change will not come overnight.
Choose one self-limiting belief to work on at a time so as not to be overwhelmed. Examine an area in your life where you feel particularly stuck and start there.
Replace the self-limiting belief with a new one. Affirmations are a good way to do this. Write them down, place them where you can see them and say them aloud.
Truly believe what your affirmation states. Like deep down in your heart believe it.
I am good enough! I have what it takes to be successful!
Connect with it.
Act as if your new belief is true. Fake it to you make it as they say. This is not being phony or pretentious but truly challenging ourselves to become that people we want to be.
Remember, you are not alone, we all have self-limiting beliefs at some point in our lives. However, we can break free from these beliefs and live abundantly. To learn more about Balanced Living or our programs please connect with me by visiting https://www.facebook.com/DrKellyWoodMD/