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Those sneaky and persistent feelings of self-doubt and limiting beliefs don’t half hold us back. Causing hesitation, creating mental blocks and crushing our confidence. They make us second-guess ourselves to the point where we’re afraid to do anything new or different. The trouble is, that our inner world correlates and connects with what’s happening in our outer world. It’s difficult to thrive outwardly if our inner world isn’t an environment within which we can thrive.
Let’s explore a compassionate approach to overcoming our limiting beliefs and ditching self-doubt. After all, tough love hasn’t gotten us very far…
NOTICE THE LIMITING BELIEFS
It’s really important to notice our limiting beliefs, to recognise them and to acknowledge them. A limiting belief is a belief which constricts and restricts us in some way. It’s not expansive. It feels deflating. They can pop up out of nowhere but the very nature of them is that they’re like a giant red “stop” sign, telling us that we’re not enough, not good enough, to do whatever it is we’ve set our sights on. Some of our limiting beliefs will have been inherited and adopted from others as we’ve grown up.
They can sound like:
‘People like me don’t get to do things like that.’
‘It’s nigh-on impossible to make a living from writing.’
‘I don’t have enough time.’
‘Yeah, I’m definitely too young or too old to do that.’
‘I’m not smart enough.’
‘I’ve just never been any good at tech.’
It’s the shouldn’ts, the couldn’ts, the musn’ts. And, sometimes, these bring comfort because they let us off the hook of the really great and glorious we might feel inspired and aspire to do. We utilise them as evidence as to why we can’t do the things we feel drawn to. We talk ourselves out of applying for jobs, asking someone out on a date, learning a new skill, wearing certain outfits, asking for guidance, taking that class, writing those books. When, in reality, they’re mostly lies we tell ourselves or have been told. We can change and evolve and grow and learn.
When we start really noticing our limiting beliefs, we can be taken aback by their ferocity and velocity of them. Be kind to yourself during this process; it’s completely normal to have these beliefs – we all have them. Try to acknowledge them without self-judgement and remember that this is just the first step to getting past them.
PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION RELENTLESSLY
Self-doubt is often the doorway to a harsh and critical inner dialogue. Creating a loop of devastation in its wake. Tough loving on yourself won’t break that loop. What will break it is relentless self-compassion. The standards of kindness, patience, encouragement and understanding we provide to others, all the time. It’s okay to feel uncertain or doubtful at times. It really is. The key is to notice the limiting beliefs and self-doubt and to pause. In that pause, instead of falling into the normal loop of criticism, choose self-kindness. Choose self-forgiveness over self-punishment. Self-care over self-neglect. Self-love over self-hate.
REFRAME THOSE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Negative thoughts can fuel limiting beliefs, so it’s vital to reframe them into more positive and empowering statements. For example, if we find ourselves thinking, “I’m not good enough,” try replacing it with, “I am worthy of all that’s good, great and glorious.” By consciously changing the narrative, we can start to weaken the power of self-doubt. It really does work – when we’re told something repeatedly, we begin to believe it.
TURN TOWARDS THE SUN
We’re significantly influenced by those around us and their perspectives. If we have people around us who are “can do” then that’s infectious, it has us believing that maybe we can, too. The same can be said for those who are the “can’t do” types. They might dismiss or brush aside our ideas, plans and dreams because they think they’re unattainable. You can imagine – and have probably experienced – the disheartening effect their words and attitudes have.Ditching Self-Doubt: A Compassionate Guide to Overcoming Limiting Beliefs Click To Tweet
That’s why it’s so imperative that we turn towards the sun – the people who are warm, bright and uplifting. Those we feel topped-up by and who will encourage our endeavours and be there to pick us up should we fall. We can also take care of what we consume; does it fuel us in the way we need and want it to? Books, TV, social media, and our mentors, all have the propensity to lift us or set us apart from where we’d like to be headed.
CELEBRATE THE WINS
When we’re grappling with self-doubt and limiting beliefs, we can put our achievements down to luck. We forget to give ourselves any credit. It’s important that we reinforce the positive actions we’ve taken to realise a goal by celebrating the wins. No matter how small we might feel them to be. Remember that progress is progress, no matter how small, and acknowledging our achievements helps our confidence to grow and compound. It serves, too, as evidence against the self-doubt, that we can, in fact, overcome things. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.
LOOK AT FAILURE DIFFERENTLY
One of the biggest obstacles in overcoming self-doubt is the fear of failure. We’re so frikkin’ scared of it! Throughout our lives, we’ll have things that have gone to plan and those that haven’t. Arguably, there’s more growth to be had in the things that didn’t go quite as planned. Having to overcome obstacles, make changes, and learn from hard-won lessons, that’s all really useful information that informs our foresight. It’s crucial to reframe failure as a natural part of life and a valuable learning experience. Each time you face a setback, ask yourself what you can learn from it and how you can use that knowledge to grow and improve.
Ditching self-doubt and overcoming limiting beliefs is a never-ending piece of work, but with relentless compassion, clever reframing, and celebrating wins, we can make headway in a life that’s free-er from the constraints of self-doubt and limiting beliefs.
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