Be Careful What You Feed On
What part of your beliefs create doubt and weaken you? What part of your beliefs create confidence and strengthens you? Let’s explore the underlying cause of these two questions.
We are complex creatures with complex minds. Thinking can be experienced as an internal dialogue. You can think and see different perspectives inside your mind without putting those thoughts into words.
The question is, do you recognize this? Are you awake to it? Do you realize your mind has different parts that often manifest themselves in internal chatter?
Everyone has these internal voices. We all “talk to ourselves” in our mind. When you can see this, you can begin to observe how your internal voices relate to what you consciously and unconsciously believe.
Two Types of Beliefs
Let’s look at two types of beliefs everyone has – self-empowering beliefs and self-limiting beliefs.
Self-empowering beliefs come from confidence. Believing you can do something opens your mind and opens you to opportunities. They empower you to move forward, to create whatever it is you wish to create in life.
Self-limiting beliefs come from fear and doubt. When you lack confidence, you can feel fear. It is well known in the field of neuroscience that fear causes the mind to narrow its focus and can severely limit your ability to think rationally. It shuts you down and keeps you from moving forward.
Self-empowering beliefs and self-limiting beliefs have multiple voices that want to be recognized and heard. To control them, you must first acknowledge they exist.
Where Do These Beliefs Come From?
When you understand your internal voices you can easily distinguish the parts of yourself that think or speak as a father or mother, a husband or wife, a brother or sister, a son or daughter, a friend or acquaintance, an older or younger man or woman, a boss or employee, and so forth.
Depending on what’s happening, one or more of these voices will influence your thoughts and what you say or don’t say, both internally and out loud. They influence your behaviors and what you do or don’t do. Each internal part of you defines what you believe about yourself.
For me, in some business meetings my “executive voice” may come into play, influencing my thoughts, words, and actions. At other times, negative voices vie for my attention, saying things like, “What gives you the right?” or “How in the world do you think you can do that?”
I named this fearful, Doubting Thomas part of me my “critical voice.” Sometimes it pops up and says, “Don’t make a fool of yourself!” This critical voice comes from or creates my self-limiting beliefs.
I also have positive voices in my mind, and I am constantly at work cultivating them to become a larger part of me. When I go out for a run as part of my exercise routine, I say, “This is good for me.” When I enter a race, I’ve developed a part of me that says, “I can do this.”
There are times when I get ready to speak in front of a group and I hear myself saying, “You’re going to be great.” Of course, good preparation helps, so I know my subject well. I welcome what I call my “voice of confidence.” This voice of confidence is a self-empowering belief.
The self-empowering belief of this “voice of confidence” did not come naturally. I developed it over time. There was a time when I would get in front of a group and be so nervous that if I did not have a lectern to lean on, I may have collapsed at the knees. How well I remember those times!
What dominated my thoughts back then was my self-limiting belief rooted in pure fear—the thought that I was going to fail and look foolish. I’ll admit, it was horrifying to me.
Public speaking can be the stuff nightmares are made of to some people.
Watch What You Feed!
The belief you feed will grow. Whether you feed a self-limiting belief or a self-empowering belief, it will become more powerful in its influence in your life.
Don’t make the mistake of feeding what limits you. It takes a little work, but feeding any self-empowering belief will add much to your life. Feeding your self-empowering beliefs provides the added advantage of weakening self-limiting beliefs.
How Can I Do This?
With practice and a shift in mindset, my public speaking critical voice shrank. Over time I replaced it with my voice of confidence. As I continued working on this voice of confidence in many areas of my life, my life changed radically. Sure, the old negative voices will linger at times. But now I can see them, call them out, and even thank them for trying to protect me. Then I allow them to fade into the background, while consciously bringing forward the part of me that has greater confidence and positivity.
I now know these negative thoughts were parts of my younger self, doing their best in their immature way. In doing so they perpetuated doubt and self-limiting beliefs. Their influence and control over me have forever changed dramatically. I now take control away from these limiting beliefs and continue working on strengthening my self-empowering beliefs as they serve me far better.
I leave you with a short exercise to strengthen belief and reduce doubt in yourself. Don’t rush through it. Give it some careful thought. Look at the following list and identify all the positive things that have been spoken into your life. To add even more value to this exercise, ask someone you respect to work with you on it.
I guarantee you, and they will absolutely love the result!
What positive things have each of the following said about you? List as many as you can.
Other individuals (friends, acquaintances, teachers, coaches, mentors, bosses, etc.)
Journal or otherwise capture each positive result. Use this list to begin strengthening your self-empowering beliefs to further enhance your life.
Now, go, take on the day with the confidence you have gained from this exercise, and build the successful life you desire!