Are you experiencing disempowering thoughts?
There is plenty of talk about empowering beliefs, the idea that what we believe can change our lives- well the negative side of that also holds true. The problem with talk about having a positive attitude is that it ignores those negative whispering thoughts we carry around in our heads. Unless we shine a light on those disempowering thoughts they will continue to lurk in the shadows of our subconscious. If thoughts are things, they have the power to shape our lives and our beliefs. The Law of Attraction states that we attract what we are, what we believe, what we think. We pull a matching energy to ourselves. To change that energy from negative to positive we first have to recognize that the negative exists.
having qualities that give a person or a group of people the means to take more control of their lives and become stronger and more independent
Therefore, disempowering means taking that control away, weakening and making someone feel dependent on others or outside forces. The power to change your life lies in your own hands, however tough your life may feel. You can take control of negative circumstances, you just need the tools. Disempowering thoughts are a form of self sabotage, bringing you down.
Disempowering thoughts may have their root in your past
When we feel negative about ourselves it is often a result of past experience, going back to childhood. If you were regularly told that you could not do something; that you were not “good enough” you can come to believe that. If your life was littered with times you failed and you were not supported to try again, you can translate that into feeling a failure at everything. That negative comment you take to heart becomes part of your own disempowering thoughts. Tony Robbins talks about finding the root of your disempowering beliefs before being able to move forward. He describes our beliefs as,
…often our beliefs are misinterpretations of past events. How do ideas turn into beliefs? Think of an idea like a tabletop with no legs. Without any legs, the tabletop won’t even stand up by itself. Belief, on the other hand, has legs. To believe something, you have references to support the idea—specific experiences that back up the belief. These are the legs that make your tabletop solid and that make you certain about your beliefs.
It makes sense then, to deal with the root of your disempowering thoughts and shift your energy to empowering thoughts instead. If looking back at your past is painful you may want to start with finding pleasure and happiness in your present. If you experienced significant trauma in your past, I do urge you to seek professional help to resolve those issues. Ignoring extreme past pain simply leaves it hanging like a dark cloud over your present and future, so ask for help.
Using present moment awareness to manage disempowering thoughts
When we carry negative thoughts around in our heads all day it stops us from connecting with the beauty and happiness around us. Living remorsefully in the past will keep us stuck there. It may seem a small step but becoming aware of what is good and positive right now, today, this moment goes a long way to reducing those thoughts. Focus on the good, think of one good thing you did today and just how great the day looked is your first step. if you truly cannot find one small thing to smile about then resolve to create a positive memory and action tomorrow. It can be as simple as smiling at someone or helping somebody with a small task, without being asked.
Resolve to live in the present and each time your thoughts drift backwards to a negative past, focus on something right now to bring your thoughts back to today. I find that nature, animals and small children are great things to focus on. Nature is full of beauty, take time to smell those roses. Animals are so funny and blissfully unaware of the debt crisis or media doom and gloom! Small children are so curious and interested in everything around them- watch their concentration on the tiniest things and marvel at their delight at the simple things in their lives.
Learn to watch and identify your disempowering thoughts
Now, this takes a bit of practice, but if you learn to harness your inner observer you can watch and catch those disempowering thoughts before they take hold and create beliefs. Start with calming your mind; often our thoughts are chaotic and swirl around our heads in a jumble. This chaos makes it hard to manage your thoughts and can be very tiring too. Practice sitting quietly, feet on the ground, eyes closed and breathing deeply. This is the start of meditation, you don’t have to be cross legged or sitting on a hill to do this! Learn my 4 by 4 breath, in to the count of four and out to the count of four. We tend to breathe too quickly and shallowly in everyday life- rushing out breath the way we rush our lives. Slow, deep breathing and quiet contemplation are more refreshing than any cup of coffee. In that quiet you may notice negative self talk creeping in, maybe, “I don’t have time for this, I don’t deserve to sit here doing nothing, I’m too busy”…… Everyone deserves quiet time and being too busy to take a breath is a sign that your life is not your own.
Stop punishing yourself with disempowering thoughts
Our disempowering thoughts are sometimes a kind of self-punishment for something we think we did wrong. If you have done something wrong, own up to it, apologize, make reparation. Do not go over and over it again in your head, paralyzing yourself. We all make mistakes; the right thing to do is own up to them, put them right and vow not to do it again, then move forward. You help nobody, including yourself by hanging onto guilt for past errors. Maybe you weren’t good enough to do something in the past and maybe you failed. Does that mean you cannot succeed in the future? NO! Henry Ford had five failed businesses before his success with the Ford Motor Company. Bill gates dropped out of Harvard and his first venture was a spectacular flop before he started Microsoft. Oprah Winfrey had a rough childhood and was once fired as a television reporter for being “unfit for TV”. Do you think these examples allowed disempowering thoughts to rule their lives?
Move from disempowering thoughts to empowering beliefs
You can change your belief system by finding new thoughts to replace those old ones. Make a conscious decision to choose happiness and your energy shifts. Look yourself squarely in the mirror every day and tell your self you are beautiful, smart, capable, resilient- whatever it takes to lift the clouds of past thinking. Leave yourself messages to read when you have a loss of self esteem. Surround yourself with positive supportive people- banish those moaning minnies and “dementor” type friends- you don’t need them. Write a gratitude list and refer to it when those disempowering thoughts creep back in. Listen to my radio show and learn more about changing those thoughts and feeling good about your self again.
Email me and let me know what disempowering thoughts you are struggling with – or leave a comment below. If you have strategies you use- then share them with other readers of this post by commenting below. Above all, choose happiness first and riches will follow.