“I can’t…, I could never…, I always…, I suck at…” are words that are pretty common and start the sentences that become our limiting beliefs. We have these thoughts, then say these words, and end up avoiding experiences that could enhance our lives. These excuses enable us to stay in our safe cocoons where we feel comfortable.
Even though we may want more in life, we avoid vulnerability by internalizing personal characteristics that we’ve either made up, or that have been told to us. And worse, we sometimes don’t realize that we are holding ourselves back. We’re our own worst enemy. In fact, we may even enjoy the attention that comes with receiving sympathy, or playing the victim.
For example, have you heard a single friend say “All the good men/women are taken,” and given them sympathy? Or have you said it yourself? Or how about, “I can’t quit my job, I have a family to support.” Heard this one: “You’re so lucky you’re good public speaking, wish I was.” If not one of those, we’re likely guilty of claiming other falsehoods that protect us from self awareness.
But here’s some inspiration: singer Ray Charles grew up broke, blind and a minority, yet gained great success regardless. He didn’t limit himself with sabotaging stories, and we can let go of our own limiting beliefs too.
Pay attention to your false stories, rethink them, and find opportunities to develop in that area. If you’ve grown up with these stories, then it won’t be easy. Start by eliminating the phrases at the start of this tip and replacing them with “I can figure it out,” “I’ll learn to be better at…,” or use the word “yet,” implying future growth, such as, “I’m not good at this skill, yet.”
Take action: Self awareness can be difficult, but definitely achievable. Here are some questions to help: What is a skill you’re not good at yet? Do you have a phobia? What success have you not achieved yet? Do you think you’re too old/young for something? Now figure out why, what stories do you tell yourself that limits you. Rewrite those stories to a belief that you can achieve greatness, and find opportunities to practice.
:: Inspired by Jen Sincero’s book, You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.
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