Not so long ago, before I trained as a clinician and coach, I worked in radio. I was live on-air 5 mornings a week presenting a breakfast show for the Heart FM network. Life looked great from the outside.
But the truth is I was dogged by persistent self-doubt, haunted by imposter syndrome. I had worked hard, no, I had fought hard for my job. I'd achieved my dream and yet I rarely allowed myself to feel like I deserved it.
One day, after bumping into an old school friend who was full praise and kind words, it dawned on me: I had always believed I was stupid.
School was a disaster for me. I struggled to concentrate, focus was a nightmare. My teachers gave up on me and I gave up on school. At 14 I got a job washing hair at a hair salon in South London and I began to earn money. In my mind I thought "ok, I might not be able to prove myself academically but I can earn money so that'll have to do". I harnessed my drive in the pursuit of work.
That day when I bumped into my childhood friend, I couldn't get away from her quickly enough. I couldn't bear to hear her say nice things about my achievements because I had never let myself celebrate my wins. I was always striving for more, trying to prove something. It made me unhappy because I was not noticing how far i'd come.
The belief that I was stupid dogged me my whole life until that day. And yet something extraordinary had happened - I came to realise it was only I who could change my internal voice of self criticism. Once I realised that being stupid was something I had been led to believe in childhood by overworked teachers and a broken school system, a weight began to lift from my shoulders. Honestly, it was an epiphany.
What if I wasn't stupid? What if I stopped listening to others and allowed myself to connect with my achievements, celebrate my entrepreneurial spirit, what then? Well then everything changed. I obtained my clinical post-graduate degree with honours (one of the happiest days of my life), 100 hour Coaching qualification and became a certified Fitness Instructor. I realised I love learning.
We are susceptible to the beliefs of others particularly in childhood, but also very much in adulthood. Without even realising it we are soaking up the thoughts, beliefs and opinions of others which can be limiting to us. It can erode our confidence, lower our spirits and damage our self-belief. In short, it's detrimental to our emotional wellbeing to take on the beliefs of others as our own, without questioning it.
A fundamental thing to remember is that as we grow, from child to adult, we are influenced by everyone and everything around us, particularly those closest to us - school, family and friends.
Not everyone has a healthy outlook on life. Some people have a judgemental, negative attitude. Others may see life as hard or frightening. If you are trying to make changes in your life, heal from pain, move forward or grow in confidence and self-esteem, being susceptible to others limiting beliefs can really bring you down and hold you back.
So, how can you respond to this? How can you protect your mindset from the negative influences of others?
First, try auditing your beliefs. Question your outlook, consider your immediate responses to certain thoughts or ideas. Ask yourself: Does this thought or belief belong to me? Is this really what I believe or is this something i've been led to believe by someone else? What can I tell myself that will help keep me robust and resilient when I feel subject to the limiting beliefs of others?
Become the guardian of your mindset.
Become your own anchor, support your inner wellbeing by questioning the voices around you, what they say, the things they believe, how they make you feel.
This will help you cultivate a sense of inner strength and resilience.
You are a champion and you've got this.
Love as alway,