By Khafayah Abdulsalam*
Limiting beliefs can be divided into various categories, I will mention a few:
1. Hopelessness: My goals cannot be achieved under any circumstances
2. Helplessness: My goals can be achieved, but I lack the ability and willpowe to achieve it
3. Worthlessness: I don’t deserve to achieve this goal, because of somehting I am/am not or have/have not done. E.g. “I don’t deserve this job because I am not smart enough!”
4. Fear of the unknown, the future, fear of failing and taking risks.
5. Blamingless: Blaming external event or situations (Often used as a cover for hiding self esteem issues)
6. Uselessness: Why bother getting a degree now? It won’t earn me anymore money than I already do.
How many times have you said to yourself “She/he will never marry me”, “I am too old to lose weight”, “I will never get that job”, “I always mess things up”, “I will never be able to memorise the Qur’an or speak Arabic”, “I feel powerless”, “Life is unfair” – the list is endless.
Your values and beliefs control many things including: what you think about; the people you identify with; the way in which you handle money; your level of self-expression; your self-esteem; your level of confidence and the people you choose as friends and companions. Even moreso your values and beliefs control the goals to which you aspire. Most of us adapted these long ago from our parents, family, teachers, friends and even the media. Although they may mean well often the messages instilled in young people are fear-based and limiting. They’re also very difficult to erase once they are deep rooted in the subconscious mind.
Thus, our minds tend to become “over-crowded” with negative thoughts and Inner chatter, deeply ingrained bad habits, and old programs that keep sabotaging our efforts to bring positive change into our lives. We will be discussing later how to get rid of these negative thoughts and beliefs by adopting the right mindset.
How do I know or identify what beliefs are holding me back?
“We are what we think. With our thoughts we make our world ”.
The most intimate relationship is the one you have with your thoughts. Sometimes we can easily identify what negative thoughts or beliefs are holding us back. While other times this proves to be a challenging task, since our limiting beliefs have a way of hiding from us. Much like an iceberg, what is beneath the surface is more substantial than what is apparent. We are mostly driven by our subconscious thoughts that have accumulated over many years our “Life History”. Where would you be without your story?
It’s the thoughts in the subconscious mind that we need to realize and bring to the surface, they like sitting in the background. These hidden thoughts are generally negative memories that cause us depression, low esteem, self sabotage and fear patterns when we get frightened to take action or try something new.
Identifying hidden beliefs:
1. Question your thoughts
You have to question your thoughts. Ask yourself are these thoughts true? Investigate these thoughts. Be a detective. Why is this goal not achievable? Why don’t I deserve this job? Why am I a failure? Etc.
The more you question your thoughts you will be able to start to unravel the beliefs that stand between you and your goal. You will realize that once you are aware of them you they become powerless and gradually fizzle away as you replace them with self-affirming positive thoughts. Often say to yourself “I will achieve my goals and be successful in life.”
2. Why do I need to do anything if it has all been decreed?
There is a lot of confusion around the belief in Qadar. We need to understand that the outcome of anything is dependent on the performance or the efforts that are necessary to procure it. In other words, although it has already been decreed that a person will be rich in life this will not occur unless the individual takes the appropriate actions and puts in the effort.
So even though we believe in divine decree, we must at the same time strive all we can to ensure that the desired goal occurs.
So both the means to achieve a goal, and the fulfillment of the goal itself, are already decreed. Allah’s salvation will not come if we do nothing – as in the story of the drowning man who drowned to death because he was waiting for Allah’s salvation yet he would not accept help from anyone. At what point in your life are you drowning NOW?
3. Record negative thoughts?
De-congest your brain, get a journal and make a record of any negative comments that come to your mind. Do you notice a pattern in your thoughts? Is it related to work? Health? Other people? Once you have established the pattern and where it belongs, then you challenge this behavior. Read on!
5 top tips on how to overcome the Inner chatter
We need to bring to the surface thoughts that play the same tune over and over in our minds. These thoughts range from; Natural doubts, past failures, fear of success, low esteem etc’, as well as your upbringing g and the past programming you have been subjected to have all accumulated into limiting beliefs’.
Here are 5 Top Tips for ridding yourself of Inner chatter that does not benefit or serve you!
