Do you have a thought virus?
Do you ever feel hopeless, helpless or worthless? Then you may have a 'thought virus', or to give it its technical term - a limiting belief. Limiting beliefs act like a thought virus, and like a computer virus can spread if not sorted out.
The three most common of these generally centre on:
- Hopelessness: belief that your desired goal is not doable by you (e.g. no matter what I do it won’t make a difference)
- Helplessness: belief that your desired goal is possible but you aren’t capable of getting it (e.g. I know others can but I could never do it)
- Worthlessness: belief that you don’t deserve your goal (e.g. I’m a fake. I don’t belong. I don’t deserve to be happy).
What we need to do to move beyond these thought viruses is immunise ourselves against them. We need to do three things: challenge the limiting belief; spot the positive purpose; and ask the unanswered how.
Challenge the limiting belief head on by verbalising it. This is about admitting you have it and getting it out in the open; so, for any particular area in your life where you are stuck, complete some of the following statements:
- If I get what I want then…
- The situation will never change because…
- I can’t get what I want because…
- Things will never get better because…
- I don’t deserve to get what I want because…
Now look at some of your responses to the above. Many limiting beliefs still fulfil a positive purpose for us, e.g. self-protection; the perception of control; distraction. What are the positive purposes of your thought virus? What is it doing for you or protecting you from? Ask how to challenge the virus while keeping the positive purpose.
Many limiting beliefs are created because, as individuals, we don’t know how to do something. Because we don’t know how, we can then form a belief around it; for example, if I don’t know how to change my behaviour and become overwhelmed by it I can easily begin to believe that I can’t change it...and so why bother trying?
Now ask yourself how can you achieve what you want to achieve while still maintain the positive purpose? For example: How do I show my emotions and still maintain my self-control? How can I do something new and still stay safe? How can I lose weight and still feel like me?
You now have a question or two to consider and do some fact finding for. Go and find out the “how?”; where can you find out ideas on how to achieve what you want? Who can you go and speak to?
Of course, even starting on the journey involves choice. You need to make the choice whether you are going to take control of your hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness. In other words, will you choose to immunise against your thought virus and so build hope, take control and have self-worth?