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How Can I Stop Self-Doubt?

Dear Lynn:

My husband just accepted a job offer that requires a move to another state. Part of me is excited, but mostly I’m scared, anxious and making everyone around me miserable. I worry about how my daughter will fare in her new school, whether I (and she) will be able to make friends and if my husband will enjoy his new job. You name it, I worry about it. Can intuition be helpful here? Do you have any advice for me?

Dear Jenny

Thanks for your question, Jenny! You speak for a lot of us who struggle with that pesky inner critic. It’s especially important to talk about this in a column on intuition. When we listen to our inner guidance it often encourages us to make a change in our lives and move outside our comfort zone. Of course, when we do this, that self-critical voice seems to raise the volume. It seems to say, “Who are YOU to do this new and wonderful thing?!! You’re not good enough!”

When I began my business over twenty years ago I gave my clients fairly traditional “psychic readings.” I talked to them about what I saw in their future. A traditional reading implies the philosophy that the future is etched in stone and you cannot change it. Your fate is sealed by some unknown force — God, karma or kismet. Over a several year period I began to doubt that assumption. I began to read people’s beliefs.

I came to understand that what my clients held in their minds or what they believed, created what occurred in their lives. The beliefs they held created their future. This presented a huge dilemma for me. I could no longer simply tell clients, “Here’s what I see for you.” So I began to talk to them about how they create their lives and what’s the meaning of events that happen to them.

Discovering and correcting limiting beliefs is absolutely essential if you want to create a life you love. Here are some examples of limiting beliefs:

  • Life is difficult and suffering is unavoidable.
  • I’ll never get ahead.
  • I was born unlucky.
  • All good things must come to an end.
  • If something good happens, something bad must follow.
  • You have to work hard every day in order to succeed.
  • This is my lot in life. You can’t change things.
  • Money doesn’t come easily.
  • When you get old, you inevitably get sick, weak and feeble.
  • There’s not enough to go around.

People have individual beliefs that impair their ability to create a life they love. You indicated a few of them. Here are some examples I call the tyranny of “not enoughs:” I’m not smart enough. I’m not educated enough. I’m not thin enough. I’m not old (or young) enough. I’m not rich enough.

Just writing down all those limitations makes me depressed! The main point is that if any one of those limiting beliefs is true for you, you’ll have trouble creating a life you love. That’s why simple affirmations don’t always work. If you repeat the affirmation, “I am healthy,” and yet you firmly believe that as you grow older you’ll inevitably become chronically ill and weak, you have a strong opposing core belief and your affirmations will probably be ineffective.

You may receive wise guidance every moment of the day and yet if you have strongly held negative beliefs, this guidance won’t be able to get through. You won’t allow in the very intuition that is meant to direct you. Suppose you want to start a business doing something you love. You feel excited about it and begin to have some success and yet you hold a strong core belief that, “You just can’t trust people. Everyone is out to rip you off.” What’s your guess about what you’ll end up creating? An employee who steals from you? A bookkeeper who embezzles your company’s funds? Or perhaps a client who reneges on his agreement to pay for your product?

I’d like to suggest a few ideas to you. The first is an intuition exercise that I call the “Belief Makeover Process.”

Intuition Exercise: Belief Makeover Process

So how do you begin to turn around a negative core belief? First, it’s necessary to become aware of this belief. It’s not unconscious or invisible as some people would have you think. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Is there some chronic situation that continually repeats in my life? Examples:

  1. Perhaps you’re always finding yourself in a relationship with someone who cheats on you.
  2. You continually have run-ins with authority figures.
  3. You’re always overlooked for a promotion at work.

Ask yourself, “what belief do I hold that might impact this chronic situation?”

In the above examples a person who experiences “1” might hold the belief, “You just can’t trust men (or women.) The person who experiences “2” might hold a strong belief about their own lack of ability or education. Thus they need to “prove they are right” in experiencing conflict with authority figures. The person who experiences “3” might have the belief, “I’ll never get ahead. This is my lot in life.”

Ask yourself, “Is this belief a fact or a perception?” Here’s the tricky part — because you hold a strong belief about an issue, you are going to create it in your life. Your belief will appear to be true. The world around you will reinforce your belief. Part of the task in releasing a belief that no longer works for you is to begin to see it as a perception you have about your life. It’s possible to change a perception. If you’re willing to do this you will create a profound change in your life.

Am I willing to change my belief? If so, what am I willing to change it to?

What outcome do you want to create? Changing a strong core belief isn’t as easy as simply stating affirmations. Begin with small steps. Your task right now is to entertain the possibility that what you want to create is possible. Often when people try to do affirmations they take too big of a leap. For example, if you’re overwhelmed with credit card debt and you’re trying to believe and affirm, “I have an abundance of money,” you probably won’t succeed.

Be willing to say, “I believe it’s possible to have…”

  • enough money
  • a good relationship with my kids
  • a healthy body
  • a loving partner
  • happy relationships with my peers
  • work that I love

What do you want? Ask your intuition for help. Imagine your intuition as your own personal cheerleading squad. It has been with you from the day you were born, giving you encouraging messages like, “You are worthy. Be willing to take a risk to do what you love. I am here for you. Here’s an idea about how to proceed. Let me help you.” It has communicated with you through images, dreams, words, ideas that pop into your head, physical sensations and inner promptings. Can you grasp how hard it is for your intuition to help you when you’re full of untruths such as, “I’m not worthy. Nothing good ever happens to me?”

So Jenny, in closing, be willing to change those thoughts, open up to the possibility that your life could be different, and I guarantee that your intuitive guidance system will respond with wild cheers, and your life will begin to change for the better. When you shift your beliefs to allow for the possibility that you could have a life you love, you open up a channel of loving encouragement. Don’t close it off. It’s there to help you achieve success beyond your wildest dreams.