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7 False Beliefs That Are Holding You Back in Life

7 False Beliefs That Are Holding You Back in Life

Are you carrying self-limiting beliefs that are preventing you from living a great life?

Consider these seemingly benign statements that we say to ourselves on a daily basis:

  • “I can’t tell the truth because I may get judged…”
  • “I don’t want to get close to this person lest my heart gets broken…”
  • “I don’t want to ask for what I want because, what if I get rejected?”
  • “I can’t trust people because I’ve been betrayed before…”
  • “I can’t pursue my dreams because I don’t know what I’d do if I fail…”
  • “I can’t do X because of Y…”

Can you spot the self-limiting thoughts behind these statements? Here are seven false beliefs that hold many from living a great life.

False Belief #1: “I can’t be my real self or I’ll be judged.”

I often watch videos of Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and other successful people on YouTube because I get to learn more about them and absorb their wisdom. I’ve noticed that no matter who the person is or how inspiring he/she may be, there’ll always be detractors trying to tear him/her down.

For example, with Oprah’s videos, I usually see detractors calling her “a fat hag,” “an overweight, money-grubbing whore,” and “a black racist.” Detractors of Ellen usually describe her as a “homo,” a “disgusting gay,” and an “evil lesbian who violates Jesus’ teachings, destroys the sanctity of marriage, and is going to hell.”

Seeing such comments helps me to realize that people are always going to judge, no matter how great of a person you are. You can never please everyone because everyone is different with his/her own set of opinions. Since everyone is different, why bother trying to please people? You are better off being yourself and owning your real self!

Embrace these beliefs instead:

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  • “It is not my job to please people in life.”
  • “Be myself; there’ll never be anyone else like me.”

Further reading:

False Belief #2: “I can’t fall in love or I’ll get my heartbroken.”

I used to carry this belief subconsciously. While I had been open to dating and being in a relationship since young, subconsciously I was afraid to love because I didn’t want to be rejected and have my heart broken. So, even though I would verbally say that I wanted to be in a relationship, I never truly opened my heart to others.

It was only in my late 20s when I let go of that belief, and subsequently found my soulmate. Now, if I had continued to close myself off, my now-husband and I would have never had gotten together; I would also not have found the love of my life. This would have been my greatest regret — except that I wouldn’t get to regret it because I wouldn’t even know what I had missed out!

To find true love, you need to put yourself out there and allow yourself to be vulnerable. While you may get hurt in the process, it’s part and parcel of any love journey. Know that it’s not possible to form a true connection without first allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

  • “I love freely because it is part of being human.”
  • “It is by opening my heart that I will attract the right kind of love into my life.”
  • “Heartbreaks help me to learn more about myself and love; they move me closer towards attracting the right person into my life.”

False Belief #3: “I can’t ask for what I want lest I get rejected.”

In life, people face rejection all the time. Rather than avoid rejection, learn how to handle it. Know that rejection is merely a process that lets you know that you’re poking in the wrong direction, so that you can adjust your strategy and redirect yourself in the right direction. By shying away from asking because you don’t want to face rejection, you’ll only rob yourself of opportunities to get what you want. The universe wants to give you what you want — create the opportunity for it to do so.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

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  • “Rejection is part and parcel of life. Every ‘no’ will lead me closer to a ‘yes.’”
  • “I need to first ask in order to receive.”

False Belief #4: “I can’t trust people lest they betray my trust.”

When I was in primary school, I found out that my then-best friend spoke ill about me the whole time we were “best friends,” even though she would always be saccharine sweet before me. As a twelve-year-old adolescent who was already self-inferior, this incident left me feeling worse about myself.

Even though this was a negative experience that made me more guarded, I realized – after embarking on my personal growth journey – that being guarded doesn’t help me to forge meaningful connections. While it may prevent me from getting hurt, it limits me from forming deep friendships with anyone.

Trust freely, while being smart about how you handle toxic people who betray your trust. Cut off the bad eggs in your life while opening yourself fully to receive new people into your life.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

  • “Everyone is deserving of my trust unless otherwise disproved.”
  • “Without trust, I can’t form a meaningful relationship with anyone.”

Further reading: The Secret To Meaningful, Fulfilling Social Relationships

False Belief #5: “I can’t pursue my dreams because I may fail.”

