Many of us with addictions and mental health issues share in common a tendency to carry within us deeply disempowering limiting beliefs. While everyone’s beliefs are going to be unique to them, there are some limiting beliefs that many of us share – that we’re not good enough, that we are shameful, bad people undeserving of love, that we are destined to fail, that we’re too weak to heal ourselves. These beliefs stifle our potential, hinder our progress and keep us locked in cycles of self-destructiveness and self-disempowerment. Where do our limiting beliefs come from?
Very often our traumatic experiences have caused us to believe we are inherently unworthy. If we were abused or neglected, we often internalize this as evidence of our inadequacy. We might believe the hurtful, untrue, cruel things our abusers told us about ourselves. We interpret our trauma as meaning that we did something wrong, that we aren’t good or lovable.
Many of us grew up in homes full of criticism and judgment. Whether the critical comments were directed at us or at other people, we can internalize this criticism and become overly critical of ourselves. The way we’re treated in our formative years can become the foundation for our self-esteem and self-worth. The way other people speak to us can form the basis of our self-talk, how we process things, how we talk to ourselves, how we comfort and nurture ourselves. When we are growing up, we haven’t yet acquired the perspective that other people’s hurtful words are very often a reflection of their own inner pain, not of our shortcomings. We don’t understand yet that we shouldn’t take their unkindness personally.
Culturally we seem to thrive on competition, on judging each other, and on belittling one another in order to make ourselves feel better. These are a direct manifestation of our inability to heal our own inner pain, but before we understand this, we allow ourselves to absorb these very destructive ways of relating to each other. Societally we favor division over compassion. We prioritize self-determination over community. All of this can result in our believing harmful limiting beliefs that hold us back rather than serving us in moving forward.
Working to heal ourselves means looking at why we developed the limiting beliefs that are contributing to our mental and emotional health issues, and analyzing where they came from in the first place.
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