We all carry limiting beliefs that help us justify our actions, or inactions, in different situations. Maybe they protect us from people who are untrustworthy or help us fend off a predator. They might be there to ensure we are successful in each task we take on or help us rationalize when we make mistakes. Whatever they are, their initial intent was to protect us.
Sometimes, however, they stop us from reaching our true happiness or potential.
I learned something about myself over these last few weeks. It’s important for me to write this because it had a huge impact on me and my self-awareness. One of my limiting beliefs is that if I make a mistake, others will see me as incompetent or unworthy. Many people may be able to relate to this… When I really dug into this limiting belief over the last week, I reflected on where it even started.
Simple statements such as “you’re not smart enough” or “you’re not ready” led to this limiting belief becoming what it is today. We don’t realize how little words can harm someone however, most of us are holding on to those small statements that were said to us as kids. They may have been said on the playground by a trusted friend, or maybe by our parents in an effort to protect us from the harsh world that would eat us alive if we chased a seemingly unachievable dream or goal.
In my reality, people were waiting for me to fail so they can see how much I didn’t deserve what I have or what I’ve done with my life. The crazy thing is that I have spent many years justifying to myself why this limiting belief is still necessary. I would not try as hard to justify why my grade wasn’t the best, or I would procrastinate to rationalize why I shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Over the last few years, my focus has been on personal development. This started with becoming more self-aware of how I help and hinder myself through my actions and words. Each night I reflect on my day, what went well and what didn’t. Many people do this to help them learn from their mistakes and understand what does work in their lives.
I’ve come to realize that I spend way more time on my actions that didn’t work and have spent little, to no, time letting myself be happy for my successes. I justified my limiting belief that my mistakes make me be seen as incompetent or unworthy each night before bed… Why do I do that? How do I fix it?
I’ve started by allowing myself to understand that I’ve come such a long way in my life. Starting from nothing, I’ve created a family, a successful career, and completed multiple college degrees. None of that was done with little effort. I have to change my narrative. This means focusing on my successes and allowing my failures to continue to shape my growth while not allowing them to consume the day. It also means I have to work on forgiving myself.
While these are not going to be overnight changes, discovering such a huge area of where I have justified this limiting belief is the best way I can move forward. It’s also reminded me to be careful with how I speak to my kids and loved ones so they don’t hold on to something negative that can hinder them in their lives.