This post is part of a series on limiting beliefs. Read the previous posts on believing that your story doesn’t matter, thinking that success is selfish, being in a victim mindset, living in fear, and thinking you have no time.
In my previous posts, I addressed a host of self-limiting beliefs that keep us from excelling in our careers and changing our communities. In this post, I’m going to address one more obstacle that keeps you from making an impact: doubting yourself.
This doubt might be rooted in your past or experiences you’ve had, and tackling it can feel like a beast. The important thing is to remember that tackling it, while daunting, will improve your quality of life and help you fulfill your personal and professional goals.
One tool that can help you address this doubt is figuring out—and changing—the negative stories you’re telling yourself.
Identifying your scripts and the stories you tell yourself
Scripts are the beliefs we’ve formed about ourselves that lead us to think and act a certain way. If you doubt yourself often, you’re probably listening to scripts that reinforce a negative opinion of yourself. The good news is that it’s possible to rewrite these scripts.
In order to do that, you first have to identify what voice you’re hearing when you’re telling yourself a certain script. Your voice can take the form of The Inner Critic, The Inner Defender, or The Inner Guide.
The Inner Critic
The Inner Critic is an internal voice that tells us that we are inadequate, less than, and unworthy. This voice can come from several places. It can come from the judgments you experienced as a child or a teenager. Sometimes the criticism is a replay of a specific comment that was made to you that you adopted as truth.
Ironically, the Inner Critic is often trying to protect you, to keep you from attempting something you want to do, being someone you want to be, feeling something you want to feel, or saying something that might bring you judgment from the outside world. As you can imagine, however, this is a voice that can keep you from reaching your full potential.
Learn more about how you can stand up to your Inner Critic in this TED Talk.
The Inner Defender
The Inner Defender is also an attempt at, you guessed it, defending yourself from judgment or criticism. However, this voice shifts the criticism from yourself to others.
The Inner Defender places the responsibility for your unhappiness on the shoulders of other people—your parents, teachers, friends, coworkers, etc. This voice doesn’t want to claim responsibility for where you find yourself in life, especially when you’re struggling. By tearing others down and shifting the blame to them, it helps you build yourself up.
However, listening to the Inner Defender also removes the control you have over your life and the confidence you need to change your circumstances.
The Inner Guide
The Inner Guide is the voice we need to listen to. It’s the one you should trust because it helps counter those feelings of self-doubt. This is the voice that knows that listening to criticism and adapting to do better in the future promotes real growth, change, and action. This voice seeks options and makes choices rather than blames and complains.
When you listen to your Inner Guide, you find the best in yourself and feel empowered to rise beyond negativity and doubt.
Which voice are you hearing when you doubt yourself? Do you blame yourself or others? On the other hand, when you feel confident, are you coming from a place of understanding and compassion? Might that be the Inner Guide you should be listening to?
If you find that you’re not listening to The Inner Guide, try to think about what you can tell yourself that would reinforce a positive script and give you back the power you need to create an impact.
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