Limiting beliefs are slippery things.
In my last blog, I wrote about what limiting beliefs are and how they can affect your actions. You may even be unaware that your thoughts are holding you back from becoming who you want to be! Most of the time we don’t even know we are thinking thoughts that keep us stuck in our limiting beliefs.
The truth is that what we say to ourselves over and over is what we eventually believe. It’s interesting that the thoughts you think don’t even have to be true to stick in your mind. If we tell a story to ourselves (or to others) often enough, we will begin to believe it. You’ve probably had the experience of talking with your parents or somebody you have known a long time when they tell a story that you KNOW never happened. Are they lying? Maybe. But it could be that they have told that same story so many times that they now believe it’s true! That same principle works when we tell ourselves stories that may or may not be accurate. They turn into beliefs that can limit us. In other words, limiting beliefs are born.
Becoming aware of your thoughts is the first step toward freedom. But what if you become aware of them and then can’t stop them? Rumination is a real problem with many of us, and this is especially true when we feel that we have somehow messed up. We might shake our heads and say something like, “How could I be so stupid?” Your subconscious only hears, “I’m stupid.” Before you know it you are ruminating about being stupid. Soon, you are wasting your time and energy worrying about ideas that may not even be true!
How do you stop this runaway train? Below are five strategies that you might want to try.
- Notice when you start to do it and say, ‘STOP!” Switch your thoughts to something else.
- Visualize a happy scene that you will replace the ruminating thoughts with. It could be a memorable spot from a vacation, a comforting space in your home, or a special time that you had with family or friends. You can choose the pictures in your head as well as the stories in your head.
- Remind yourself that actions follow thoughts. What you are thinking about will come out in your behavior.
- Get busy. That closet that has needed to be cleaned for a long time might just be the diversion that you need.
- Set a timer. Allow yourself to empty all the negative thoughts for two minutes. When the timer goes off, your thoughts get turned to a more positive spot.
Sometimes we make this process a lot harder than it needs to be. It is important to remember that the stories in your head are just stories and they probably aren’t going to create their own happy endings. You are the author of the words and ideas in your mind. Decide right now to take charge of those stories! You can do it! You just have to be intentional with your thinking and decide to live positively, especially when limiting beliefs try to pop into your mind!