So, as I was reflecting on one of my previous posts, How To Change Your Life When You Feel Stuck, I had an epiphany: I had missed the first and most important step: learning how to foster the belief that you can change your life in the first place, and that you deserve a life free of fear and full of abundance.
If you are one of the readers who skipped over my post (or skimmed it at best) and thought, “This isn’t for me, I can’t change my life or circumstances,” you are right. You can’t change your life if you are plagued by self-doubt or limiting beliefs. The ability to make those changes starts with you and your internal dialogue. You will never be able to rise above your negative self-talk unless you make a conscious effort every day to combat it.
Affirmations are a popular suggestion for changing the story inside your head. Do I believe in them? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I carry a strong sense of “I CAN do it.” with me wherever I go. Sometimes it’s really hard to hear that message, tucked away in my subconscious, and I have to dig deep to bring it to the surface. Often I use my pride or embarrassment to push through situations. Sometimes I pretend to others I can do it until I actually can. But once I get over the hump, I have another notch on my belt that affirms my “can do” belief. Bonus.
So how do you start? How do you begin to believe in yourself? How do you accept that you have the ability to change your life?
Fortunately, there are things you can do to shrink your self-doubt and the beliefs that are holding you back. Some of them might feel a little strange at first, but it will get easier with practice. Be patient with yourself. You’re literally teaching your brain a new way of thinking, and that doesn’t happen overnight.
Don’t let negative circumstances define your life
The first step is understanding that you may not have total control of your circumstances, but you do have a choice in how you react to them and what you do next.
- Have you ever met a person that has been diagnosed with cancer and they are so upbeat it makes you scratch your head?
- Do you know someone who was laid off from a really good job and somehow managed to parlay that into a better job or started their own successful business?
- Were you ever surprised to find out that someone whom you believe to be confident and gregarious had an awful childhood?
All of these situations have two things in common:
- Something crappy happened to someone beyond their control.
- And they chose to not let those bad circumstances define them or limit their potential happiness.
I’m not going to pretend it’s easy. It’s not. Learning not to wallow in crappy situations is extremely difficult. If strong feelings rise up, you should allow yourself to have that moment to feel your feelings. If you don’t, it will come back to bite you later. Feel it. Then decide to let it go. Set a time limit if you have to. If you are in the middle of a particularly tough situation that feels hard to escape from thinking about, you can even set aside a specific time each day to let those feelings come out.
It is far too easy these days with social media to invite others to your pity party. I’m not saying you shouldn’t share with your friends or family what has happened to you. You should absolutely seek out support if you need it. But when you are speaking with others or posting on social media, I do want you to be conscious of the language you choose and the purpose of the messages you share. Is it to allow you to stay stuck or are you actually looking for resources/suggestions on how to move past what has transpired?
Surround yourself with positive people
One thing that really helps me to be confident and believe in myself is surrounding myself with people who help me tackle my self-doubt and challenge me when I fall too deep. People who make me look for solutions. Whether it be in my personal life or my business, these people help me to choose my destiny.
If you are stuck, look around you. Is the company you keep allowing you to stay stuck? If they are, start seeking out people who will lift you up and believe in you, even in those moments when you’re incapable of doing that for yourself.
Dismantle your fears by facing them
Just because something feels scary or intimidating doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it! If you find yourself thinking up reasons why you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” do something, take a closer look at which fear is driving that thought. If you are plagued by thoughts of not being worthy or capable enough to have what you want, it means that some part of you believes this is true. Don’t Pollyanna your way around your true feelings by simply pretending they don’t exist. It’s not healthy and it doesn’t fix anything. You have to actually sit down with your fear to conquer it.
Just because you currently believe something doesn’t make it true. Start building the habit of questioning yourself when you have a negative thought about yourself or your circumstances. Ask yourself “is this actually 100% true?” Chances are, none of your negative self-talk is. Dig around in your head and find examples of times you did overcome challenges and succeed, or make a list of all the people in your life who do genuinely love you and believe in you.
When you think of something you want and your self-talk jumps right in to tell you that you can’t have it, try asking “why not me?” You are no less worthy, no less capable. If other people on this planet have or are doing the things you desire, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same. We’re all just humans, after all. And you’re no less valuable or worthy than anyone else. If you silence the voices that say you can’t, you’ll discover that you truly can be, do, or have anything you desire.
The happy, abundant, fulfilling life I described in the first post is possible for you, no matter what your circumstances are now. But it’s not going to happen – it can’t happen – unless you first take these steps to quiet the doubting voice in your head.