Everyone has this little voice in their head which never seems to shut up. You may call it your inner voice, intuition, Jiminy Cricket, a hallucination, George or whatever, but it’s there and it gives a running commentary on everything that you do, think, and say. That inner voice is an opinionated bastard and can be meaner than that 8th-grade girl that turned all your friends against you in middle school. That inner voice is so mean, if you were to say the things it says to you out loud to someone else, you’d be the bully that no one wanted to be around.
That voice is the one that calls you a loser when you mess up a presentation at work. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re too old to Zumba or too young to make a difference. It’s the mean kid that tells you that your knees are too ugly to wear shorts or you’re too stupid to understand quantum theory or how to work the PlayStation control.
These things we tell ourselves, they stem from our childhood. When we are born, we have a clean slate of oblivion. We think about nothing but food, playing and pooping and we are fearless. Then as we begin growing up, we start experiencing life and we start letting fear creep in. As we do, we start storing rules internally to protect us from scary things in the world. And then we carry these set of beliefs into adulthood.
If we aren’t careful and aware, this inner voice will take charge and guide all of our decisions in an effort to protect us from perceived danger. These unconscious beliefs can paralyze us and hold us back, keeping us in a prison of fear. These are limiting beliefs. Everyone has them and many people know they have them, but sometimes, it is the most difficult thing to see and identify a limiting belief, even when it’s right in front of your face.
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Recently, it hit me that my biggest limiting belief is that I am not good enough. It is a belief that I can track down to when I was very young and no matter how many people tell me that I am good enough, smart enough and gosh darn it people like me, my inner voice can combat it with a pile of evidence that shows otherwise.
- As a child of immigrant parents from an Asian family, it was the expectation that I get good grades. When I brought home straight A’s, I was asked why they weren’t straight A pluses. My grades were never good enough.
- In the third grade, my cursive wasn’t displayed on the cursive board because my writing wasn’t good enough.
- When I auditioned for a school musical and didn’t get the part, it was because I wasn’t good enough.
- Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, nothing I did was ever good enough.
- All the jobs I applied for but never got a call for was because I wasn’t good enough to be considered.
- I wasn’t a good enough wife which is why my husband cheated on me.
- Blah, blah, the list could go on forever…
As I type this, I can think of dozens more not good enoughs that have held me back and debilitated me in the last 40 years. This one little belief has kept me from accomplishing so many things. Ironically, I’ve always been pretty good at most things I set my mind to. From school to singing to writing to photography, I’ve grasped on quickly and shown some aptitude in. But even though I am pretty good at many things, I’m not good enough in any of them. I can carry a tune, but not good enough for a solo. I can give a good speech at Toastmasters, but it won’t win any contests. And on and on.
My mom’s psychic told her many years ago that I always get the silver star in everything because I prevent myself from getting the gold star. I didn’t get wtf she was talking about back then, but now it all makes perfect sense.
Yes, I know that everyone fears not being good enough, but that doesn’t make it less powerful and debilitating. Now that I am aware of this limiting belief, the next step is to reprogram that little voice in my head that tells me how incompetent I am. It’s not easy work. Even as I write this, that inner voice is telling me that this post isn’t good enough, my words aren’t good enough, and who am I to write this post right now. Flipping the script on ol’ Jiminy takes quite a bit of energy (and Google searching), but I am determined not to let it hold me back any longer. Plus, I want that gold star, dammit!
I love this little video from Marie Forleo about what she does when she feels like she’s not good enough.
Ironically, I am worried that this blog post isn’t good enough to publish. Which means, I am just going to hit publish and see what happens. So, thanks for sharing, Biaatch. I got this.
What limiting beliefs are holding you back?