This post is about how we internalise others’ limiting beliefs, and how to stop.
The other day I was talking over Skype with my mom, telling her about an interview I got completely out of the blue, for a job that only half fits my professional profile, but is still something I would be curious to try. And as I was telling her what I would be doing for that company should I get the job, she said a peculiar thing: “Sure, you can try, but that sounds too difficult.”
It got me thinking – if most of us listen to our parents without question in childhood, how much of our potential is limited in some areas, be it professional or personal, just because we believed what we were told? Internalising others’ views on what’s possible and what is not, what’s achievable and what’s not, what we deserve and what we don’t can potentially affect our belief in our own abilities.
When people say something limiting, it is based on their own beliefs and experiences. But once we act on what they say, we make their limiting belief our own. For example, in this case, what my mom probably meant was “this job sounds too difficult to me”, but my mind could have interpreted it as “the job is too hard, I probably can’t do this,” which could lead to giving up without even trying.
As we grow older, we start understanding that not everyone’s opinion is worth listening to. But perhaps, it’s also worth filtering what opinions are worth listening to – not just from whom. And there’s even an opinion it’s best not to listen to anyone’s opinions but your own (tautology intended 🙂 ), if you want to be in control of your life and have healthy self-esteem.
“Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others.”
The people whose opinions you truly let in and choose to live by reign your life. You are letting them reign it, by acting on their opinions. When you take in their words about what you can and can’t do or what is and isn’t good for you, you give up your own power to make these decisions for yourself – “to define the world in your own terms.”
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be listening to anyone’s opinions. But what we can do is let them into one ear, then let out from the other. Maybe thinking about it while it passes the brain, but always leaving the last word up to ourselves. People will keep telling us their opinions, it’s a given – but it’s our choice to listen or not.
So, next time you hear someone saying “Do you really think you can do this?” or “I don’t think that will get you anywhere,” think twice before taking their words seriously. Unless they have a solid, logical argument to back up their opinion, chances are, it’s not worth taking heed.
If you know there are people whose opinion you sometimes act on, look at them very carefully, and ask one question: are they more qualified to make this decision for you than… well, you? Even if they’re very close, like your mother, or your husband, or your boss, do they qualify to affect your decisions? And is their influence on you empowering or limiting?
All of our seemingly small decisions like what job to take shape our lives to a great extent. Maybe, it’s time we took the power of shaping our life into our own hands!
Enjoy your journey!
Of course, what you read here and on other blogs are just the opinion of the author – so, think twice before and after reading 😉 But if you still liked the post, be sure to Like it and Follow the blog – I post new opinions here twice every week 😀