This topic of our beliefs is covered in chapter two of my book, You, You, Me, You: The Art of Talking to People, Networking and Building Relationships.
I wanted to take a deeper dive into how you can change the messages from your past to help pave the way for healthier personal and professional relationships.
Do you feel worthy and deserving of the best life has to offer? I certainly hope so!
However, many people do not feel worthy and have held onto to their negative beliefs all their lives. They might have been true at some time in your life, but are they still true today?
Our beliefs are engrained in us from the messages we heard from early childhood that carry us into adulthood.
One clear positive message I heard often from my father from when I was very young was, “Honey, honey, honey, of course you can do it.” Hearing him say this engrained it in my belief system. I still hear his voice today.
Sometimes our beliefs lift us up, and sometimes they hold us back from taking on a project, achieving a goal, believing in our abilities, or just feeling good about ourselves. We hold onto “I am not good enough (or smart, talented, pretty, etc.)” because we don’t understand that these beliefs have somehow become our truth. We hold onto the positive messages, but people sometimes hold onto the negative ones more. Those negative beliefs can be incredibly powerful!
I know that exploring the past can be daunting and painful, and there are memories you might prefer to forget. However, exploring those memories will help you understand more about yourself. Joseph Campbell, American Professor of Literature whose work covered many aspects of the human experience once said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
For instance, growing up I often heard I was too sensitive because my feelings would get hurt easily. I would feel so badly about a situation and then my father would say “Honey, honey, honey, you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.” The message I heard was that being sensitive was not a good thing.
Fast forward to adulthood where I am in a field where I help people, and I have found that being sensitive is an asset and a strength. I have changed the message about being sensitive from a bad thing to a positive one. It took work to change the negative belief of “being too sensitive,” but I’ve done it!
How did I change my belief? By listening to the newer messages people were telling me and watching how people were reacting to my being sensitive to their needs.
What if some of the negative messages you heard when you were younger weren’t actually true? Have you ever challenged them and asked yourself, “Are these really true? Even if they were… do they mean the same thing today??
One final example of how our beliefs can sometimes not serve us well is found in the journey to becoming a parent. I have heard many times, “I want to give my child what I did not have.” Maybe growing up they lacked affection, or material goods, or wish they could have attended an Ivy League University. Parents want to live the life they wish they had through their children.
It makes me think, “What makes the parent believe that their child wants what they didn’t get?” Don’t you want to give your children what they want and need? You cannot go back to your childhood to give you what you did not get, but you can give your adult self a variation of what was missing from your childhood. I believe that a healthier belief system makes for a stronger parent.
So, what limiting self-beliefs are you currently holding onto? And how do YOU know them to be TRUE?
- Do you want to stop feeling so badly about yourself?
- Do you want to ask to be on a challenging project?
- Do you want to feel confident during the next staff meeting or presentation?
Now is Your time to take some action with these steps one at a time.
- Uncover your limiting self-beliefs. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and be as honest with yourself as possible. It might be painful at first and it is a great beginning. Start by drawing at T on a piece of paper where on one side you write down all the beliefs you have about yourself – both positive and negative. On the other side of the T indicate if you believe them to be true or false.
- Understand the origin. This step will help you gain an understanding of how and why you have those beliefs. This is not about placing blame; rather, it will give you insight about where the things you believe came from. Ask a family member you trust to talk about your childhood with the intention of learning more of how you were raised. Steven Covey suggests that we “seek to understand.” This is good to remember at this step.
- Work on letting go at your own pace. Decide which messages you want to work on changing based on your list. Seek help, read books, listen to podcast, or even hire a coach or counselor who can guide you through the process. Be patient and loving with yourself too as this will take time to let go.
As children, we take in all kinds of messages that form our beliefs about ourselves and others. These messages help us develop our behaviors, habits, and our belief system into adulthood. As children, we do not have the whereabouts to understand the why or the tools to make changes. However, as adults you begin to understand yourself more deeply and life’s situations triggers some of those not so positive messages you heard from childhood.
If you have beliefs that are holding you back from having unhealthy relationships and situations in your personal and professional life, it is not too late to take responsibility as an adult. You are not responsible for what happened or did not happen to you as children. However, you are responsible for what happens to you as an adult.
Your life matters and you matter too. I have the utmost confidence in your ability to uncover and let go of your limited beliefs that has prevented you from achieving your greatness!