Perhaps you want to end a toxic marriage or relationship. Or you want a closer relationship with your children.
There are common roadblocks that often block the path to success in virtually anything you want to achieve.
Most of us carry around a variety of self-defeating core beliefs about ourselves. Most often, we’re are completely unaware that they exist, yet they unconsciously drive our thoughts and behavior.
Examples of such core beliefs often include:
- I’m not good enough.
- I’m worthless or unworthy of love.
- There’s something terribly wrong with me.
- I’m a selfish and bad person.
- If I fail or make a mistake, I’ll be labeled a failure and no one will ever love me.
- The problems in my relationships are the other person’s fault.
Such false beliefs, even though we are completely unaware of them, often cause us to act in ways that hurt our best interests and destroy the possibility of success.
For example, you might subconsciously believe that you must always please or give to others, even at the expense of your time and what’s most important to you or else you’ll be judged as selfish and bad. Which could then be followed up by “no one will ever love me”.
Or if someone criticizes you or ends your relationship, you might take it as proof that you’re worthless or unworthy of love.
While these common beliefs are always false, they can nevertheless be very convincing. They were handed to us from our parents and other family members, and from society including teachers, the media, whatever most influenced us at the time they were formed.
For example, perhaps your parents taught you that the world is a dangerous place, you should stay close to home and avoid what is unfamiliar and you don’t have the street smarts to handle yourself.
Or perhaps you were labeled as “the shy one” or “not a good student.” Talk about setting you up for failure, albeit unintentionally.
On top of that, you might have “learned” that you shouldn’t make people angry or that you’re not as “perfect”, as all commercials and advertisements seem to tell us.
When we carry around such core beliefs, our thoughts typically follow suit and drive our behavior. Examples of thoughts commonly include:
Jumping to conclusions. You think “I’m going to lose my job” after you heard that someone else was recently fired.
Instead, assess your own work performance and look at what you’ve achieved.
Overgeneralizing. I’ll never recover. There’s nothing I can do about this. It’s hopeless. I can’t do anything right. He or she is always wrong. Blaming others for your circumstances only gives away your power to them.
Instead, Look at the real facts objectively. Put your thoughts into perspective. For example, if someone disagrees with you, all it means is that they have a differing opinion.
Making assumptions about what someone else is thinking. My husband looks unhappy so he is obviously unhappy with me.
Instead, ask for clarification. For example, you might ask your husband why he appears to look unhappy.
Ironically, most if not all conflict results from failure to communicate because each person is experiencing “the facts” through their own core beliefs.
So what can we do to break through this process and transform our circumstances and relationships?
- Recognize that you have control over your thoughts and therefore, your actions.
- Be aware of your thoughts connected to any false beliefs and make adjustments. Catch yourself when thinking words like always, never, can’t, should, and shouldn’t.
- Understand that blaming others for your circumstances only gives away your power to them. Take back control by taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
- Listen to really understand how the other person views “the facts” and clarify his or her false beliefs.
The good news is that we can minimize our toxic and self-defeating thoughts and core beliefs. Most of all, don’t let them stop you from living the life you want and deserve.