Transformation is a continual process of letting go”–Holistic MBA
When I was in first grade, I got punched in the stomach by a second grader while waiting for the bus to school. It happened on the front porch of my babysitter’s house, a place where I was supposed to feel safe.
Worse off, when I told the babysitter what happened, she didn’t believe me, because the second grader played innocent and said I was lying.
That day I created two “stories” about myself:
- I’m not good enough
- No one likes me
These “stories” turned into deeply-rooted beliefs that I held about myself. These beliefs became my identity and how I showed up in the world.
I was bullied on and off my entire life, by people in school; by family members; by the people I worked for. And all along I kept telling myself “I’m not good enough” and “no one likes me.”
I slowly went from being an extroverted person to being an introverted person. I figured if I shrunk low enough and hid away, no one would see me, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about not being liked.
The years went on and I attracted more and more things that made me feel “not good enough” and that “no one liked me.” Things like no one showing up to my birthday party; not getting an internship at a big magazine in NYC; and never getting to date the guy I ‘really wanted’ all made me feel inadequate and disliked.
I was living into the stories I made up about myself when I was six years old. The stories had become my reality.
Of course all of this was going on subconsciously in my life. And it wasn’t until recently when I finally realized that my whole life went the way it did because I created beliefs about myself that were false, but I lived with them like they were true.
What I’ve been doing the last two decades is letting a six-year old run my life (and now my business!) I’ve been living with beliefs that were given to me by a scared little girl who just wanted people to like her.
And while having those beliefs served a purpose at one time (to keep me safe), they no longer serve me today. Today, holding onto those beliefs is holding me back–in life and in my business.
So I am choosing to let them go.
Disillusioned In Life
It’s so easy to get disillusioned by the world around us. We see updates on Facebook about our friends’ successes or we watch celebrities or the people we admire most have these big, beautiful, amazing lives and we think to ourselves: “what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I have what they have?”
What we have to keep in mind is that what we see on the outside, what people show us, is just one facet of things. We’re not seeing below the surface.
And so we’re comparing ourselves and our lives to the shining moments in the lives of others, without realizing that they have a dark side too.
Every single person on this planet has fears. Everyone feels afraid. Everyone has doubts and worries. We all have beliefs we’re holding onto that are no longer true for us.
Even those people you admire who have amazing lives still deal with negative things. They don’t have perfect lives. It only looks like they do.
So it’s easy to get disillusioned and to think everyone else is so much better than you and that you might as well give up now. What’s not easy is choosing the opposite road.
The Road Less Traveled
Right now you have a writing dream inside you. That dream is being held back by false beliefs that you’re holding about yourself.
You can choose to continue living life as you are. Ignoring your writing dream, procrastinating and never working toward that novel you want to write (and publish).
Or you can take the road less traveled and face those false beliefs–acknowledge you have them and that you no longer need them–and let them go, so you can finally go after your dream.
The choice is up to you.
Share With Us
What false beliefs are you holding (or have held) about yourself? Are you ready to face ’em and let ’em go?
Image courtesy of Jason Eppink
11 Replies to “What False Beliefs Are You Holding As True?”
Thank you, Jennifer. What a great read! This came at just the right time for me. I definitely realize that I have some false beliefs and that they manifest in my work (or lack thereof). That is a great first step, but I am having trouble moving beyond that–how do you just “let go?” I suppose it’s really quite simple once you actually do it, but like so many other things, easier said that done when you’re on the other side.
@Erin The first step is definitely the realization–so you’re already halfway there! As far as letting them go, much easier said than done. What I’m doing to let go of my own false beliefs is two things: 1) I’m finding examples in my past and present that prove the false beliefs are false (for example, there are almost 300 people on my email list, therefore people must “like” me) and 2) I’m focusing on telling myself the opposite of the false belief (like saying “I am worthy” whenever I look in the mirror, etc).
