Our beliefs about ourselves shape who we are. Better have some good ones
Once we become aware of our faults, it can be all we are aware of
Do you remember a time when you weren’t acutely aware of your faults? How about when you were in a state of blissful ignorance of all your limitations and human oddities? I would imagine, if you can picture yourself, you are very small.
And if you can picture a time when you weren’t your own worst critic, I would be willing to bet that the ability to feel what that is like has left you. Think of something you don’t like about yourself. Physical, personality trait, perceived weakness, whatever. Now, try and imagine you don’t care, or you actually like it. Hard to do.
Once we become aware of our faults, it can be all we are aware of when we think about ourselves. It can shape who we are and how we interact with the world.
If we believe we are not intelligent, or that we are stupid, that can be such a limiting belief. We will view the world through that lens. Every time we ask ourselves if we can do something or not, we’ll run it through the “I’m stupid” belief, and guess what answer will come back?
How about we believe we are weird, or somehow not normal (whatever normal is)? Should I go to the party at the weekend? Eh, don’t think so, that’s for regular people.
How our beliefs affect us
We believe our limitations are as obvious to everyone else, as they are to us
Our beliefs about ourselves can propel us forward, or they can hold us back. No matter how they got there, they are set in the foundations of who you are, unchallenged and taken as fact. I guess when we become self-conscious of something, it’s hard not to notice anymore. And once we notice for a long time, it just becomes a default belief about ourselves.
Everything we do is viewed through the lens of our beliefs. We become hyper-sensitised to our faults, and ignore our positive traits. We believe our limitations are as obvious to everyone else, as they are to us.
We also have beliefs about others. These beliefs often come from comparing others with ourselves. If I am stupid, others are intelligent. If I am socially awkward, others find social interaction easy. If I am weird, others fit in. If I don’t deserve happiness, others are worthy. If I am anxious, others are calm and confident. If I am weak…
You get the picture.
Time to question your beliefs
If someone you loved had these beliefs about themselves what would you say to them?
If you feel you are not all that you should be, have a think about what is holding you back. Could it be your well-worn beliefs about yourself? How long have they been a part of who you are? Where did they come from? Why do you hold them?
Are they accurate? Are they fair? If someone you loved had these beliefs about themselves what would you say to them? What arguments would you make for them getting rid of their beliefs?
Here’s an experiment. Find a friend, someone who knows you well, and who you can trust. Tell them some of the beliefs you have about yourself. See if they are aware of them. If they do recognise them, see if they think they are fundamental to who you are. Try and do it with curiosity and compassion for yourself. You are just exploring.
Unless we shine a light on the beliefs that undermine us, and begin to question them, they will go on having free reign. Can you imagine the effect these beliefs have on your life? How about your relationship with others? Or, how are they holding you back at work?
Who would you be if you didn’t hold these beliefs?