Last week, we talked about thoughts. This week, I want to talk about how those thoughts inform beliefs. There’s a strong connection between what we allow ourselves to think (yes, allow ourselves) and what we believe. And like so many other things, most of us don’t stop to think about it very often.
Self-Talk is Powerful
Dr. Shad Helmstetter was the one who made this most famous with his line of books on self-talk. I’m a big fan. When we think something over and over, it becomes a belief. If you want a different belief, you have to say different things to yourself. The simplicity of the idea is so appealing. But as anyone who has actually ever tried putting that into practice knows, it’s anything but easy to do.
For a long time, I thought to myself, “You’re not smart enough to figure this out by yourself.” For that same amount of time, I believed it. Whatever “this” was in the moment, that’s what it applied to. If you had asked me directly if I thought I was smart enough to figure things out, I would have laughed. I would have replied with some level of snark that my life up until that moment would prove that I was.
But I would have been lying to you. Because I didn’t really believe that.
It wasn’t a belief I shared out loud. It wasn’t one I even consciously admitted to myself. But it was powerful and present all the same.
Where did that belief come from?
Only once I was willing to take that thought apart and examine it did I realize its origin story. My dear mother had never believed herself smart enough, and she unwittingly passed it on to me. I thought about all the experiences of life I had survived and thrived in. I thought of all the obstacles and challenges I had overcome.
I said, “F*ck you, belief.” And left it. And lived happily ever after.
Well, not exactly.
Just the last statement though. The happily ever after part. I’m still a work in progress. Because this stuff requires effort and intention. Those beliefs come from your thoughts. You have to be willing to get down and dirty with the origin stories of those thoughts. And when you find ones you don’t want to allow to be beliefs anymore, say goodbye and get intentional about creating new ones.
C’mon. Don’t leave me out here doing this hard work alone. We can do this. What beliefs about yourself do you want to embrace?