We become what we think about. We’re who we THINK we are rather than who we REALLY are. Throughout our lives, we’ve accrued layers of beliefs through our own experiences and what others have told us about ourselves.
Our beliefs are the guiding principle of our lives. Our views, judgements and decisions are all based on what we believe about ourselves, our families, friends and what we accept as true about the world in general. They inform our behaviour, thoughts, and are the filter through which we try to understand the meaning of events. Beliefs can be empowering or disempowering depending on whether they’re positive or negative ones. And they can even become self-fulfilling prophecies!
We all have an inner critic within us – a harsh voice that judges our actions and thoughts. And that voice arises out of our subconscious whenever we’re thrown back on ourselves, or have to achieve something, or reflect on our abilities. But equally, we have another voice – albeit a quieter and less noticeable voice for some of us – which is known as the Learner, and this voice expresses kindness, compasion, praise and encouragement.
If you don’t want to keep sabotaging yourself by listening to your negative gremlin, then you need to acquire the ability to switch trains of thought between the inner critic and the ‘Learner’. How do you do that? By becoming aware of your thoughts and the negative self-talk which babbles on incessantly in the dark recesses of your mind. What’s negative self-talk? It’s all that criticism and judgement you vent upon yourself – e.g. when you start telling yourself you’re an idiot, or thinking you’re just not good enough. When you talk to yourself like that, you’re invoking the ‘Inner Critic. But when you say things like: “I’m getting better at this!” or “I look good in this colour “, or asking yourself “ what’s the most positive thing I can get from this situation?”, then you’re in contact with the ‘Learner’.
Negative or limiting beliefs are often imprinted upon us at a young age. Someone may have told you that you were useless, or that you’d never amount to anything and you may have gone through life believing that this is still the case and that it can never change. Maybe a teacher at school told you that you weren’t any good at a particular subject. Perhaps a parent didn’t praise you when you got 80% in an exam and instead, asked you why you didn’t get 100%!
Childhood is the time when a number of these beliefs are formed but they’re often not based on fact. Frequently they have their foundation on a childish perception of events as they happened at that time. Sweeping generalisations can be made at an early age about a single experience or by misinterpreting an event – simply because as children we don’t have a full awareness of the facts.
The quote I’ve used as the title of this piece – “Whether you believe you can or you can’t – you’re right!” came from Henry Ford, the American Industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company. He understood the powerful influence of negative self- talk. He’d learnt that if you believe you can, then you can, and if you believe you can’t, then you can’t. You see, every time you tell yourself “ I’ll never be able to do this or that”, you’re allowing your Inner Critic to rule your life and you’re sabotaging any attempts you make to change the status quo. If you really feel that you can’t do something, try asking yourself : “ Who can help me to succeed?” Do some research into people who CAN do what you want to do and find out how THEY think and how they help themselves. And then copy them! Or try working with EFT or EmoTrance on these negative beliefs, both of which are great therapies for helping you to make changes within yourself.
Know that it IS possible to change your beliefs. You CAN become empowered instead of feeling you’re the victim of fate. And if you don’t accept that’s possible, just think of the many scientific trials which have been conducted where people who were given a placebo pill got better – just because they believed that they would!!
You don’t have to get bogged down in the muddy fields of low self esteem. But how can you get yourself out of it? It’s simpler than you might think. For a start, practice AWARENESS of your thoughts. Every time you notice that you’re thinking negatively, change your train of thought to a more positive one. Try asking yourself : What would it be like if I could……” instead of believing in “I can’t” Start challenging those old, limiting beliefs. Believe that you CAN – no matter what you’ve been told. And who said they were right anyway????!!!
Once you begin practicing awareness of your thoughts, you might be quite shocked at how often you engage in negative self-talk and collude with your Inner Critic!! I know I was the first time I tried this!!! But don’t worry. Even though you can’t shift it overnight, you can still make a hefty dent in it and start altering those negative beliefs into more positive ones. Practice awareness, and you’ll get better and better at noticing what’s going on inside your head and start getting very accomplished at challenging the inner Critic, turning around any negativity and letting go of those limiting beliefs.
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your values
Your values become your destiny.