Empower Yourself – How to Turn Limitations Into Strengths
In my last post I talked about how limiting beliefs can limit our potential…today I would like to continue the discussion and talk about turning those limitations into strengths.
Sometimes a simile or metaphor (a word picture or figure of speech) can help you make the transition from your limiting beliefs to empowering beliefs. For example, when I was pursuing my first profession, as an engineer, I worked for a government defense contractor. There was a reduction in force as the Cold War ended. Seeing this reduction in force, knowing that my job would probably be one of those reduced, I decided to change careers. At the same time, my personal life was changing and presenting challenges: one of my sons had dropped out of school, another was getting involved in drugs. I chose to enter one of the helping professions, to pursue a career as a drug and alcohol counselor. As I was preparing for my new career, people would ask what I was doing. When I told them, they would comment, “When are you going to get a real job?”
During my training, one intern supervisor, knowing that I was making a career transition from engineering into counseling, thought I was too logical to be a counselor. She did not believe that “logic” had any place in counseling. Even though I took a holistic approach, her perception was that my approach was all logical. She described me as “shut down.” She insisted that I could never be a counselor because of that. To prove her point, she asked be to write a metaphor describing myself. She make it very clear that she did not want me to write a logical or analytical description, but a metaphor. To her surprise I wrote, “I feel like a larva in a cocoon ready to emerge as a butterfly.” Even though I felt stuck, I knew that I had potential that she could not see at that time. Metaphors are helpful because we remember word pictures much longer than we remember other types of affirmations.
Metaphors can help you dispel limiting beliefs and empower your strengths.
Take a few minutes and think of a metaphor that will help you change how you view yourself my site. Write it down…maybe in your journal.
No matter what problems you have faced, are you willing to believe in yourself? Be open to the voice inside you that says you are a worthwhile person. Your were born with a gift for which you have a passion and need to share. You brought with your from the heavens a light that grows brighter as you use and share it.
Many of the messages we receive as children are necessary to help us to socialize and have structure in our lives. These messages can be negative, positive or mixed. As a child, we learn on an emotional level and take these messages at face value. Mixed messages lead us to form unhealthy perceptions or faulty beliefs. Sometimes without realizing it, we carry these beliefs into adulthood. As adults, we sometimes take the same messages we receive from people in our lives today at face value. The good news is that we now have the capacity to separate these messages. The ability to take needed correction and act on it is positive and can help us avoid costly mistakes. It is always possible to learn from the messages others give us, as Tommy did in my previous article.
Examine what others are saying…
On the other hand, receiving discounting and discouraging messages at face value is not healthy and can keep you from reaching your potential. Next, examine some of these messages. Consider them critically as to whether they have any lesson of value to you. If not, acknowledge them as information about what someone else believes, but do not continue to accept it as your belief about yourself.
Remember, you, like everyone else, are a work in progress. Be patient with yourself and others. You have a choice about what you believe about yourself, about others and about your circumstances. You can choose your response to any situation. As you choose more consciously, your ability to choose a wise response increases.
You act on what you think and believe. Your outcomes are a result of your actions. It is important to learn from those who have mastered adversity and life’s challenges. Accept honest feedback, but never buy into the philosophy that you are not worthy. Others you encounter have their own experiences that create a lens through which they view the world. Their message to you, about you, may not be true for you.
This is an excerpt from my book “Embracing Change From the Inside Out”
If you’re ready to make life changes from the inside out contact me, I will help you understand how to make those changes.
You can also contact me to speak at your next event, I will adjust my topic to the needs of your audience.