The Ultimate Guide To Recognizing And Conquering Crippling Beliefs

The Ultimate Guide To Recognizing And Conquering Crippling Beliefs

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Image Credit | Mike Foster

Do you know that feeling?

That urge calling you to do better. To establish firm goals and go after each in a predestined, unfaltering and decisive manner.

But something holds you back.

You can’t quite put your finger on it, yet something inside you is stopping you from manifesting the greatest version of yourself.

And while working out this problem, life is passing you by.

But it isn’t your fault.

Schools, parents, and peers don’t teach you the inner workings of the mind — the device responsible for your most spectacular successes and ugliest failures.

You see, most often than not, the way you think about things is the root cause of your unhappiness.

 

The biggest liar in the world

Your mind is undoubtedly brilliant. Though it has a dark side.

Whispering in your ear, moment after moment, telling you things you wouldn’t even tolerate from your worst enemy.

It can behave like a paranoid schizophrenic, convincing you that everyone is out to get you, you’re not good enough and you must change who you are to fit in.

To top it off, all the proof is there of your inadequacy. You find it difficult to connect with people, you’re in a job that sucks and you keep making silly mistakes over and over again. Sure signs of failure.

There comes a point when you can no longer separate yourself from these “truths” – you are one with your beliefs. That’s when you stop trying to make meaningful change in your life.

But listening to your mind is like living with a liar. The internal chatter becomes so overpowering, it’s almost impossible to recognize that thoughts are only words the mind strings together at any given moment.

The good news? It’s never too late to cut through the fog, flip your unhelpful beliefs and create a life of success.

“If one can only see things according to one’s own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb and blind.” – Robert Anton Wilson

Canny ways to uncover your limiting beliefs:

  • What’s your body telling you? What thoughts go through your mind when you have tension in your stomach? Your mind and body are connected, and even when your mind blinds you, your body will be a better place to look for answers. I had stomach pains for many years, but I accepted them as part of being anxious most of the time. Had I listened to my stomach earlier, I could’ve explored the reasons behind the constant churning.
  • What do you avoid? Things that you’re afraid to do can point to your stubborn, unhelpful beliefs. I don’t mean you have to jump off a bridge with a rope attached to your legs if you’re terrified of heights – though you could try that too. What I’m saying is that you habitually stop doing things you think are hard. Maybe you’re asked to give a presentation and your immediate reaction is to refuse it. Go in and explore why you reject this. Often what you most avoid is what you should be doing to progress.
  • Who offends you and why? People who hurt you can act like a mirror giving a glimpse into underlying beliefs you hold tight. Your friends will rarely point out your blind spots. I’m not suggesting the offenders are right; instead, think of those as areas where you can make improvements in your attitude. It doesn’t help you to be angry and bottle up emotions against someone else. These emotions can indicate that you need to ease up some feelings when someone says the wrong thing to you. Your anger won’t hurt them. It only harms you.
  • Can you stare at a wall … and do nothing? Most people are unable to do it for long (unless they’re experienced monks). I guarantee, even before 10 seconds pass your mind will jump into as many different ideas, worries and concerns. Which is an ideal opportunity for taking note of the chain of thoughts your mind created in that short time. And most of those sub-conscious thoughts will have an unpleasant undertone as studies have shown, because that’s the way minds work. So don’t be surprised of what you uncover.

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The art of taming unhelpful beliefs:

So you now have some ideas about what those negative beliefs are, but how do you get rid of them? You don’t actually have to. It’s enough to turn the volume down on them to lessen their power over you.

