Years ago, I used to ride to work on the bus with my brother in-law. One day, shortly after my father died, a fellow passenger boarded. As he sat down, he took a jam-packed key ring out of his pocket. The sound of his keys was a familiar one. Suddenly, without warning…I burst into a torrent of tears—bawling, “My Daddy had a lot of keys!” I tried to be calm, but others soon noticed my monsoon.
The keys didn’t cause my emotional outburst. It was the memories they stirred. Growing up, clinking keys meant my daddy was home. In those brief minutes, I relived my childhood joy and the painful reality that my father was gone. For all of us, the thoughts we attach to our experiences hold amazing power to trigger positive and negative emotions.
Last week, we examined our self-worth and identity by considering the question “Who do you think you are?” This week, our goal is to learn how to deal with the answers we find—this requires tackling our limiting negative self-perceptions head on. Let’s start by asking, “Where did this thought come from?” Unchecked, these thoughts can drive our lives in unwanted directions.
On the journey to our dreams, we will encounter limiting beliefs that constantly tell us what we can’t do. They must be exposed for the untruths they are. It is also crucial to recognize that we develop limiting beliefs to protect ourselves from future pain and disappointment.
Limiting beliefs garner their power from the experiences that birthed them. The experience validates the belief and in order to dismantle it, we must re-examine and reframe the experience. Consider the following steps to deconstruct these defining moments:
1. First, Examine the Root: The life of a tree is in its roots. You can cut off branches and prune leaves endlessly. Despite all your work and effort—they will grow back. If you want to kill it, you must destroy the root. The same is true of our limiting beliefs and perceptions. We can try to ignore our negative chatter, but the only way to silence it is to face it.
Identify the experiences undergirding your beliefs. Examine when you allowed the seeds of self-doubt to be planted. What were you doing? Who were you with? How did the experience make you feel? What made you choose the belief that you did?
2. Next, Reframe Your Belief: To reframe a belief is to intentionally choose another perspective. I once coached a client who struggled with defensiveness in her marriage. The root was her verbally abusive father. Determined to have a different life, she thought accepting correction made her a doormat. She resisted feedback because it made her feel worthless. Together, we worked on reframing her attitude so that she could distinguish the difference between criticism and constructive feedback.
We will overcome our limiting beliefs by finding new paradigms for viewing our past and present experiences. We must view life from a perspective that will help us think our way to the life we desire.
Do the work:
1. Using your answers from last week’s exercise, select a negative belief and identify its root.
2. Next, begin to reframe it. Start by detailing the “proof” you have for your current belief.
3. Next, detail other possible ways of viewing your past experience. For each possible option, state the new belief that comes from a new perspective.
4. Choose the one that best resonates with you and write a reframe for your belief!
Join me next week as we work on reprogramming!
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Follow her on Twitter for updates regarding her newly released seminar THRIVE! 7 Strategies for Extraordinary Living DVD and CD.