Many people carry around certain beliefs about themselves, which then shapes their identity and behaviour. If these beliefs are inaccurate or negative, this can be a very damaging cycle of thinking, that is difficult to break out of. However, no one is born with beliefs, and this is why they can be changed for the better.
Our beliefs grow from learned experiences, which can be unlearned. However, this is not an easy process, especially if you have lived with the belief for a long time; it grows into an internal narrative which we carry around in our heads, and it guides our actions, telling us what we can’t do, or assuming a negative outcome without even trying.
Challenge inner monologue
If the story you carry around about yourself includes presumptive phrases such as ‘I never manage to…’ or ‘this always turns out badly…’ then we will be conditioning ourselves to confirm our expectations. But that is just what they are; subjective expectations, not reality. It’s time to challenge the story, and take that first step to changing the script.
Sometimes, we can use limiting beliefs as a comfort blanket or crutch to avoid taking responsibility for our own lives. It can be the easiest option in an uncertain world to reach for a familiar script, even if that is negative. It is a handle to hold on to, even if it holds us back, keeping us in bad relationships, or jobs that don’t suit us.
Letting go of a familiar story, and taking responsibility takes strength and resilience. Yes, things might still go wrong, and this may be due to reasons beyond our control. What we can control is how we react to these events. We are not passengers in our own lives, we are in the driving seat, and we often have much more power and control than we realise.
Accept that you are not perfect
Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals, such as “I am going to earn a six-figure salary by the end of the year”, or “I am going to write a best-selling novel and sell the movie rights for millions.” Instead, plan out a job search timetable, refresh your CV, or make yourself finish a chapter of your novel every month.
Along the way, you will meet setbacks and failures, because that’s life and it happens to everybody. The key is not to retreat into your negative beliefs, but to find lessons in what you might have done wrong, and how you could approach it differently the next time.
The difference between a regular person and a highly successful person is often simply the fact that they never gave up, but looked at the problem a different way, and tried again. Once you realise this, it is daunting and unsettling, but also very liberating.
Write down your thoughts
If you are having trouble identifying just exactly what it is that’s holding you back, try writing down your thoughts when you are feeling discouraged and ready to retreat to your comfort zone. You might be surprised at what you discover!
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