  • Say, “Hello.” Receive your negative thoughts, beliefs and feelings with open arms instead of fighting them. Acceptance does not equal defeat. It’s more like a friendly acknowledgement. Once you’re better at recognizing your thoughts and beliefs, you can give them a little nod, as if to say, “Yes, I can see you’re there.” But they don’t have to bother you.
  • Don’t take them seriously. You can try not taking negative blabber seriously. Since laughter is the best form of medicine, do what it takes to ridicule them. Repeat troubling phrases in your head in a funny voice (Yoda is my favorite). Or try recording your most intrusive phrase, like “I’m not good enough” for about five minutes to a recording device. Then re-listen – if you can bear it for that long, you’ll understand that these are merely harmless words repeated over and over again.
  • Join a community. Find a support group (online or off) – the type of people whom you aspire to be. They’ll soon make you realize that your most precious beliefs could be just fantasies. They’ve been through where you are now and know the shortcuts to overcoming your problems. They’ll inspire you and show you how to thrive in your skin. There’s no easier way to grow than by taking advantage of the power of an experienced group.

 “Limits, like fear, is often an illusion” – Michael Jordan

Transforming the noise into action

Your mind will always try and trip you up, no matter how self-developed you are. That’s the nature of minds.

But you can outsmart it by staying one step ahead and understanding its workings.

Every day, you have oodles of chances to acquaint yourself with the real meaning behind your sub-conscious thoughts.

Knowing how to catch the unhelpful chatter and turn them into a source of power will help you fling into the orbit of change and onto a rich life that’s worth living.

And there isn’t a more ideal day than today – so you’d better get started.

 

28 COMMENTS

  1. hi – im the proud volunteer chairman of a grassroots football club in cheshire england – its the little negative comments that always push me over the edge – i need to get rid of my fixed mindset on everything – love the funny voice idea “words will never hurt me”
    Im actually really positive most of the time – i need to focus on fewer things & do them better & just listen to the odd negative & turn it in to a positive

  2. Hi Andrea!

    That was a really wonderful post with a lot of deep insights. It is interesting how our sub-conscious can trick us and even lead us to sabotage ourselves.

    I love the idea of starring at a wall. I will definitely try this 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, Ilka

    • Hi Ilka,

      Thank you for taking time to comment.

      The subconscious can be both a source of pain and the vehicle to guarantee our success. Once we are aware this, can we use it to our advantage and achieve goals we never thought was possible with a previous mindset.

      Best,
      Andrea

  3. great read! I especially love the part about exploring why you want to refuse something, and finding what the real problem is. That’s so true, for me. Often when I don’t want to do something (a presentation, a meeting) it’s because I’m not confident in my knowledge. When I truly know a subject, presenting isn’t a problem….there’s no fear because there’s no unknown. Great work, Andrea! Keep it up.

    • Thanks you Ashley! Yes, I found that to be very true about resisting certain things. There’s always a reason for that and it’s better to look into it and asking ourselves the (sometimes painful) question of what really is the source of problem here…. It is rare that people achieve their goals without going through some kind of discomfort in the process. I’m learning to get on with things, however hard they may seem 🙂

  4. Really, really useful tips on a universal problem. I love the silly voice idea – have used that often in the past – I use to try and listen to what my ‘inner voice’ was babbling about but it scared the hell out of me, so now I’ve got a retraining order on it – if it comes within 100 feet, I call the cops.

  5. The mind-body connection that you talk about is so true. It is only now that I realize the power of it and work to understand why I’m feeling a certain way instead of simply worrying or doing “whatever it takes,” to avoid it. I’m not always successful, but I am always glad I’ve tried. Thanks for the great article.

    • Nice to see you here Kim 🙂

      Yes, we have to keep trying. It’s better to get a handle on these thoughts and emotions than let them handle us!! The good thing is that it becomes easier with time, and once you understand their workings.

      Thanks
      Andrea

  6. Andrea, amazing! I’m inspired to think of our minds having a dark side and that listening to our own minds can be like listening to a liar! Now there’s a scary thought.

    I love the idea of exploring why we reject certain opportunities to see what we can find. Areas for improvements, perhaps, or at least conscious recognition of something that deeply concerns us. As you put it so well: acceptance. There’s a sense of empowerment that comes with that and also not taking the negative blabber, as you call it, so seriously.

