The Stories We Tell Ourselves
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We all go through life accumulating experiences, memories and beliefs.
Mostly the effects of everything we have done and everything we have experienced are pretty much unconscious. We act in certain ways because that’s the way we’ve “always” acted. We believe certain things “just because we do” without giving it any, or much, thought.
On a more conscious level, we tell ourselves stories about the things we have done and the things which have happened to us and it is these stories which can have a profound effect on how we think, feel and behave in the present.
The stories we tell ourselves become our beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of achieving.
These stories can begin with seemingly minor comments from a teacher or another adult which we heard as a child, perhaps a comment from a friend, or just somebody we encountered, about our body/ability/appearance. We often take these onboard and they can unconsciously become our beliefs about ourselves.
Of course, some of these beliefs might be ones which help us and give us the confidence to achieve our goals and that is good. However, others can become what is know as “self-limiting beliefs” which aren’t nearly so helpful – in fact, they can be quite the opposite!
Some examples of self limiting beliefs might be:
- I have to be perfect all the time
- I’ll never be able to achieve my goals
- I can’t do “X/Y or Z” because I’m not good enough
- If I don’t control “everything” then something bad will happen
- I’m “unlucky”
- Everyone else is “better” than me
- And many many more……
The trick is to become aware of the stories we tell ourselves and note the behaviours associated with them.
Where did these beliefs come from? You may or may not have an actual memory of this but you might well have an idea or feeling about it.
Have a think about times when these beliefs have actually been shown to be incorrect or false.
Spend some time challenging the beliefs and working out an alternative.
Practice and reinforce alternative, more helpful, behaviours. The more often you do this the more likely you are to succeed in changing your beliefs.
Remember that this process isn’t always easy and seek out some support if you need help along the way. My training in TimeLine Therapy ™ is a great way to help you to get rid of your self limiting beliefs. Just give me a shout if you’d like some help with this.