I still remember the day I stood in a friend’s driveway, picking up my two year-old son. She tended him while he played with her children for a few hours, because I was at a work meeting and needed help. As we visited a while, I recall saying several things about why I couldn’t be a stay home mother.
It was as if I believed she was judging me and expected an explanation for my life. This was a moment in which I apologized for the life I was living and for all that I was. I remember wishing I was different and being sorry about that, too. Regardless of what my friend was really thinking, my state was evidence of faulty thinking and limiting beliefs.
My thoughts were faulty thinking I developed about my church community. My friend and I both belonged to a religious community that seemed built around the concept of stay-at-home moms. Many women in our church group stayed home to raise their children while their husbands worked. I observed that I was an anomaly. I did not see any other working moms in our church community. Rather than being confident in my chosen path, I thought I was “wrong.”
The truth about our faith is that families are the most important part of the gospel, not that everyone in the practicing church community must adhere to the same exact practices in how that is lived out.
Getting in touch with the truth of one’s faith community can build strength and confidence that fight against faulty thinking. Likewise, knowing one’s purpose and strengths can give directions that fights against this type of thinking. With a clear sense of who you are and what gift you can contribute, you can live with confidence on your path even when others expect unrealistic things from you.
My limiting beliefs about the cultural norms and expectations my friends had within our church community held me back in many ways. I didn’t want to share things I did at work, and I did not socially invest in my friendships. I missed out on the enjoyment, love, and support I could have experienced with church friends. Instead, I assumed that I did not “measure up,” and I lived apologetically.
Limiting beliefs can hold us back from enjoying the richness of life and connecting with other people. Limiting beliefs are “red flags” because when they come up, they send us the message that we need to stop and examine our thinking.
If your cultural group or church group seems to have expectations or assumptions that are not really its doctrine, I suggest looking at the core values and doctrine of the group to determine whether your beliefs about the expectations are valid. In doing this, you can determine what value the doctrine itself has for you and how to dismiss limiting beliefs that creep in.
Clear Things Up
We don’t know others’ back stories, and we don’t always see the truth because of our assumptions, distortions, past experiences, and other matters. In the situation with my friend in the driveway, I did not know that my assumption was wrong. My friend did not assume I should have been a stay-at-home mom. Even if she did, that would have been her thought to work on, not mine. What others think or assume about me is their own business.
We cannot see the big picture when entertaining faulty thinking and limiting beliefs. In the situation I’ve shared here, I later noticed several other women in my church group who also worked while raising their children. It took me years to notice that. Are there any areas in your life where you feel held back, and where you would like to see more clearly?
Live with Truth and Confidence
We each have a purpose and a unique path to carve out in life. Just like me, you have values, strengths, gifts, and talents that differ from those of other people. These attributes are truth. You are unique because of the special combination of things that create and drive you. For a free check on your own character strengths, click here.
Whether you exercise your attributes raising children at home, working in a profession, or serving in other venues, your contribution is the unique set of traits you bring and how you show up in your life. Living with truth will bring you confidence to show up in life as you are. Living with this truth about who you are will help you let go of things that hold you back and enhance your strengths. You can become who you were meant to be and who you would like to become.
Living with truth means that you take stock of your inner self and assess the facts in your own life. To do this, it is critical to recognize faulty thinking and assumptions that become excuses and barriers. Reducing this inner noise gives you space to think clearly and align your life with your unique palette of attributes. Working with a life coach can be an excellent way to identify limiting beliefs and replace them with healthier thoughts, and life coaching is for everyone.
Take a Step Today
If you are unsure about your values, strengths, gifts, and talents, there are many assessments available to provide you with awareness. Tools can help you determine which values you are most about. There are tools that identify what strengths you innately possess. There are tools that uncover other assets you already have that can bring purpose and satisfaction to the way you live your life. While not a final answer, using assessments to learn about yourself can be the first step in letting go of faulty thinking and limiting beliefs, to start living in truth and confidence.
To get started on your path of increased clarity and confidence, I recommend taking the VIA Character Strengths survey. Values and strengths fuel our thoughts, decisions, and actions. Knowing these things about yourself will benefit every area of your life. The VIA Character Strengths survey is an excellent starting point to bring additional clarity and reduce the competing noise in your personal life, work, and relationships.
Let’s Work Together
If you would like to explore your character strengths today, please click this link: VIA Character Strengths. When you take the survey through my link, I’ll ask you to share your name and e-mail address with me. I will use your e-mail to follow up by sending you free tools that begin focusing on your character strengths, so you can use them to feel better and show up the way you want to in your life. Because of my music background, I call this work “composing and choreographing” your life. Taking this first step, you can begin to envision the beautiful life you will have seeing yourself more clearly and confidently living truth. Take the step to look at your own character strengths by clicking this link.