“Change the way that you look at things, and the things that you look at change.”
What are negative beliefs?
Negative beliefs are the weird beliefs that you have that indicate that you’re limited in some way. For example, a negative belief might be that you think you suck at creative stuff.
Why are they the worst?
Following on from that example – if you believe that you have some weird limitation and are just not a creative person, whether it’s true or not – it will become true.
Some of your beliefs (e.g. I suck at talking to people) might be ever present. Some beliefs (e.g. I suck at creative stuff in general) are just there. They rarely come up, but you blindly believe them to be true when a relevant situation arises.
So today, we’re going to pull them our negative beliefs out in the open. (I’m going to take this chance to recommend You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. It has an ]chapter on negative beliefs that’s super enlightening.)
Feel free to watch the 21st challenge video for a recap of the below.
Your mini checklist for todays challenge:
I always recommend reading the step by step guide first, but today in particular – read the guide first!
- Identify your negative beliefs
- Determine what lead to the existence of the negative belief
- Determine what your lizard brain gains from holding your negative beliefs
- Poke holes in your beliefs
- Brainstorm different reasons for negative situations happening
- Create new evidence to support the opposite of your negative belief
- Celebrate yourself
Your step by step guide for todays challenge:
1. Find your limiting beliefs
Identifying your negative beliefs is about being self aware. When you feel anxious, stressed, angry, overwhelmed, down – be aware of what negative beliefs might be making you feel that way.
For example, every day you walk in to a job that you hate. You feel like crap, like you’re stuck and can’t get out. What’s the limiting belief that’s helped you get in to this situation? It could be a super simple limiting belief, like ‘I suck at job interviews.’ or way heavier, like ‘I’m incompetent and people don’t like me.’
Think of times or areas of your life where things are wrong, bad, crappy, and write down what limiting belief helped to make them that way in your notebook.
2. Determine why your limiting beliefs exist
Most of the time, you can pin point why you have a limiting belief. Answer the below questions to identify why your beliefs exist.
- Is there a particular thing that happened that made you feel this way?
- Was there a really emotional experience that contributed to this belief?
- Have you made up a story in your head that led to the creation of this belief?
- What assumptions have I made about situations that led to this belief?
Sometimes, your negative beliefs have a basis. You think you suck at interviews because you’ve done two interviews in the past where you went totally blank and didn’t get the job. That doesn’t mean that you will forever until the end of time suck at interviews.
3. Determine what your lizard brain gains from your beliefs
For example, if your limiting belief is ‘I suck at interviews’ – don’t fool yourself. Your lizard brain is getting something out of that belief. Your dumb belief is making sure that you never apply for another job and get stuck in the same, horrible (but comfortable) job that you hate for eternity.
Your lizard brain mainly wants comfort, security, routine and ease.
4. Poke holes in your limiting beliefs
Let’s acknowledge that these beliefs have festered for years. Sadly, you can’t get rid of them all in one go. But you’ve taken the first step and identified them. Now, you need to work at poking holes in your belief/s.
Look at the negative beliefs that you’ve written down, and ask yourself
- If I told this belief to someone who knows and believes in me, what would they say?
- If I worked on improving this aspect of myself, could I overcome this limiting belief?
- When have I done something that goes against the premise of this limiting belief? (Think of specific events that have occurred. This is important.)
5. Determine how valid the evidence behind your negative beliefs is
Your beliefs have all arisen from evidence. It might be false or just dumb evidence – but it’s still evidence that your brain uses when it wants to confirm your belief. Let’s look at the belief ‘I suck at job interviews’.
That belief is supported by
- The time you totally froze up when you interviewed for that job
- The time that you did an interview, managed to answer all of the questions (you thought at the time your answers were okay) but still didn’t get the job.
Think of reasons that these things might have occurred other than just ‘because you suck at job interviews’.
For example –
- You froze up because you didn’t didn’t prepare for the interview at all. (not because you suck at job interviews)
- You froze up because you got two hours sleep and had three cups of coffee that morning. (not because you suck at job interviews)
- You didn’t get the job because you were 15 minutes late to the interview. (not because you suck at job interviews)
- You didn’t get the job because they had an internal candidate lined up, and were only advertising as a formality (not because you suck at job interviews)
You need to take a fresh look at the evidence you’ve created to support your negative beliefs – because a lot of the time beliefs are based on false assumptions.
6. Brainstorm new evidence to support to opposite of your negative belief
Turn ‘I suck at job interviews’ in to ‘I’m kind of a pro when it comes to job interviews.’
And think of evidence to support the new belief. (It needs to be solid, actual evidence. E.g. ‘My supervisor told me last week that I was a natural at talking to people after sitting in a meeting with me’.)
- When you reached out for feedback after an interview, the interviewer told you that you were their second highest pick, and that you interviewed really well.
- You obtained your current job by going through a job interview and coming out on top.
If you’re struggling to think of current evidence, that’s okay. Think of ways that you can start to create empowering evidence of your new, better belief.
7. Celebrate yourself (and relax)
You’re not going to eliminate all of your negative beliefs today – it’s going to take a long time. But this is the start. Sending all of the good vibes. Negative beliefs suck.
Have a big mug of tea (a glass of wine might be more fitting for todays challenge).
I promise it will be a little lighter tomorrow.