Now that we’ve
finished the first module, you must know a lot about yourself! However, knowing
yourself means having accurate beliefs about yourself. This may be hard to take
in, but it’s entirely possible that some of the things you believe about
yourself aren’t true at all!
In your quest to be
authentic, it’s wise to examine your past and realize how it has affected your
around a past with negative experiences. Some of these experiences were our own
fault, while others were not. What’s most relevant is how the experiences
of the past are interpreted. It’s challenging not to assign meaning to
these experiences, but is the meaning that’s been assigned accurate? More
importantly, is it useful?
are several signs that you’re not using your past constructively:
- You continue making
the same mistakes. The past should be useful. From the past, we learn
what works and what doesn’t, provided the experience is interpreted correctly.
- You ignore your
past. Easy to do, but has negative consequences. Time doesn’t heal all
wounds. Healing heals all wounds. If there’s something in your past you feel
the desire to forget, it’s hurting you in the present.
- You’ve adopted negative attitudes, beliefs, or
behavioral characteristics from your parents. Do you have the same short
temper your father had? Do you lie excessively like your mother did? Do you
mistrust rich people? Dislike anyone
that’s a democrat? Beliefs and attitudes that you didn’t choose for yourself
can be damaging to your self-image.
- A single
negative experience is affecting your belief system today. These experiences are most likely to occur in
childhood, but aren’t limited to your early years.
For example, perhaps you didn’t do well in art class
in 4th grade.
You may have drawn the conclusion that:
- You have no
- Your art teacher
didn’t like you.
- Your art teacher
wasn’t a good teacher.
- You’re not a good
person because you’re not good at creating art.
- You lack any
- You’re not good
at learning new skills.
- You’re not very
- You’re not a
And it can snowball from there. Suppose one of your
classmates made fun of your drawing in art class.
- I’m not a good
- People don’t like
- I shouldn’t let
anyone see something as personal as my artwork in the future.
- I will avoid
exposing myself to any criticism in the future by being very reserved and
It’s easy to see how negative and erroneous beliefs
can develop from negative experiences. These beliefs can be extremely limiting
and influence every part of your life.
yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love
yourself to get anything done in this world.”
Determine if your past is negatively affecting your
- Make a list of your beliefs about yourself. Focus on negative beliefs and any limitations. Include all areas of your life where you feel limited or dissatisfied. A few examples include:
- I’m not good with money.
- No one will hire me.
- I’ll never had a good relationship.
- I can’t lose weight.
- I don’t have any self-control.
- Question the belief. Most of your beliefs aren’t justified if you examine them closely. This is an important step.
- Where did this belief come from? Is the source credible?
- Is it based on sufficient evidence? One experience usually isn’t enough. Touching a hot stove is sufficient experience to draw a valid conclusion. One failed attempt at dating or starting a business is not.
- Is the belief reasonable?
- Determine what the belief is costing you. Inaccurate beliefs can cause a lot of damage. What are the beliefs you hold about yourself costing you?
- A lack of confidence.
- Lower income.
- Fewer friends or a dissatisfying social life.
- The belief that your options are limited to change your life.
- Overall dissatisfaction with yourself or your life.
- Choose an alternate belief. Choose a belief that better suits reality and supports a healthy self-image. “No one likes me” can become “I am able to make friends easily”.
- Find evidence. Staying with the previous example, even if you’re friend-free at the moment, you can recall previous friendships. Remember a time in your life when your social life was more active. It’s only logical to believe that if you can make a couple of friends, you can also create numerous friendships.
- Convince yourself that your new belief is possible.
It’s common to be limited by the past. We
often fail to consider that many of our beliefs about ourselves are based on
faulty evidence. At one point, you didn’t walk or read well. Does that
mean that you can’t do either well today? The human brain feels the need to
assign meaning to everything that happens.
Sometimes that meaning is incorrect. Sometimes there
is no meaning at all.
Do you have erroneous beliefs that are negatively
affecting your self-esteem? In the next phase of this self-concept makeover
project, we’ll work further on building your self-esteem.
Here’s what you need to do today:
Please go through this important process of
reevaluating your past by completing the steps in your journal:
- Make a list of your negative beliefs about yourself. Then, focus on one belief at a time.
- Question your belief.
- Determine what the belief is costing you.
- Choose an alternate belief.
- Find evidence of your new belief.