Self-Limiting Thoughts Giving Your Power Away?
In my line of work as a therapist, I see most often that people struggle with their self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. Over the years I’ve started to put a list together of the beliefs I hear that, for each of the people saying them, indicate the ways they have been giving their power away to change their lives for the better. See how many of the following you can identify in your own thought patterns, so that you can shed a little light on how you are holding yourself back.
1. I have to ask others what I should do
2. I think a higher power decides who should get what
3. I don’t deserve to have dreams
4. I have to pay my dues before I get what I really want
5. I have to fix the details before I can pay attention to the big picture
6. There is only one person out there who will make me happy
7. If I say what I really want from people, they will reject me
8. I have to know what is going to work before I take action
9. If only they would change, then I could be happy
10. I don’t want to upset anyone else; it’s rude
11. I always take other people’s feelings into account before I say anything
12. I know how they are going to react no matter what I say or do
13. Nothing I do or say matters
14. I’m screwed!
15. I know what people think about me.
If you are familiar with these or some variation of these thoughts, the first step to changing your life is to simply acknowledge it every time they appear. Don’t try and do anything else at first. Just develop the awareness of how often they pop up. Chances are you may be surprised at how often they occur. Likely they have become so regular and familiar that you don’t even notice them. Like many, you’ve become so accustomed to their presence that you have taken them as reality.
The truth of the matter is that thoughts like these are born out of our experiences in life, and they are a survival attempt to make sense of what was overwhelmingly painful or scary for us. Trying simply to forcibly replace them with “opposite”, more positive thoughts or statements typically only works for a short period of time, but ultimately we default back to them.
The way to permanently change such self-limiting thoughts and beliefs takes time because we must first rip apart the brain connections that have served us through most of our life. We must first learn how to sit still enough in a place where we don’t know what will happen. Only then can we begin to see that the truth of such beliefs does indeed have exceptions that we hadn’t been able to accept before. The more we do this, the more we begin to realize that we have the power to change not only our thoughts, but also the experiences we have.