We all know someone who can’t seem to get out of his/her own way: a neighbor who, despite admirable intelligence and a zest for life, keeps ending up in destructive relationships; a co-worker who responds to stress by eating; a friend who, despite undeniable talent and skill, sabotages himself and gives up before he ever completes a project or pursues a life dream. These people have one thing in common: They are mired in negative behavior patterns.
Every negative pattern begins with the seed of a perceived limitation. Sometimes it’s planted by someone who had great influence on your life, such as a well-intentioned parent whose idea of protecting you from failure and disappointment meant never allowing you to take risks as a child, a teacher who said you lacked skill in a particular area, or a spouse who convinced you that you’re unattractive or incapable in an effort to bolster his or her own sense of security. The problem is, as we begin to perceive these ideas as personal truths, we attract experiences that reinforce those negative beliefs, making them stronger and more believable. For example, when we don’t take risks we don’t achieve anything, so we begin to believe that we are failures or that we’re unworthy of ever being successful in the first place.
The truth is, you won’t experience things that exist outside of your expectations, so if you’re stuck in a negative pattern, the best thing you can do is change your expectations from negative ones to positive ones.
How do you do that, exactly?
1. First, you have to notice the pattern. This can be a challenge because negative patterns tend to be knee-jerk reactions that result from unconscious beliefs. Still, if you’re feeling pain, inferiority, sadness or a sense of discomfort that you’ve felt countless times before, that’s a dead giveaway that something needs adjusting.
2. Next, you have to slow down long enough to consider where the feelings are coming from, and where the pattern may have begun. Too often, we’re moving so fast that we don’t take the time to suture a wound. Left to fester, it will never heal, and you will never move on.
3. Understand that you have the absolute power to create your own reality. You have a right to challenge self-defeating beliefs and replace them with more loving, positive ones. For example, rather than telling yourself you’re a failure for not reaching a certain goal, try remembering that you’ve learned something from an attempt and that you’ve grown from it. Rather than focusing on what’s not working in your life, try really seeing what is working and what is available to you, and start building on that.
By shifting your perceptions toward more positive beliefs, you’ll not only empower yourself but experience more peace, hope, success, and happiness, reinforcing the new expectations and attracting even more of the same. After all, you deserve that kind of life. “No one can attract happiness into their lives if they think they don’t deserve it… Truly love yourself, and everything else will fall into place.” – Anonymous
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