Editor’s Note: UPDATED as of October 18, 2016 for relevance and accuracy.
Face it. Words are powerful.
What we say to others is extremely important, because words are communication and energy going into the world, representing us and creating our relationships.
But what we say to ourselves is more crucial – because it determines our beliefs: powerful constructions deeply embedded in our brains and behavior. These beliefs determine our results in life.
Most of our ideals are created by the unconscious, undisciplined part of the mind, which generates a flow of nonsensical, unhelpful dribble. Good luck manifesting a happy life from those words!
We can actually believe anything. Remember when the world was believed to be flat? And we thought diets worked? Or women were incapable of running a corporation and men were incapable of changing a diaper? (Well, that was a long time ago, but read about it on Wikipedia. LOL!)
Empowerment stems from awesome beliefs.
As we made up the ideals we believed in – we were inadequate, destined to fail, not good enough – WHATEVER! – I ask all my coaching clients to make up beliefs that get them jazzed about life.
Here are five of my favorite empowering beliefs:
1. I am a unique.
We are all unique human beings, with a unique set of values and talents. So much pain comes from comparing ourselves to others, and finding ourselves lacking.
Comparison is always unloving.
Your path is undoubtedly different than mine, and just as valid and valuable.
When we embrace our uniqueness, which involves getting to know ourselves, we develop a sweet self-affection for our strengths and weaknesses, our best qualities, and our bumbling goofs and mistakes in life.
2. My life doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
There’s a system that guarantees a dull, empty life. It looks like society’s “norm”: a certain level of education, career success, thin, healthy, personally paired-up, mortgaged home, picket fence, 2.3 kids, 1.4 pets, 2 cars, etc.
My coaching practice is full of people desperate to fill these criteria, without acknowledging they’ve unconsciously been avoiding it for years, or even decades. Yep, all that self-sabotage? It was probably self-protection!
After all, this “norm” streams into our minds in every waking moment, from media, web, and phone, from Facebook and social media, from parents and “concerned” family. We are virtually told to “get these things and you will be happy.”
But happiness has never been so elusive and confusing, given the myriad of choices we have today. Many people can’t keep themselves well-fed and cope with the high frequency stress and busyness of life, much less parent a pet or child. Some folks don’t thrive neatly partnered up.
I’d be filthy rich if I had a dollar for every female client who convinced herself she had to be married, achieved that objective in her 40s or 50s, and WANTED OUT so fast, it would make your head spin like the Exorcist child.
One of my happiest clients relinquished the “partnered up” dream after coaching helped her drill into her need for a husband. Her deepest yearning was to travel and experience different cultures, and she had created a deep belief she needed a husband to travel safely. Really?
Yep, that was her belief. (Remember, we make this sh*t up!)
It was also a great big excuse for not living.
She wound up quitting her job and joining a travel group, which got her interested in more travel, which led to a new career with a major travel company.
Crafting life to make you happy is key. It is up to each of us to get to know our unvarnished selves, and make the key decisions that align us with our true selves.
It’s never too late to pursue our heart’s desires. It’s never too late to create empowering beliefs.
3. Nothing is personal.
Let’s face it. Life is full of drama. People dump their beliefs and ideas on us, as well as their judgment and criticism. But ALL of it – 100 percent of it – is THEIR stuff.
People with self-loathing will gladly share it with us (if we let them). Disappointed, deeply unhappy folks will feel better if we experience the doldrums with them (if we allow it). And multitudes of human beings will spread their fear over, through and into us (even if we don’t notice).
Recognizing we all share ourselves constantly, through every interaction, helps us take NOTHING personally.
Any time someone is truly dumping on you, take a moment and notice just how desperately unhappy they are. Then, run. Because our energy and attitude are either raised or lowered by those with which we spend our precious time. Surround yourself with people who practice empowering beliefs.
4. I am grateful.
Research into happiness has pointed to this key phrase as the most powerful we can use.
Gratitude must come from the heart. Reveling in gratitude is a creative, reassuring, stress-free activity. It reframes any difficulty, dilemma or challenge.
One of my favorite phrases is “Thank you for giving me [fill in the blank].” Even when we hear something we don’t want to hear (“You’re fired.” “I’m leaving.” “I hate you.”), find a way to say thank you.
After all, that phrase we don’t want to hear is pointing us somewhere new, and somewhere much, much better.
5. Nobody is the boss of me!
We all yearn for self-determination. In fact, we grow itchy, uncomfortable and rebel against control from other people, family, diets, corporations, institutions and government.
When we are in charge of ourselves – and, by this, I mean being in charge of our responses and reactions – conditions and circumstances don’t rule our lives. Unfathomable change can be rocking our sea and we are happy to be on the ride.
Good times and bad roll off our backs. We welcome the natural ups and downs of life. We navigate waters rough and calm. We flow. This is the power of these empowering beliefs!
Get To It! Create Empowering Beliefs
It’s entirely in our power to create the beliefs that will motivate us, help us attain goals that are meaningful, and support us. Studies show the root of most relationship problems is expecting the “unexpectable” from a partner.
It’s natural to want a spouse, friend or partner to affirm and love us. But, in many parts of our lives, we are our only witness. In those situations, we’re the only confirmation our best selves are showing up in life.
Creating and managing empowering beliefs is part of that personal, intimate self-care which supports a more rewarding, exceptional life.