We have all been there.
A job interview is looming, and we begin to doubt our skills and abilities. We’ve started dating someone wonderful, only to suddenly feel overwhelmed with the feeling that we aren’t good enough for them. We dream of taking a leap – of changing careers, or writing a book, for example, only to get dropped on our asses with the feeling that to do so is impossible and could never actually happen. There is too much other stuff to do, and deep down, we feel we do not deserve to achieve our dreams or earn our successes. Doubt has taken a grip on our minds.
It sucks. It’s awful. It is totally self-limiting.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could go into that job interview with our head held high, full of confidence, and with an inner knowing that we not only deserve it, but that the company would greatly benefit from our work. If we didn’t sabotage every new relationship with our own irrational thoughts that we don’t measure up (regardless of how lovely the other really thinks we are), if we didn’t hold ourselves back from our dreams, and dove into the work with which our true heart is aligned?
The good news is, we can.
And doing so is actually quite simple. Easier than pie, actually ;)
(You can trust me on this, I am a bit obsessed with pie and have made hundreds in my day.)
First, let’s take a look at the science behind some ways that doubt cripples the reality that we experience:
1) Doubt Gets You in a Rut – Literally.
We know from neuroscience that our thoughts and actions cause neural circuits in the brain to fire.
When we have a repetitive thought, those neural circuits are reinforced and strengthened.
When continued, repetitive thoughts create a pathway between circuits in the brain that reinforce the occurrence of the thought.
A pattern is forming, and becomes automatic. Like a well worn path, as it is trod again and again, a rut begins to form that makes altering that path a challenge.
Imagine a trail made through a wood. At first the path is non existent, then as a few bodies walk along, the path becomes clearer, over time with hundreds of footsteps, the path sets down deeper into the earth, and rises a bit on the sides. A rut is formed. Now, when traveling through the wood, it is nearly impossible not to stay on the rutted path. So, we continue down that path, and the rut deepens further still. It is fair to see that if we continue on in this way, the rut could get so deep, that not only can we not see another way, but pulling ourselves up out of the deep path and starting anew feels daunting, impossible even.
So now, imagine that the path through the wood is the pathway of a thought in your brain. You have a thought, synapses fire in response, electric or chemical signals pass along a circuit, and result in a behavior.
The more frequently we have that thought, the more frequently those same synapses fire along the same circuitry in brain, and the more frequently you exhibit the same behavioral response.
Sometimes this is a really good thing! For instance, when I see my daughter, I think “Love,” the associated synapses fire, send signals down the well worn path circuit, and the result is the behavior of me scooping her up in a big hug and showering her with kisses. This is a positive example of a circuit rut that I wouldn’t want to alter (although my daughter may require that I do as she grows older and embarrassed by my behavior).
The reason that I am writing this today, is to draw your attention to how damaging holding negative thoughts can be.
All too often, we get in negative thought patterns that lead to negative behaviors. Science has a term for this: a ‘negative-feedback-loop.’ What this means for us in this discussion, is that having one negative thought leads to having another negative thought. And so on and so forth, and on into a downward spiral of hopeless despair.
Mark Williams and Danny Penman go into greater detail as to how engaging in negative thinking gets us trapped in this pattern, and how to alter the course in their book, Mindfulness: An Eight Week Course for Finding Peace in aFrantic World.
2) Doubt Limits Brain Growth and Development
Another wonderful addition to our understanding about brain development and function, came from the groundbreaking research led by Wei-Chung Allen Lee of MIT, and detailed in the December 27, 2005 issue of the journal for the Public Library of Science (PLOS) Biology.
Neuroscientists had known for decades that adult neurons can change their firing patterns and responses when faced with new experiences, but here was new evidence that showed that adult neurons (brain cells) can actually change their structures in response to new experiences.
So, not only does learning create new synapses in the brain, but it actually changes the structure of the brain cells, themselves.
Great, but what does this have to do with our topic?
Well, if the human brain, at any age, is able to alter and grow when faced with new experience, that tells us that:
Our brains grow when we cast aside old, negative thought patterns.
Holding onto negative thought patterns limits brain growth.
3) Doubt Compromises Your Dreams
Have you had the opportunity to watch THE BRAIN with David Eagleman on PBS? If not, check it out here.
In this series, Eagleman peers into how our subconscious does in fact, create our own unique view of reality.
So, the idea that we create our reality is in fact true.
Our thoughts create the reality we experience.
Thinking negative thoughts will produce for us a negative reality and future, whereas thinking positive thoughts will produce for us a positive reality and future.
4) Doubt Causes You to Lose Trust With Yourself
Because the doubt(s) you are holding is a lie. The Universal Truth that I have learned from my work with Spirit, is that:
WE ARE LIMITLESS BEINGS
POTENTIAL WITHOUT END.
Any thought that deviates from this truth is a lie.
When we repeatedly live, act, and think in a way that deviates from the core truth that we are limitless beings, then we are living a lie.
We then become so detached from our Truth, that depression sets in. The negative feedback loop ensues in full force, and the reality that we experience becomes quite dire indeed.
We simply cannot live authentically happy lives if we are lying to ourselves.
When we focus on doubt, we are out of line with the Universal Truth that we are Limitless Beings.
Without fully embracing that Truth, every breath is a lie.
Without fully embracing that Truth, creating a positive reality becomes impossible.
Doubt is one of the worst feelings to hold toward oneself, because it is such a deep lie that permeates our beings, our minds, our todays, and our tomorrows.
5) Doubt Destroys the Possibility of Happiness
In these detrimental ways that we’ve discussed, the presence of doubt in our minds, eliminates the possibility of happiness.
From a neurological point of view, doubt leads to more doubt, which leads to more doubt.
Holding the same negative thought patterns limits the growth of our brains, and beings.
Holding on to a lie about oneself puts us at odds with our very being, which is an immovable roadblock to your happiness and success.
Phew, OK, so doubt is the happiness destroyer. Got it. Now what?
Thankfully, the answer is simple.
(Remember how Einstien said the simplest answer is always best?)
ANSWER = CREATE NEW SYNAPSES IN YOUR BRAIN
Do this by systematically replacing the thoughts of doubt, fear, and any lower emotions with the flip-side of it.
For instance, replace the thought:
“I’m not good at what I do, no one will hire me.”
“I am good at what I do. I have many valuable skills and assets, and any company would be lucky to have me on their team.”
EVEN IF you don’t believe it. Even if you have to force it out, and feel that THIS is lying, it is crucial that you DO IT.
Remember Charlie Chaplin’s classic (he is my all-time favorite artist!), “Smile.” This song is both a heart-breaker, and heart-builder. And with a Truth so deep, that I can attest to it’s ability to turn a life around. I sobbed through singing this song for months, until I found myself smiling unforced. Overtime, an honest joy began to bloom in my heart. Honest to God, it healed my heart.
It’s just like that saying, "fake it til you make it."
It WORKS, my friends. It really, truly works, and is so easy.
And you don’t need anything but yourself to do it!
Simply begin to notice the negative thoughts as the rise, and allow yourself to gently work on replacing them.
Write them down if this is helpful for you (it is for me).
The key is to just commit to noticing negative thoughts, and replace them with a positive flip – whether or not you believe the positive to be true.
Continue to do this and it WILL BECOME TRUE.
I promise you. It is as simple as that.
Creating a beautiful reality, full of all of your wildest dreams, is as simple as holding the thought in your mind.
You are a limitless being, and were meant to function as such.
If you’d like more guidance or assistance on how to achieve your dreams, visit my website, to schedule a one-on-one session today!