As we’ve previously discussed, limited beliefs are beliefs we have that are false and damaging. They tend to be subconscious things we hold true about ourselves. We may or may not be consciously aware of them, but they are there and holding us back from achieving our greatest heights of success. So how do we fix them?
- First of all, become cognizant of when they’re happening.
For example, if you’re at work and pass by a coworker’s office and then hear laughter, you might assume “They’re laughing at me.” This kind of thought distortion is particularly damaging. You are not a mindreader, and assuming x=y without being fully informed can lead to all sorts of hurt feelings and assumptions that are not based in reality. Become aware that you have had this negative and untrue thought, and fix it. “Just because they laughed after I passed by does not mean they are laughing at me. Assuming the worst of them reflects badly on me and on them, and I will try to think more positively about myself and them in the future.” Try to look for a cause of this false belief. In this instance, were you bullied in the past? It’s time to stop basing your emotions now on past experiences, and live in the now.
- Redefine the false belief.
If you have a false belief like, “I’m not smart enough,” try to define what smart means to you. Eroding the “evidence” you have for hanging onto a false belief that’s hurting you is a great step towards getting rid of it. What facts do you have that you are not smart? Try to “prove” the false belief. Base these things in facts, not feelings. Remember that just because you feel a certain way does not mean it is a fact. Challenge your facts. What does “smart” mean to you? Start questioning yourself. If it was a matter of not making the honor roll and your parents had high standards, remind yourself that a B average is perfectly acceptable, and that there are all sorts of kinds of intelligence. For instance, maybe you had a hard time with physics, but perhaps you’re the one people turn to for advice and support. That’s an excellent example of emotional intelligence. Everyone has their strengths, Now think of a time you felt smart, successful, or strong, and feel it with your whole self. Now say your new belief. “I am smart.”
- Create a new experience
This will disprove your false belief and set you up going forward. Say you feel you can’t do art because you “aren’t artistic.” Try going to a painting class. Realize that everyone has different talents and gifts, and realize that you are limiting yourself from trying your best because you have this negative belief that you are not artistic. Even if you aren’t happy with your first attempts, push yourself to complete whatever activity it is, and then do it again. Watch your results grow.
Taking the first step in conquering a false belief by challenging yourself to confront it is like planting a seed. You have to actually plant it before it can grow. From there, it has to be nurtured and tended. What first steps will you plant today? What kind of future will you grow for yourself?
You won’t know unless you try.