Know Your Beliefs
Crush self-limiting beliefs with empowering beliefs to unlock your true potential
Our mind can constrain our potential in life through negative self-beliefs, feelings, and emotions. They live deep within our minds and body. We reinforce them by looking for things that provide evidence to them. We are often our own worst enemy. These self-beliefs are real but are rarely true in reality. Embrace a cleansing process to crush and free yourself from negative self-beliefs. Amplify the self-affirming beliefs that create positive emotions and the energy to pursue a direction with conviction and confidence.
What are Beliefs?
Beliefs are what you accept as true. These may be facts or ideas, and thoughts we see as reality. Our beliefs are held deep inside us, influencing our daily decisions and what we pursue in life. Empowering beliefs enable us to break through challenges and thrive. Self-limiting beliefs hold us back from growing and living our true potential.
Beliefs shape our life story, as it’s our view of certainty about what something means.
When we believe in ourselves and embrace beliefs that spur growth, resilience, and resourcefulness, we will feel positive emotions and design a compelling vision for our life. Our full potential can be realized when we free ourselves from a confining self-identity.
Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.
The more evidence you have for a belief, the more strongly you believe it.
The summary below was adapted from “Chapter 4 – Releasing Negative Self-Beliefs” in Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN by Tara Brach.
1. Explore your self-beliefs deep within.
Understand that our beliefs, feelings, and emotions live in our minds and bodies.
Open up your mind, body, and soul to explore the addiction to your unworthiness and self-judgment.
Embrace that it’s time to exorcise negative self-beliefs buried deep inside.
Recognize your fixation on information that only confirms your belief in personal deficiency – you may be your worst enemy.
Lose your mind – your world is ready to change when you stop the inner dialogue.
2. Shed your skin.
Feeling comfortable with your flawed self becomes a part of who you are.
Challenge the core belief that something is wrong with you.
Focus on a place where you are down on yourself and ask: What am I believing about myself?
Do not worry or consume energy about how others will react when you let go and change.
“The snake that cannot shed its skin perishes” – Friedrich Nietzsche
3. Let it RAIN until the sun comes out.
Practice RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture to begin the cleansing process.
Let the RAIN loosen resentments, guilt, and beliefs that do not serve you.
See that those mental representations and fear-based beliefs are “real but not true.”
Continue to practice RAIN until it smoothes over deep-grooved negative beliefs and feelings.
Feel the sun-like warmth and freedom when they fade from your awareness.
Recognize: your thoughts and feelings express a belief.
Allow: Pause for a few moments, and simply let the belief and accompanying feelings be there.
Investigate: Begin by asking: “Is this really true?” or “Am I certain this is true?”
What is it like to live with this belief?
How has living with this belief affected my life?
Connect with whatever feels most vulnerable right now, ask, “What do you most need?”
Nurture: What message, touch, energy, or image might bring the most healing to the wounds inside you?”
Offer that, and let the place of vulnerability receive and be bathed in that nurturing energy.
4. Take the exquisite risk to freedom.
Bravely venture into the unknown to grow and learn who you are beyond your beliefs.
Recognize that the ancient fear of falling short is deeply rooted in our survival brain.
Deepen your awareness of what is possible – ask, “Who am I if I no longer believe [limiting belief]?”
Set up your experiment to test and disprove the belief in your unworthiness – use data where possible.
Embrace the risk of change that peels back the protective coverings of the gold that awaits.
The biggest loss for you and the world is not reaching your true potential in life.
Start today – our days are numbered.
Consider this matrix as a technique to translate your self-limiting beliefs into self-affirming beliefs.
✅ Use this Google Sheet template to document and transform your beliefs.
What self-limiting belief is holding you back?
What negative consequences have you experienced due to this belief?
What is an empowering belief that discredits this self-limiting belief?
What would be the positive impact of adopting and living this belief?
What rituals will you commit to instilling this belief in your bones and heart?
What behaviors will you let go of to crush the self-limiting belief?
List your most empowering beliefs - what you hold as true.
During my time running career workshops at Microsoft, occasionally, I would have attendees ask me: “When will you write the book and give it out at workshops?” I never considered myself a writer or good enough to be one someday. These folks were serious, but I would politely downplay it as it made me feel anxious and nervous. My whole career had been about tech and business – writing words was not hardcore like writing software. I didn’t attend undergrad or grad school to grow my writing skills. The fear of failure or inadequacy was real compared to a professional writer.
What was crazy was that I even had a colleague who offered to help me create content and proofread! I still did not believe in myself at a time when others already did. I had mentally limited my potential due to a self-inflicted belief without any data.
To slowly overcome this fear, I occasionally wrote a blog post or LinkedIn article to communicate an idea in my mind. I could feel the fear as I hit “publish.” As an analytical-minded person, I saw this as an experiment to disprove the hypothesis. To my surprise, I often received an email, message, or comment from people who thanked me for sharing the post. I still have many of those messages saved to convince myself, “It’s not true.”
It would only be through words that I could succinctly translate and repeatably deliver the framework ideas to others. To keep my fears in check, I mentally remind myself that I have an audience of five (my kids). If other people read my content, then that’s all upside!
“Who am I if I no longer believe [that I am not good enough to be a writer]?“
A writer…that has found growth by synthesizing actionable ideas into the fewest lines of code content possible (ideally useful to others!)
A father… who saves his kids valuable time by passing down his version of the Guide to the Good Life.
A coach…that openly shares content to challenge people's mental models as they navigate and practice in their chosen field.
Free…a mentally healthy person who uses writing as self-therapy to grow and adapt to the changing environment continually.
Someone more interesting and relevant to driving impact in this short life.
I encourage you to think the same!
How to Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs by Jon Rhodes and Joanna Grover (Harvard Business Review, June 26, 2023)
Graymatter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.