- THE MAGAZINE
- WEB EXCLUSIVES
Have you ever had negative beliefs about yourself? If you’re willing to admit that you have, it means you are honest with yourself, because all of us have had them at one time. Did you ever consider how they got there in the first place?
We all have beliefs about who we are and what we are like. We were, however, not born with these beliefs. If that is so then the big question is, how did we get them? One of the most common ways is from what others told us what we were when we are young, especially by important grownups like parents and teachers. These messages were both verbal and nonverbal, and it was important that they matched.
For instance, if your parents told you that you were smart and funny but they seldom laughed at your jokes or really listened to you, and they didn't pay much positive attention to your achievements, you likely gave their actions more weight than their words.
That weight, or endorsement, was very important. It is not until you give endorsement, or sanction, to someone else's message that you really absorb and make it a part of yourself. When you were young, if your parents told you that you were clumsy or stupid enough times, and they treated you as if you were clumsy and stupid, you will likely take that in and endorse that message. You will begin to believe yourself to be clumsy and stupid; therefore, you can’t help but make clumsy and stupid part of your self-image, and acting clumsy and stupid.
We weren’t able to change our parents or our teachers, but there are things we can change now that we’ve gotten older. We can take steps to deliberately change those parts of our self-image that are negative which make our personal and professional lives miserable. It is up to us to transform our belief system into something more position. Believe this and you’ve made the important first step. We’ll talk more about belief in the coming weeks.