Your posts always seem to be well timed for what’s going on in my life, but this one was particularly so. I always like to think I’m pretty good at weeding out the negative thoughts, but noodling on this article made me realize I’ve got two major limiting beliefs that I need to work on. One is a belief you’ve mentioned dealing with yourself: feeling like a good living can’t be made as a fiction writer (“there are already so many authors, it’s so hard to get published, etc.”). I’ve had a lot of people (including published authors) tell me that I should not expect to make any money with that kind of writing, and that they have always had to depend on their day jobs to pay the bills. Not very encouraging!
My other limiting belief actually sprung out of a positive thing that happened this year: after more years than I care to count, I finally got a short film produced and accepted to a film festival in England. It was an experience of a lifetime, but…now I’ve got the nagging voice that says, “It took you forever just to get this little film done. Do you actually think you’ll get the chance to make another film, let alone a feature length one? Ha!”
I know I need to get past this, and I will…but it’s crazy how stubborn these beliefs can be!
@Mary I’m always disappointed when other people push their limited (false) beliefs on you (by saying things like, “I always had to depend on my day job” or “Don’t expect to make money from your writing”). Just because they had that experience they feel they have to spread it on to others. UGH! If you don’t have something positive and encouraging to say, shut your fucking mouth, that’s what I say 😉
I love the sentiment and sincerity that comes across throughout this post. I’m glad that you’ve turned those erroneous thoughts you once held to be true into the success that you are now. Yet I’m especially happy that are using them to motivate us all to be more.
@Oscar. Thanks so much! What erroneous thoughts would you like to let go of?
I beg you forgive the familiarity. I hope you don’t mind me calling you, Jenny.
A writer I am, of that I’ve no doubt. What I am not is a novelist. I’m an essayist, I love knowing this about myself. I own it.
I very much enjoy taking myself on short, forty minute hikes of language and style, splicing together a pleasing piece along the way. Often times going off-trail, seeking ever more imaginative ways of combining words solely for my own amusement.
I keep, as I suspect many of your visitors do too, a trunk novel that will never see the light of day. I have mine right within my field of vision, on the bookshelf next to Hermes (my laptop). I read parts of it often, and smile. Keeping the material fresh on my mind, tweaking the words ever so subtly every time.
Novel writing is not for me, I dislike the process. It takes far too long for my taste. When I first started to write down my prattle, I had the intention of crafting a story with very few characters, much like Crichton’s Andromeda Strain, or Assimov’s I, Robot, yet not in the science fiction genre. When the time came to say that’s enough, I had 90,556 words and 16 active characters that by the struggling end hated each other bitterly.
It really became a chore, much alike waiting in line at the DMV. Arduous, although with less chances of catching a germ. I had many pages of notes and I refused over and over to end chapters in cliffhangers, a la Dan Brown. Also, I never could bring myself to “murder my darlings.” This made the work a tad harder. One writes what one likes.
I’ve been writing my short essays ever since, letters to myself, curiosities and observations of interesting moments, people and things I come across. Only because, like many others, I don’t know what I’m thinking till I see it on the screen.
If writing a novel isn’t for you, then it isn’t for you. I think a lot of writers get caught up in the idea that they “have to’ write fiction because they’re writers, and that’s so not true. You should write whatever lights you up, whatever makes you happy. If that’s fiction, great. But if it’s not, there are lots of other options. It sounds like you’ve found some good ones. Keep at it!
PS. I prefer to be called Jen 🙂
Thanks, Jen. I’ve been receiving and reading your email newsletter for just over a year. They have been an inspiration to me not just towards writing, I’ve also used your words to motivate me in other aspects of my life.
Inkybites, has been a welcomed addition to ‘The things I like to read’ and of course, I have kept alert after you decided to change your brand. What I’m trying to say is; I appreciate your words and I want to read more of them, even if I am not exactly your intended audience.
Thank you, Oscar! I love having writers like you on my email list, it makes what I do so worth it. Please keep me posted on your writing as it progresses!