    For me, the most exciting insight (and affirmation) is surrounding ourselves with the people we aspire to be: those who have trodden the path and know the territory. Those who know how to outsmart the mind and overcome limiting beliefs with ease (great choice on the Michael Jordan quote!)

    I’d go further to say that the sooner, or younger, we do what you suggest, the better our chances of outsmarting the negative self-banter of the mind and the more powerful we become.

    Here’s food for thought: if the ideas and suggestions you share here were offered to young children, what may their chances of greater success be like in adulthood?

    Inspiring stuff, thank you!

    • Thank you for your wonderful comment Rob. 🙂

      Indeed, by the time we reach adulthood, we should be all equipped with recognizing when the unhelpful beliefs take over. Alas, a lot of us aren’t even aware of these powerful subconscious trends that define our every being.

      Cheers,
      Andrea

  7. “Often what you most avoid is what you should be doing to progress.” I really wish you were wrong about this, so I could continue avoiding certain situations (particularly social ones), but you are so right! Even as I say no, there is a little voice telling me that I need to say yes. But, I stomp out that voice and feel relieved that I have avoided discomfort. Really must work on pushing through the discomfort!

    • Hi Nicki,

      My answer to that would be, you have to make yourself push through the first few occasions. Then there will come a time when you start thinking “What was I worrying about?”. I can think of lots of times when I was terrified of entering a situation, but I actually enjoyed the process. I wouldn’t have known that if I carried on avoiding it. I’m afraid to say you can only do it by taking action. But once you start doing it and you build up enough momentum – you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing some bigger challenges you set.

      Thanks for reading and I hope that helps 🙂

  8. Great post, Andrea!

    Our brain gives birth to our beliefs, both positive and negative. If we do the hard work to change our limiting beliefs into beliefs that support us, we can become limitless!

    For starters though, I’ll settle with turning down the volume of the unhelpful beliefs. Acceptance and community seem like brilliant strategies for doing so. Like you said, I better get started.

    • Thanks Debashish, and precisely! We are in charge whether we give power to the beliefs that hold us back, or choose to allow those to surface that help us ultimately. I love the idea of growing with a community too – you can make results manifest so much faster than if you were to create those on your own. 🙂

    • As human beings we are gifted with ability to change our thoughts/behaviors and therefore our perceived limits. Good luck with proving your inner critic wrong Newton!

  9. Great article Andrea. I especially like the point about checking in with your body. I often find I have tension in my shoulders in certain situations, and it’s a message that usually points to feeling tension about the person or situation for some reason.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment Ellen. The body has so much more wisdom than we can explain in terms of science – I guess we can intuitively feel what is wrong if we really tune into and get familiar with these bodily signals.

  10. Hi Andrea,

    Great article!
    I like especially that you address negative beliefs, like so many of us have, and how do you get rid of them?

    Cheers
    Wilfried

    • Hey Wifried,

      It’s funny you know only the other day I was talking to a friend, and we were discussing how so many of us are even unaware of these negative beliefs inside our minds. Shows how powerfully the mind conceals this from our very own eyes. So yes, locate them first, then you can start dealing with them!

  11. Well done, Andrea. You’ve provided life-changing advice in a straightforward, sensible way.

    I’d sum up as “Don’t always believe what you believe”! So my meditation teacher says 🙂

    • Thanks Lynn. I agree with your meditation teacher, though one of the hardest things to do! After all, it all seems so real… and that’s what’s so scary about it. 🙂

  12. Thanks a lot for a great article.
    I really needed this advice… Acknowledging and accepting the limiting beliefs before taming is the most important.

    Thanks again.
    Tejaswi

  13. Thanks andrea for sharing the article…..since few days i was reading the articles about the subconcious mind and how will it work in shaping our believes …this articles a simple with nice understandable examples…i liked the way you presented the article…

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