We all have self-limiting beliefs whether we realize it or not. They are the thoughts that poke around in your head, such as “I’m not good enough,” “I’m too fat,” “I’m lazy,” “It’s all my fault,” and so forth. You know what I’m talking about.
Knowing your Self-Limiting Beliefs
This week is your opportunity to practice more awareness around your thoughts and to start to identify your common limiting beliefs. Start to pay attention to your self-talk. When you hear a limiting belief, take a moment to write it down. Keep a list of the recurring negative thoughts that you tell yourself. This activity will raise your awareness, as you may not even realize how many times you limit yourself in your thoughts.
The Turn Around
Next, take that list of self-limiting beliefs and turn them around into positive statements. For example, “I hate exercise” can become “I’m enjoying exercise more.” “I’m too fat” can become “I appreciate my health,” “I like my eyes,” or “My hair is glossy.” “I’m so stupid” can become “I can figure things out,” “I like my cooking, “I enjoy art,” “I’m good at dance,” and so forth. Negative thoughts can become automatic to you. Keep your list of new positive statements handy, as you’ll see how to use them in the next section.
A Thank You Journal
Has anyone ever written you a thank you note or email or text? Take those compliments and put them in a book. I take things that clients, friends, and patients have written to me and print them out and paste them into a work journal. When I’m having a hard time feeling good about my work or my contribution in life, I read a few of those and remember that I do add value to this world.
It’s a Choice
STOP THE SELF-LIMITING BELIEF LOOP
Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., a brain researcher who suffered a stroke, offered these insights into the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and our physical bodies. Hers is an amazing story, and I love her insights.
“Emotions release a chemical component in the body that lasts only 90 seconds. At that point, the chemicals have dissipated from your blood and your automatic response is over. If you remain in that emotion, for example, anger, then you are choosing to continue that response. Moment by moment you have the choice to continue along that path or hook into the present moment. Being in the moment will allow that feeling to dissolve. When someone approaches you with anger, you have the choice either to reflect that anger or to approach them with a compassionate heart. What most of us don’t realize is that we are unconsciously making choices about how we respond all the time. It is so easy to get caught up in the wiring of our pre-programmed reactivity that we live our lives cruising along on automatic pilot. With this realization, you don’t have to think thoughts that bring you pain. There is nothing wrong with thinking about things that bring pain, but it’s important to know that you are choosing to go down that thought path. Forgiving others and forgiving yourself is always a choice. Seeing this moment as a perfect moment is always a choice.”
Retrain your Brain
A thousand times a day. We have thousands of thoughts per day and they are most often negative thoughts and those thoughts repeat day after day. It’s what we’re programmed for. We need to survive as humans so our brain is looking out for danger, constantly. Retraining your brain will take a constant and continuous effort. Once your brain starts looking for more positive aspects in life, you’ll be happy you made the effort.
A Mental Exercise
Here’s a great exercise. On the weekends, there is no other work than to visualize your success and write down 3 things you did that day around Rest and Play. This is a great exercise to remind you to stop working and have some fun. If you’re like me and you own your own business, play can be a hard thing to justify. Work sneaks into all the little crevices of life. I’ll just set some goals on a Sunday. Answer some emails on Saturday. Have a quick call with a client on Saturday afternoon. It happens bit by bit and can take over if I let it. Fortunately, I have an child who reminds me to play and have some fun. Rest and play are part of a balanced life. So what are you going to do today that’s fun?