Your beliefs about the world, your friends and even yourself can be needlessly limiting you. As you seek for the abundant life, it’s essential that you empower yourself to be all that you truly can be. Take a look at your views and identify what needs to be changed in order for you to reach your full potential.
Determine Why You Think What You Do
One of the first steps in changing how you think is understanding why you have the opinions that you do. For example, if you think you can’t ever have graduate college or have a successful career, why do you espouse that view? Did your parents not go to college and you’re projecting their circumstances onto yourself? Did you not do well in high school and one of your teachers discouraged you? Does your current boss give feedback that makes you feel like you can never move up to a better position? Is there one isolated experience that shaped your beliefs or have you been creating such a view over the course of your entire lifetime?
Think about what you really want in life and identify what relevant limiting beliefs you have about yourself. If you think marriage is an unreachable dream, what led you to that conclusion? Are you discouraged by friends who have been divorced, something that an ex-boyfriend has said about you or personal feelings of inadequacy? Do you think that you won’t be able to actually locate someone with your same spiritual or religious views and life goals? Have you loved and lost or have you been too afraid to ever love? Get down to the real source of your thoughts.
Separate the Facts from the Unproven Assumptions
Think about the innermost desires of your heart and your go-to reasons explaining why your dreams can’t come true. Identify the top five or ten limiting beliefs that you have and write each of them down on a piece of paper. Go through your list and immediately cross out any entries that you logically know are untrue. Sentiments like “I can never get married”, “I won’t ever get a promotion” and “I’ll never be a good cook” are all falsehoods.
Now, go through your list again and ask yourself this question after you read each item: if my good friend in the exact same situation as I am were to come to me and ask for advice, would I tell them that she’s undoubtedly right about having this negative viewpoint? Or, would I tell her that she needs to have more faith in herself and that her dream is still possible?
As an example, consider this scenario. Imagine a good friend coming to your house with tears in her eyes, expressing her fear that “probably no one will ever love me.” As a true friend, you’re never going to agree with a statement like that. Hence, if you’d never agree to such a crushing and unfounded blow when it comes to a friend, recognize the need for not saying that type of comment about yourself either. One-by-one, review your list and cross off any items that need to be removed on the basis that you would never encourage a friend to say such a sentiment about herself.
Put Your Beliefs to the Test
If you’re being honest with yourself, you may not even have any entries on your list that haven’t been crossed out yet. If you do have a few entries still untouched, consider testing out your negative assumptions. If you think you’ll never be able to run a mile, go to the track and just start walking. Verbalize the maximum distance you think you’ll be able to cover and test your theory out by starting to round the track. Even if the end goal is to run, just begin your test by walking one step at a time. After you’ve given it your all, review if you really did exceed that initial estimate you set for yourself.
When you wake up tomorrow, try again and see if you can’t walk one step further than you did on your first time. Continue to test your walking endurance, adding a few steps more each day, until you’ve successfully gone a full mile. Now, try running for a little bit at the beginning and then walking when you get tired. Keep introducing a few steps of running here and there over the course of your daily exercise sessions. Even if you couldn’t walk a quarter of a mile on day one, you’ll likely be able to work up to a full mile run as long as you continue day-by-day working towards your goal.
Test out all of your limiting beliefs by seeing if you realistically can take the first step necessary towards reaching your desired result. If you want to be a comedian, maybe a good testing ground is simply coming up with a joke and telling it to everyone you know. Are you capable of remembering the punch line? Including you, did anyone laugh? If the answer to either is yes, then it’s time to cross off the corresponding limiting belief on your list because you just proved that the entry may not be true after all.
Take Control of Your Life
If you really want to change your limiting beliefs, all you have to do is remember that you’re the one in control. You have the power to take charge. You are not your past and you have the ability to create your own future. Although there are obviously circumstances that we can’t change, we can always use our agency to make the most of what still is in the realm of possibility. Decide today to trust in yourself, believing in your dreams and your ability to bring about the positive results that you so deeply desire. Work towards your goals and the true desires of your heart will become in reach. When you’re in pursuit of a worthy cause, never surrender and never give up.