Are Defeating Self-Beliefs Your Safety Net?

Old defeating self-beliefs: everyone has them. You know those little voices that say “I can’t”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not lovable”, “I’m scared”, “I’m weak”, among other things? Well, I’ve recently decided to work on identifying mine and getting rid of them.

I can't do it. I'm not worthy. Nobody Loves Me. I must be perfect. I'm not good enough.

Through a mental exercise, working with a mental skills coach, we pictured that all the information about each one of my defeating self-beliefs was written in a book. Then, we took each “book”, and burned it. But somehow, on some days, I go back, sift through those ashes, and find remnants of those books that I want to desperately piece back together and hang on to. I want to hang on to past experiences and beliefs that keep me small. Why?

My Safety Net

I think it’s because there is comfort in the old and familiar, even though it’s no longer serving me. Staying limited by those old self-beliefs sometimes feels safer than spreading my wings and stepping out of my comfort zone. It feels safer than facing the unknown and taking risks. Yes, there is safety in the “I can’t” and if we’re not careful, it can easily become a crutch. Every excuse from our past (or present) is then used as proof that we shouldn’t (or can’t) try.

The problem is that, while they may help us feel safe, holding on to those old defeating self-beliefs also prevents our growth. If we don’t really believe that we can, even if we go through the motions, we’re limited to a mediocre performance. Believing in ourselves and doing all the necessary work to reach our dreams, means taking risks, including the possibility that we may fail. But haven’t we already failed if we don’t even try or don’t give it our best effort?

I can

With that in mind, I have decided to face my fears and really let go of these old self-defeating beliefs once and for all. I’ve had enough! I refuse to let them hold me back anymore.

Faking it

Something that seems to be working for me is pretending that I don’t have them. Some days, I can even pretend to be someone who inspires me if that works better. I’ve heard many times the expression “fake it until you make it”. I’ve wondered before how that could possibly work. It works because when I pretend to be confident and strong, for example, those are the thoughts in my head that I feed. The more I feed positive thoughts, the more they multiply and the more they become a part of me, instead of the old self-defeating beliefs.

Are you holding on to self-feating thoughts? If so, which thoughts will you decide to feed today?


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2 thoughts on “Are Defeating Self-Beliefs Your Safety Net?”

  1. I can definitely see where self-defeating beliefs limit us, hold us back… what about re-framing the belief, or finding a liberating truth? If we can’t outright reject it, can it be replaced with something that empowers us?

    1. For sure! In my case, one of my self-defeating beliefs is related to never being a good athlete as a kid. I was always last to be picked for team sports and always struggled to get a good grade in phys ed. So, my core belief regarding sports is that I’m not a good athlete and I’ve got years of experience backing that up! 😉

      My recent successes as a runner are now challenging that belief. Slowly and slowly, I think the belief will be changed, but it takes time. As I get more and more positive experiences as an athlete, I believe that slowly, they will reprogram the sports related core belief in my brain into a positive one (the good experiences will eventually outweigh the bad ones). In the meantime, pretending that I was always good at sports (i.e. I don’t have the experiences related to the self-defeating belief) or pretending I’m my coach while I train or race (who was always good at sports and running) is the way I’m working around my self-defeating belief. Building up an alter ego is also a similar to work around it.

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