Positive Vibes — Limiting Beliefs
John: Kelly tells me more times than I would care to admit, “John, shut the refrigerator door; John, please take the bowl out of the sink and put it in the dishwasher like I asked you; John, I told you to pick up your laundry and put it in the hamper; John, clean up this bathroom” and the list goes on and on.
I realize she does not say this to me to hear herself talk. She genuinely wants me to help around the house. And my focus for the past week has been just that, providing support where I need to and just keeping my mouth shut; I also realize that these do not make me oblivious, lazy, neglectful or forgetful. These are characteristics, they are not problems. They are areas of improvement. And in no way do they make me a loser.
No, I may not be perfect, no one is. I may identify myself as a work in progress. But I do not identify myself as a loser. Years ago, I might have. Isn’t it funny how limiting beliefs creep into your subconscious? When you have confidence issues, or you make a mistake and someone calls you out on it, that all of a sudden becomes your identity and who you think you are. I am here to tell you that it is not true. You are not all the times you messed up when you were drunk, or acted the fool. You can change it right now. So do that.
Sandy, I also know that I worked with you for a long time and I had other coaches who I worked with that tried to get me through limiting beliefs, but what I found was that I became a parrot to their teachings, and could not break through the limiting beliefs until I listened to the voice inside myself, came to grips with who I am and what I have and said, “yep, I LOVE THIS guy.” It was then that I realized that not everyone will like me but the right people love me and I am great with that.
Sandy, for someone who is struggling with limiting beliefs now, what would you tell them?
Sandy: It seems to me John that what Kelly is asking you to do is be responsible for yourself and your living space. Isn’t that something they teach us in kindergarten? If you make a mess, clean it up. It’s a way of treating yourself, other people, and your surroundings with respect.
I don’t agree that when you do what she asks you are ‘helping around the house’. That phrase sounds as if it’s really Kelly’s job to do these things, but you’re going to ‘help her out’. Here again, it’s not Kelly’s job to take care of your home. You both live there so it’s a joint responsibility. If your son is home, it’s also his responsibility to do his part. “Helping her out” sounds like she’s falling down on the job and needs support, which is far from the truth.
Choosing to not do your part around the house is a choice. Every time you leave dishes in the sink, you make the decision to do that. There is no need to label yourself when you do this. We are all a work in progress, and it’s up to each one of us to decide how we want to go about that.
The only time I label myself is when I do something really cool, and then I pat myself on the back and appreciate who I am to have made whatever it is happen. There is no point in laying negative labels on yourself or anyone else, and it can be demoralizing and destructive. It’s important to always be proud of the amazing person you are, and acknowledge that to yourself daily.
You’re absolutely right that old negative messages from our childhood can control us as adults. We have to become aware of them and decide that they are not true. The way to do this is to look at the message and where it came from. Then look at the situation that spawned it and realize that it really wasn’t about you at all.
For example, if money was scarce in your family, you might have overheard your parents talking about how hard it is to get the bills paid. So you grew up thinking that money is always a struggle, even though as an adult you are financially comfortable.
Or if your parents or siblings said you were lazy, you might have let that define you, when the reality was you weren’t doing what they wanted you to do, so they put a negative label on you.
The important thing with all our beliefs is to look at them and see if they still apply. Do they support you or slow you down and make your life more difficult than it needs to be? They might or might not have been applicable when you were young, but as an adult your situation is different and the old messages might no longer fit.
We all need to remember that as adults we have the power to define who we are, and become who we want to be. Sometimes listening to old beliefs gets in the way of that, but we can always change them.
Please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom and experience.
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