1. Reliance and trust in Allah:
Look to our greatest role models for encouragement. We need to put our trust in Allah 100 % knowing that nothing can happen except by HIS will. Total trust in Allah will enable us to accomplish our wildest dreams. Hajar, Marayam, Soumaya and Asiya were all great resilient women full of drive and determination who put their trust in Allah.
Imagine you have been left in the middle of nowhere, no food, no shelter, no security and with a baby? How would you feel? Hajar asked Ibrahim (AS) “Has your Lord commanded you to this?” He replied in the affirmative “Yes”, and then she said “He will not abandon us.” It was her Tawwakul (Trust) that she had in Allah that made her cope with such a difficult situation. Hajar embraced uncertainty; she felt the fear and accepted it.
Muhammad Ibn Abi Imran narrates that he heard someone ask Shaykh Hatim al-Asum how he reached to his level of reliance upon Allah. Shaykh Hatim al-Asum replied, “I became convinced in four things (i.e. that these four things penetrated my heart). One, I am convinced that no one else will eat the provision Allah has decreed for me, so I am content. Two, I am convinced that no one else is going to do good works except me, so I am busy doing them myself. Three, I am certain death shall come unexpectedly, so I am busying myself in expectation of it. And four, I am certain I shall never escape the sight of Allah, so I am shy to disobey Him while He is watching.”
2. Self- Indulged powerful statements of positive affirmation
Affirmations are positive statements that you speak out loud when you need encouragement. They are always formatted to accentuate the positive as if the desired results have already been achieved. So, if you are being held back by self-limiting belief that you’ll never be able to memorise the Qur’an, you could start saying these affirmations:
- So far Allah is pleased with me I careless what anyone else thinks!
- No matter what happens, I can handle it!
- Which favours of your Lord will you deny?
- Just do it! Face it Head on!
- Allah knows I can handle it and that’s why HE has given me this test!
- Allah will not burden the shoulder of HIS slave with what he cannot bear
- I deserve the success that has come into my life
3. Befriend Fear
Fear of failure or success is the biggest and main obstacle that holds people back. As a result we end up sabotaging ourselves unconsciously, at the same time lowering our self esteem. Don’t play the regret game. A great person once said “How do you know that the thing you are regretting isn’t the thing that led you to something great? There are no regrets except lessons to learn. Fear throws us off balance, giving us a sense of insecurity an uncertainty. You need to become fearless, just feel the fear and do it anyway. Whenever you walk through fear, you overcome an inner barrier that has held you back and you can now move on to new terriority. We will never exactly welcome fear, but we can learn to accept it as part of change. See your fear as an opportunity to grow and play to your strengths.
4. Commit to positive thinking!
Avoid statements such as “I can’t do it” instead start saying “How can I do this?” This way you will become more open to new possibilities and solutions. Notice the negativity in your attitude, i.e., such as, “Who will give me a job at this age?” Change it to “I will get a job at this age!” “How is this possible?” “I feel powerless” replace with “I empower myself by taking responsibility for my own life” Start exploring ways to make it come true! You will become more aware of your subconscious inner chatterbox and challenge the thoughts immediately.
5. Why? – think about why you are really replaying and looping a thought on over and over
Ask yourself these questions;
- Is this thought you believe is true? i.e. “I never complete a task”
- Can you absolutely say for certain it’s true?
- How do you react and feel when you believe this thought?
- If you did not have this thought, what would life be like? Close your eyes and look at your life without it, how do you feel?
- Turn this thought on its head by saying “I complete tasks!” Now how does that feel?
I will conclude with the following story;
A grandfather told his grandson, that inside all humans “There is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.”
“One wolf is evil and ugly: He is anger, envy, war, greed, self-pity, sorrow, regret, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, selfishness and arrogance.”
“The other wolf is beautiful and good: He is friendly, joyful, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, justice, fairness, empathy, generosity, true, compassion, gratitude, and deep VISION.
The grandson looked up at his grandfather and asked, “Which one will win?” The grandfather replied, “The one you choose to feed!”
* a DiscoverU LifeCoach certified coach, trained by Muhammad Alshareef.
Check Khafayah’s website www.umuka.com