One of the biggest causes of stress, is our limiting beliefs, which eventually turns into self-doubt. Essentially, limiting beliefs is the term used to describe that voice in our head that tells us that we aren’t good at or capable of something. Self-doubt is the result of our limiting beliefs taking over our lives over time.
When I was accepted into the Masters of Education program, I genuinely believed that they made a mistake. In fact, if it wasn’t for one of my professors, I wouldn’t have even applied. I was fairly methodical in my application process and I made sure that I had a competitive edge. However, I kept telling myself that I wasn’t good enough because I was applying before the two-year mark. When I got my acceptance letter from not one but both of the universities that I applied to, I was beyond surprised. My husband, who has more faith in me than I do in myself, kept telling me that I’d get accepted. I was so surprised that I contacted the professor who encouraged me to see if this was really true. She told me that as soon as she found out, she asked to be a part of my education process so that I would have a main (on paper) Supervisor and she would also consult. I was blessed to be supported by two wonderful ladies but that wasn’t enough. I was so scared, that I second guessed myself throughout the program and anytime I was praise, I downplayed it. When I was given advice, I thought I was doing a terrible job.
Why am I telling you this? I want you to see just how much energy I wasted on believing that I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t meant to be there. I was self-sabotaging. Can you relate to this?
For some people, a professional or academic limiting belief, if allowed to fester inside of us for a long period of time, can seep into our personal lives where we start to see similarities between these different aspects of our lives, which leads to more stress, and if not dealt with, anxiety and even depression.
Now this is a possible worse case scenario. We’re not all going to go through this, but we don’t want to let it get to that point.
While the above example is geared toward high school students and adults, limiting beliefs don’t shy away from our young ones. Many of them struggle with specific subjects or assignments that can lead to them believing that they aren’t smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, good enough or some other type of enough.
We, as adults, need to learn how to manage our own stress and teach our children how to do the same by practicing it in our lives. Children watch what adults do and emulate it. YES! Even teens! So, let’s really focus and work to move past our limiting beliefs. Know that this is not going to fix everything because these beliefs tend to creep up when we least expect or want them. However, you’ll have the tools to help you recognize and move past it. Together, let’s focus on the immense strength that we embody.
Let’s get started!
Have you noticed that negativity tends to surround us? I mean really! Think about it! When you turn on the news, how often do you hear about a good deed that someone’s done? It’s mostly about crimes and natural disasters. What kind of shows are trending? Generally, shows that are dark in nature. Let’s face it! Personally, I enjoy a good mystery, crime, suspense or something slightly twisted. It’s exciting!
So, what does this have to do with anything?
These negative messages, along with whatever we tell ourselves about ourselves tend to stick with us to a point where we internalize these messages.
So many of us, including myself, when we get stuck or scared, our first excuse is that our limiting beliefs stops us from achieving what we truly want in life. Yes! I said excuse because that’s exactly what it is. Limiting beliefs will always be with us. They’re not going away anytime soon. We forget though, that we have to ability and power to choose if we should dwell on them or pick up and keep going.
You might be thinking – hold up Charlotte. These limiting beliefs are so much stronger than me. They never leave me alone. I hear it in my head all of the time. I don’t know how to get rid of them.
Do you want to know my answer? Don’t get rid of them. Don’t run away from them. Let them be there.
Have I confused you yet? What I mean, is that it truly is pointless to try to get rid of them or run away from them because you can’t. It’s just not possible and it doesn’t solve anything. So instead, we need to address it.
Nowadays, there are far too many motivational videos that tell you how great you are without giving you actionable steps to help you. The ones that do provide you with those steps, focus on how to overcome limiting beliefs, as though it’s even possible.
Let’s face facts here. Limiting beliefs stop us in our tracks not because they’re stronger than us; it’s because we actively give them our power. How? When we choose not to see or create a vision of who we are and what we’re capable of. We are capable of far more than we believe of ourselves.
So how do you work with your limiting beliefs? It’s simple.
First, acknowledge that it exists. Better yet, write down your limiting beliefs so that you see it black and white. Then, walk away for a bit and just sit with it for a bit. I’m only giving you 24 hours though. Here’s why! If you don’t sit with it, that voice will get louder in your head, like a child who desperately wants your attention. If you sit with it for too long, you run the risk of dwelling on it. So set an alarm for yourself. 24 hours! That’s it!
Second, pick up another piece of paper and write down at least 10 things that you’re grateful for. It can be as mundane (but to me, delicious) as food, or as the beautiful flower you saw when you crossed the street or as big as landing a new job.
Third, on that same piece of paper, I’d like you to write down at least 10 of your strengths. If you have more, write those down too. We aren’t going to look at your weaknesses here. Do you want to know why? Your limiting beliefs have already taken care of that for you.
Fourth, look at your gratitude and strengths list. If you can find a common theme, circle it. Take immediate action by doing something that makes you happy or comes naturally to you. Look at what you can change and do in this moment- what’s within your control.
Note: For children who are going through a really difficult time, you may need to support them or provide them with examples. PLEASE don’t tell them what to write because it won’t be as meaningful to them. Give them suggestions or examples to help them generate ideas.
Finally, when you come across something that’s difficult, refer back to this list and know that you are capable. Take a moment to 24 hours to sit with it and then actively find the answer to the solution by doing some research or talking to those who excel in that area. Know though, that even though you may not have the answers or ability in this moment, with time, effort and practice, you will acquire it. You won’t be perfect, but who is? Right?
If you’re a teacher or a parent, I have some exciting news for you. I’m in the process of creating a community just for you where we can work on teaching our children bridge the gap between creativity, social and emotional learning, and social emotional equity. Join the waitlist as once the doors open, it won’t stay open for long – CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE WAITLIST or click the following image.
Thank you so much for joining me. I would love to hear about your progress in the comments below.
Remember to create experience and teach from the heart.
All my best,