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The Disease to Please

Have you heard the term self-limiting belief before? This is a term we use in coaching to describe those things you believe about yourself that place limitations on your abilities and the way you live your life. They may be conscious or unconscious. Our thoughts and beliefs colour our vision and perception of the world. They determine our actions or inactions. Thoughts affect feelings. Feelings affect behaviour. Behaviour produces results (or the lack of them). It all begins with our thoughts, since we have to accept a thought for it to become a belief.
It’s been said that whatever you believe becomes your reality. You do not believe what you see; rather you see what you already believe. For this reason, two people facing the same situation may interpret it differently, act according to their different beliefs and experience different outcomes.
Most self-limiting beliefs are not rational but the reality is that what you believe about yourself defines who you are.
Through my experience working with clients I have come across many such limiting beliefs. I will be sharing one with you in every newsletter. Here’s the first one. 
The disease to please: Having love, recognition and approval from family, friends, colleagues and peers is important.
As a result of this belief the person chooses to become a people pleaser out of a fear of rejection, disapproval, criticism or abandonment and therefore deny themselves the right to live a fulfilling life and bloom into their best self. They hide in the shadow and their Saboteur or inner critic runs the show. We can’t talk about self-limiting beliefs without mentioning the Saboteur. Here’s how the Co-Active Coaching book defines it: “The Saboteur concept embodies a group of thought processes and feelings that maintain the status quo in our lives. It often apears to be a structure that protects us, but in fact it prevents us from moving forward and getting what we truly want in life. The Saboteur will always be with us. It is neither good nor bad; it just is. The Saboteur loses its power over us when we can identify it for what it is, notice our options in the situation, and then consciously choose the action we really want at that time.”

Here are some clues to look for to identify this self-limiting belief.

Your saboteur’s favourite sentences:
– Whatever I do I’m never recognized for it 
– I should always go the extra mile and do beyond what is expected
– What will people think? What will people say about me? 
– I should always be nice
– I shouldn’t upset anyone
– I can never say No!
– I should always obey without questioning

States of mind and feelings that accompany the self-limiting belief:
– Fear
– Anxiety
– Jealousy
– Inadequacy
– Low self-esteem
– Lack of self-confidence
– sometimes self-hate
– internalized anger

Being aware of our self-limiting beliefs is the first step towards getting rid of them. Once we are aware we should be willing to make the necessary changes and take the necessary steps towards breaking out of the chains of these self-limiting beliefs. 
A healthy goal of the disease to please would be to have self-love, self-appreciation and self-dependence. 

If you feel that you have many self-limiting beliefs, understanding where they’re coming from might help you understand why you have developed them over the years. They have to do with your culture, the environment your grew up in, the way your parents raised you etc… but the bottom line is that today you have the choice and the power to change them.

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