When I was younger, it came natural to not believe in myself because I struggled with anxiety from such an early age. At the age of 14, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, and with these diagnoses also came a mental belief that I was incapable when I faced challenges. Often, I would find myself saying, “I can’t do that. I won’t feel well. I won’t be able,” because I just didn’t feel good when I did certain things like traveling, attending large events, or stepping outside of my level of comfort.
I developed a mindset of I can’t for the longest time, and it took plenty of pushing myself out of where I was to get to where I am now. It took inner work on my part because once I started believing that I couldn’t do something, it would seep into other areas of my life when I was faced with any challenging situation that required me to be courageous, and brave, and strong-minded.
When any person holds onto this negative way of thinking and are forced to face challenges, it’s very easy for anxiety to creep up, for self-limiting beliefs to arise and make you feel that instant reaction of — I can’t. The cells in our bodies hold memory so when we repeat can’t it becomes an easy to believe thought because that’s how we’ve allowed ourselves to be programmed.
Where I am now is in a place of strength, perseverance, and determination, even though I still face difficult situations, but now I face them with a different outlook of awareness. I recognize these thought patterns which allows me to remove their power more quickly. Last year, I traveled to Disney World with my family by car for an 18-hour drive. It was a trip we had planned for months prior so I thought I’d be mentally prepared. I had a ton of anxiety for a majority of the beginning of the ride. I just didn’t believe that I could survive the trip with my fears of prolonged travel, heavy traffic, and being so far away from home — my comfort zone. When I was younger, I used to get a lot of traveling anxiety. Even though I’ve traveled the world, throughout my life, I still struggled with anxiety wherever I went, so I always had to push myself, and push through my self-limiting beliefs to get to do all those things. So, that’s what I did for the duration of the Disney road trip, within a few hours’ time, I felt comfortable.
Recognizing self-limiting beliefs
When I’m faced with a challenge, I recognize my thoughts immediately now. I have an inner dialogue with myself like — okay, this is a self-limiting belief. I tell myself, “It’s okay to be uncomfortable in this situation. It is normal to feel like I can’t do something, but now I have to make a plan to turn this around in my favor and get to what I actually want to do in life.”
This can happen with any challenge that we face throughout our lives. It may be traveling, crowded rooms, or doctor visits for myself, but for you, it may be something else, and that’s why it’s so important to get a grip because self-limiting beliefs don’t just pertain to a given situation or an individual challenge. It’s something that poisons all of us when we don’t allow ourselves to get a grip on it.
Using the power of I can to destroy fear
The power of I can is uncompromising, so when you find yourself saying, “I can’t do that,” you must switch it in your mind and say, “I can do that.” If you’re really struggling with something, for example, crowded rooms or traveling, you can say, “I can travel easily. I can go to that event. I can do this.” The more you start repeating that you can do it, you’re reprogramming your mind to be able to do the things that you initially believed that you couldn’t because of self-limiting beliefs.
Releasing mental and emotional wounds
You need to release what’s been said to you in the past, who you surround yourselves with, and what you’ve been made to believe by other people. Maybe family members, friends, people that you’ve grown up with, or maybe dark, influential people in your life, have told you that you can’t do something. So, it becomes an identity that you take on because if they believe that about me, maybe they’re right. If you’ve been told enough and by enough people, or people that you really admire, you may feel like it adds power and authority to what they’ve said. But, it’s power you need to release back to yourself. If they’ve told you that you can’t, you must release what’s been said to you and reprogram your mind to know that you can do something regardless of what anybody else has said.
Moving out of your own way
You need to eliminate the ‘I can’t’ thoughts and turn them into ‘I can’ thoughts. I can’t will turn into I should have, I wish I did, or I really wanted to, but only if we let I can’t win.
Instead of living a life that is limitless, a life that you’re really proud of, you’ll find yourself looking back on moments where you wish you had pushed yourself further. Pushing yourself is a good thing. It’s taking you out of your comfort zone, and when you do that, you experience incredible growth. The only way to do that is to get a grip on your self-limiting beliefs and get out of your own way.
You only get one life, so you might as well live it without limitations. I never want to look back at my life and wish that I did something that could’ve been a life-changing experience. I don’t get down on myself when I do have weaker moments, but I do make sure that I take every moment and do my best, for me, that’s enough. Even with starting my writing business a couple of years ago, I had to tell myself, “I can do this,” and there are times that I still tell myself every single day, “I can do this. I can continue to build my business.” By doing that, I’m programming myself and deprogramming the negativity that I’ve dealt with for part of my life.
Now I live my life with an attitude of I can, that’s how I get a grip on self-limiting beliefs, and that’s how I believe you can get a grip on self-limiting beliefs, too. We were not meant to live a life with self-limitations, hampering our own growth, and never stepping into our purpose because of fear. We are here to impact, and the only way to do that is to believe that we can.
Originally published at medium.com