How To Beat Negative Self-Talk and Limiting Beliefs
A little self-criticism is a normal shared human mental pattern, and can even be healthy for the most part. But, we can also just as easily open the door to that overly vocal “Negative Nelly” voice in our head. However, if your negative voice is preventing you from doing what you want or need to do in your life, then it has to get booted out the door. This kind of mental chatter has no right to set up shop in your mind.
Deeply held negative beliefs, especially when they’re firmly rooted in your unconscious, stress you out, damage relationships and can greatly limit your potential for health and happiness. If you’re sick of having the same old pessimistic conversation with yourself, then be sure to try some of the ideas I’ve outlined in this article on how you can shift away from this damaging mindset, and finally release yourself of these limiting beliefs.
What are limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are the little, but persistent voices that convince you that you can’t be or do or have something due to a perceived inadequacy in some area of your life or personality.
Your negative self talk usually goes something like this:
I won’t ever be [this]…
I can’t do [that]…
I don’t have [this]…
I don’t deserve to be/have [this]…
And, one really common one that comes up for many people…
I am not good enough.
Let’s change up the narrative you may have been having with yourself for a very long time!
Overcoming negative self-talk and releasing limiting beliefs
Your limiting decisions have shaped everything you do, and they have likely prevented you from seeing opportunities and maybe even discouraged you from trying some things at all. The good news is that it’s totally possible to permanently change a long-held belief — even the ones that are lifelong.
You only perceive what you believe, so your beliefs shape the very world you live in.
But, when your limiting beliefs come into question, your whole world can experience a shift for the better.
Here are a few ideas to help you silence your inner critic for good!
When you find yourself feeling “stuck”, or repeatedly spinning your wheels on the same speed bumps that life might be throwing your way, it’s always a great idea to seek out the help and guidance of a life coach, counselor or therapist. I am a big proponent of going to see a therapist. It’s definitely scary at first, but therapy is not just for “other” people.
Some of the most emotionally and mentally healthy people I know have been to counseling. And yes, I have gone to counseling too. You can find a great online therapist here or do a search for providers in your area. Too overwhelming right now? That’s OK. Call up a trusted friend and let them know what’s going on. When other people know what you are struggling with, it makes your burden a little lighter. This also gives your loved ones the opportunity to speak truth into your life – sometimes, we need to hear it out loud from others. Accept what the people you trust have to say. You’re not just looking for praise or affection. You’re being vulnerable and opening yourself up to help. This is a step in healing and connecting with the people who matter. In addition to that, there are several things you can do on your own, in your own time and space…
→ The first step to releasing limiting beliefs is to shift your thinking into AWARENESS
Time to bring those dis-empowering thoughts out of hiding! Once you do that, know that you have choice. However, just simply being aware or having knowledge of them is not enough, it’s only the first step. You must understand and truly believe that you have a choice about how to react to stressful situations.
→ Possible thinking, not just positive thinking
Positive thinking is one of the most popular strategies out there but sometimes it just doesn’t work. However, your mind is a powerful thing, and when you fill it with thoughts of what’s possible (not just positive), your mindset will start to shift. When you believe something IS possible, you will notice options and opportunities coming up for you that would simply not have been noticed if you did not believe it was possible.
With repetition, your positive feelings will intensify, the new neural connections will strengthen, and you’ll start to notice just how awesome this new “win” really feels! Reminding yourself often of these little wins can further shift your mindset and help you embrace the bright side of your perceived “failures” or shortcomings. It also helps to simply accept that you are perfectly imperfect, just the way you are.
→ If you wouldn’t say it to your friend, don’t say it to yourself
Your limiting beliefs are assumptions you make about reality that often aren’t true. Pinpoint the lies. Ask yourself questions to figure out the root of the negativity. When do you experience these negative thoughts the most? What emotions are tied to your negative thoughts?
Once you have some understanding regarding the root of your negative thoughts, it can be easier to pinpoint the lies that you are believing.
They aren’t helpful, and they certainly don’t serve you or the goals you want to achieve. Ask yourself: would I say these negative, hurtful and unsupportive words to a friend?
→ Adopt empowering beliefs such as:
“It is not my job to please everyone else.”
“Just be me. There will never be anyone else like me.”
To swap out your limiting belief with a more empowering one, you’ll need to play a little mind game: Convince yourself that the value you thought you were getting from the former limiting belief isn’t worthwhile, and that your new empowering belief can serve to fill this void.
→ Take some time and space that’s all yours
Ensure that you are creating space in your life for these new empowering beliefs. Take action and get into the habit of using your new beliefs as often as possible until they begin to feel comfortable, familiar and routine to you. Just remember – you have the ability to harness the power of the possible! Overcoming negative self-talk and releasing yourself of limiting beliefs takes commitment, introspection and a good dose of self-confidence to make the necessary changes stick. For example, If your limiting belief is that you’ll never be able to lose weight and get fit, your new empowering believe can be “I’m making progress everyday”. Hold this thought and create time to make it real. It can be a quick flight of stairs at work, a 10 minute walk, committing to a bike ride with a friend or even hiring a health coach.
There’s the old saying that we view ourselves through a much harsher lens than the rest of world does. So, let’s try to bring our own lens back into focus.
Recipe: Positively Paleo Pie (comfort food without the guilt!)
Preheat oven to 350°F
Savory bottom layer:
- 1.25 lbs ground meat (free range preferable)
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded (not peeled)
- 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
- 1 – 1½ tsp Himalayan pink salt or Celtic grey sea salt
- 1 tsp chilii powder
- ½ tsp cumin
Mashed cauliflower topping:
- 2 small (or 1 large) cauliflower heads
- 5-6 large roasted garlic cloves*
- ½ – 1 tsp salt
Optional top layer:
- ½ cup shredded or crumbled organic, whole milk cheese (your choice!)
How to prepare bottom layer:
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté onion + garlic until tender. Add the carrot + zucchini, cook until they start to soften.
- Add the ground meat, salt, and spices. Cook until the meat is browned, and very little moisture remains.
How to prepare cauliflower:
- Chop the cauliflower heads into small chunks, and steam until they soften – when a fork can easily pierce.Add the steamed cauliflower, roasted garlic and salt to a food processor. On low setting, puree until smooth. It may be necessary to use the tamper if you have one.
Assemble the pie:
- To assemble your Positively Paleo Pie, distribute the meat mixture evenly in the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish. Spread cauliflower mixture over the top, and bake for 25 minutes.If you’re adding the optional cheese top layer, sprinkle the cheese on top after you bake it, and then broil it until the cheese turns slightly brown (~3 minutes more in the oven).
*Roasted garlic cloves – done ahead of time.
Using a sharp knife, cut ¼ inch from the top of of a whole garlic bulb to expose the individual cloves. Place bulb (unpeeled) on top of a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top of the bulb, just to moisten. Wrap the bulb with foil and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed. Once cooled, the whole cloves should push out easily when pressed from the bottom.
Extra roasted garlic can be used on its own as a spread on bread, crackers, sandwiches, crispbread or veggies (and yes, roasting the garlic really does make a difference in the flavor – magic!).