Before I came to pursue my dreams, there was a brief moment when I worried about failing. What if I fail? I thought. What would happen to my life? Would I be deemed a failure, a loser, a good-for-nothing?

However, it didn’t take long before I realized that my fear was redundant. Firstly, by doing proper strategizing, planning, and taking due action, there was no reason why I would fail. Secondly, even if I were to “fail” (as defined by not generating revenue before my savings run out), I could always return to the corporate world, generate more savings, and then return to pursue my dreams after a year or two. I could simply just do this over and over again, until I succeed.

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Failure is over-glorified in today’s world. People fail all the time; there’s no need to make a big hoo-haa out of it. What’s more important is the actions you take when things don’t go your way. How can you learn from your failures? How can you turn your failures into success? These are the questions to ask yourself to create the future of your dreams.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

  • “My dreams are mine for the taking.”
  • “Whatever I can conceive, I can achieve. It’s up to me to take the steps to make things happen.”

Further reading: How to Achieve Any Goal with Success (seven-part series)

False Belief #6: “I don’t need to be successful, so I’m not going to strive for success.”

Uh-oh, the self-intellect’s trap. I carry a variation of this belief sometimes, such as “I don’t need a lot of money to live a great life, so I’m not going to strive for riches,” and have to catch and correct myself when that happens.

The danger with this belief is that it creates this intellectual, rational, even convincing self-justification on why you shouldn’t be successful (or even, why you aren’t successful right now), when actually, it’s in your destiny to be successful, wealth, abundant, or whatever you want to be. And believe it or not, the only person who can break this trap is you yourself, because the ego can find unlimited ways to justify its state of being.

You don’t need a reason to achieve success because you’re meant for success. But supposed you do need one — what would you do if you are hugely successful, have a billion dollars in your bank, and are well-known throughout the world? How can you put this success, money, and fame to the highest use of all? Perhaps this answer will be the answer you need to strive for your highest potential.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

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  • “I succeed simply because I can be.”
  • “By being successful, I have more resources to achieve my highest goals and dreams and to support the highest good of mankind.”

False Belief #7: “It’s too late to pursue my dreams.”

Everyone knows Colonel Sanders, the founder and ambassador of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). However, did you know that before Sanders became a world-famous Colonel, he was a “sixth-grade dropout, a farmhand, an army mule-tender, a locomotive fireman, a railroad worker, an aspiring lawyer, an insurance salesman, a ferryboat entrepreneur, a tire salesman, an amateur obstetrician, an (unsuccessful) political candidate, a gas station operator, a motel operator and finally, a restaurateur”?

It was between the ages of 48 and 49 that Sanders finalized his now-famous “Original Recipe” for KFC with 11 herbs and spices. At the age of 65 in 1955, Sanders traveled the U.S., visiting from restaurant to restaurant, knocking from door to door, and cooking batches of chicken for the restaurant owners to convince them to franchise his chicken. In 1964 at the age of 74, Sanders sold the company to investors for US$2 million (about US$15 million today), a lifetime salary, and the agreement that he’d be the company’s quality controller and trademark.

I don’t care much about the KFC restaurant since I don’t eat meat, but Sanders’ story is both inspiring and chocked full of lessons.

If you often say that it is too late to pursue your dreams, recognize that your age isn’t the real limiting factor here — your belief that it is a limiting factor, is the limiting factor. Forget the standard societal track of success where one needs to be at a certain place in life at a certain age to be considered successful. Your life path is bigger than such predefined tracks. Create your own life path and make it happen.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

  • “It’s never too late to pursue anything. What’s more important is that I take action now.”
  • “Age is just a number. My current age is just a reflection of the number of years I’ve been alive, but not a reflection of my unlimited power as a being.”

Further reading: How To Overcome Fear Of Loss And Pursue Your Dreams

How About You?

Do you carry any of these false beliefs? How are you going to turn them around? Share with me in the comments section.

Original Article: 7 Limiting Beliefs Keeping You from Living Your Best Life | Personal Excellence

Featured photo credit: StandUPP via flickr.com

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Celestine Chua

Life Coach, Blogger

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Last Updated on June 12, 2018

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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