The truth isn’t out there, Scully
OK, forgive the reference to X-Files – but maybe now I have your attention …… My point is going to be that the truth is within you. Unfortunately many of us spend so much time searching for answers outside – that we neglect what is going on deep within us.
And quite often deep within us, there are lies that we tell ourselves.
Lies, that we believe to be the truth. Lies, that hold us back and prevent us from reaching our full potential and enjoying the happiness that we deserve. Lies that may have been “fed” to us many years ago – maybe when we were growing up – and that have become so deeply embedded within our psyche that we are not consciously aware of them.
And these lies may even have been told to us by well-intentioned people, who in there own distorted way, were trying to look out for us. But these lies formed the basis of beliefs that continue to shape our choices, possibly in a subtle and maybe sub-conscious way.
So, what are some of these self-limiting, dis-empowering lies that we might be telling ourselves? Some examples can include …..
- You’re not quite good enough, so you have to try harder. And harder still
- You’re not good enough – so don’t bother trying at all. That way you won’t fail or make a mistake
- Play it safe, or you’ll get hurt
- Don’t disagree – it just causes trouble
- Bite your tongue – or you’ll say something that people think is stupid
- You’ve got to do it right (a.k.a perfect) – or don’t do it at all
- You can’t be happy until it’s all perfect
- Measure your worth against others – and strive to be better than them
- You’re being selfish when you think about your own needs
- Say and do the right things – then people more important than you, will accept you and approve of you
- You’ll be happy and life will be good, only when you achieve / own ….
- Life is one struggle after another – that’s the way it is. So suck it up.
- You can’t change – this is just the way you were made
The list goes on. Lies such as these may have poisoned your self-confidence, created a fragile self-esteem or maybe caused you to look for acceptance outside of yourself. Or they may have undermined your ability to simply enjoy the moment and be happy with who you are and what you have. Those lies that have been told to you, and that you have repeated to yourself countless times over the years, have become embedded within patterns of behaviour.
The lie can all too easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy
How did this happen, you ask? …… Your mindset has a huge influence upon your expectations, emotions, choices and behaviour – which as a natural consequence, will more than often determine the results you experience in a given situation. As Henry Ford said “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”.
In other words, the lie can become a self-fulfilling prophecy that creates a poor outcome that simply reinforces the dis-empowering belief. The belief or expectation of “I can’t do this, it’s just not in me” creates stress and tension, which results in poor performance and errors which serve to reinforce the lie.
So, what’s the answer? …… What can you do, if you realise that you’re making decisions in your life, that are based upon a lie?
The Awakening – it’s time for a new pair of shoes
Well one thing that you can do, is own up to the lie. Recognise and admit to yourself that a belief that you have held in the past is not completely true for who you are now. Flushing out and bringing to your awareness this belief, which has become a form of quiet “self-talk” – and then beginning to question and refute it’s validity, is one of the first steps to liberating yourself.
It’s like a pair of shoes that you were given in the past, that you put on and worn around around for a long time, without even thinking about it. But now you have outgrown that old pair of shoes – and you’re going to choose something else that better suits who you are, or who you want to be and where you want to travel as you move forward.
But you can’t throw out a pair of shoes until you’ve replaced them with something else. So you must replace your old belief with a new one – a more affirming and empowering belief that will become a new way of looking at the world and re-shape how you approach and interpret new experiences.
Developing more self-affirming beliefs
For example, instead of what might have been an old way of thinking that if you made a mistake then you were a failure – so you didn’t try new things and played safe . You might replace this by shifting your focus to the learning that can be gained from any mistake – and reminding yourself that mistakes don’t need to be fatal, and that it is too harsh a judgement to equate mistakes to failing. Mistakes mean learning, and with learning comes more wisdom and progress. And progress leads to achievement of your goal. So your new self-affirming belief becomes one that congratulates yourself for having the courage to try something new!!
As you start affirming the new belief system, and to support the re-programming of your thinking, look for examples and evidence on a regular basis that serve to reinforce your new belief.
You will need to remain vigilant …… It’s all too easy to slip back into old comfortable habits. You can find yourself putting on those old shoes if you’re not careful. But the choice now is yours…… Do you wear what you were given in the past (perhaps by well-meaning people / parents / teachers / coaches) – or do you choose something different for yourself? And those new shoes can enable you to walk down a different pathway, if you decide…… A path that opens up many more possibilities – for fulfillment, happiness and achievement in your career, business or relationships.
Oh, and one last thing – to support your journey of self-improvement, try to avoid blaming the people who gave you those old shoes – ’cause chances are someone sold it to them in their past.
If you found this post triggered some useful insights or ideas – then please “like” or “share” it. Thank you.
About the author
Brian Carroll is the founder of the corporate training company, Performance Development
He is a psychologist by background and has more than 20 years experience working in the field of management development
He is passionate about helping people develop the self-awareness, mindset and skills needed to achieve their full potential.