CBT or Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common way for you to deal with your harmful beliefs.
Despite being called a therapy, this is just one tool you can use when you want to make the necessary life changes for growth.
First, why would you need or want to change one or more of your beliefs?
Aren’t they important things you need to determine right from wrong?
Kinda, but you do a lot more with beliefs than you probably realize.
Anytime you have an unwanted behavior it is backed by one of your beliefs.
This means you will want to first be able to observe yourself so that you can make a call on what things you know you do that aren’t useful to your dreams.
I mention dreams here because everyone will have them and it’s also one of the easiest ways to tell where you will find motivation.
Without having a burning desire to achieve something, you will likely not try that hard to get it.
It’s okay also if you aren’t even sure what dreams you want because you can find them by eliminating the things that you don’t want. Sometimes doing it that way is easier because depending on your state of mind, you may not be ready to admit it.
One more thing to let you know before you start working on removing your limiting beliefs. There is a big difference between your emotions and your beliefs which can be a roadblock if you don’t understand.
Emotions are the feelings you have when your mind is trying to communicate with you. These will automatically change once you start to eliminate some of the beliefs that you are holding onto which aren’t helping you with your dreams.
This is why it’s important to go right to beliefs if you want to improve the way you feel, the way you behave, or the way you act in situations. The best way to find your beliefs is to write down your feelings over a few weeks or months.
That way you have some data that you can use to look for patterns. From those patterns, you will notice there are similarities which will lead you back to a belief. The other way to figure out your beliefs is to start asking questions which will force you to choose between a couple of things.
Once you do that and have figured out which patterns exist for you then it’s time to start replacing the bad ones with helpful ones.
What are the patterns to look for with CBT?
- Over Generalizations – This means you tend to think that everyone hates you or you may say things like the world is against me. Feeling that you are somehow a target because what other possibilities can there be?
- Labeling yourself – This means that you say things like I am stupid because I never come up with the correct answer or I am ugly because everyone teases me for wearing glasses. You don’t look for the good qualities that you have and instead, assume everything about yourself isn’t worth anything because you have labeled yourself as ugly or stupid.
- Ignore compliments – Since you already believe that you aren’t attractive you refuse to listen when people try to pay you a compliment. Instead, you engage in negative self-talk just to prove the compliment is untrue. Another way to say this is you tell yourself “yeah right I am too fugly to be handsome!”
- Freak out or overreact – You tend to expect the worse things when somebody else fails to do something you believe that they should have done. You said you would call me soon, I expected you to do it right when I got home. Now I believe that you don’t like me enough to keep your word and you’re dead to me. You may also jump to conclusions when somebody does something nice. When you get a gift you look for the catch or think why did they buy me a new shirt? Hmm, I must not have very good taste in clothing.
- Failing to understand emotions – Instead of knowing that emotions are just a form of communication between your subconscious and conscious minds, you think they indicate that you’re a piece of shit. Whenever you feel sad you assume that it makes you a crybaby, or whenever you get mad you think that you’re just a mean douche that nobody should like.
- Suffer from perfectionism – You think there is no use doing something if it has any flaws. You must do it better than anybody else or it’s a piece of junk. You will not let yourself feel pride when you accomplish something hard unless it meets your incredibly high and unreal expectations. You look at yourself in a way that is ridiculous because you don’t want to accept that everyone has flaws. Having something that is not perfect leads you to feel bad about yourself over and over again with no chance of ever getting to a place of joy.
- Personalizations – You feel like everything hinges on the role you play. When you teach somebody a trick you feel that you suck when they don’t do it right. Or that you’re a terrible teacher because someone doesn’t learn something right off the bat. You won’t understand that there are quite a lot of different roles that you play which make you an overall great person. Instead, it’s one role at a time that you judge yourself on and do it in a manner that is super critical.
Knowing about which patterns you have can improve the chances of you replacing the beliefs that go with them. For instance, perfectionism can be dealt with by removing the belief that you don’t make any mistakes.
When you start to figure out your why’s behind each pattern CBT will help you to observe your thoughts so that you can become a detective and catch them in the act.
CBT helps you to remove the harmful beliefs
Now that you understand what kind of patterns you need to watch out for, it’s important that you understand what to do after you catch yourself thinking them.
To do this I suggest you keep a notebook or a journal with you to at least be able to track how often the thoughts are coming up. You can also do this mentally if you want and will remember how many times certain thoughts come up.
The important part of CBT is to challenge every thought that you don’t want. This way you can disprove the relevance of them right away and not let them continue to linger in your mind.
Start by asking the question is it actually true? Is this something that I can prove is true or is this something I can prove is false? These will be thoughts like “I am an idiot for having done that.”
Obviously when you call yourself an idiot that implies that there is nothing you will be able to do well at. Or that there is too much difficulty for my simple little mind to understand why something was wrong of me to do.
Maybe you really are an idiot and you struggle with everything in life. That is still something you can change as long as you can train yourself to learn or to start reading more often.
Being an idiot means that you will never be able to understand the words in a book or the conversation that can lead you to gain an understanding of the subject.
Just as with anything, the more evidence or proof you can come up with in favor of what you want to be the better you will be able to move toward growth.
Let’s recap what you need to do:
- Whenever something negative comes to your mind, challenge it right away.
- Ask the question is this actually the truth or is it a lie I am telling myself
- Am I really this (belief or thought)? And is it something I want to stay?
- After thinking this is true you must prove it one way or the other.
- You won’t need to do anything if it’s false and you already have the proof to visualize it being false.
- Gather all the evidence that you can find that proves whether it’s true or not
- Keep looking for more evidence because the more you find the weaker or stronger the belief will become.
It’s a pretty simple process that you will be able to learn after practicing. Once you understand what you’re doing better make sure you do the work that is needed inside your journal that way you can track the progress you’re making.
How does CBT help with inferiority?
Before you begin I want to make sure you understand what inferiority means and what the difference between feeling inferior and having an inferiority complex means.
In my last post(overcome inferiority feelings), I covered each of these things so if you haven’t had the chance you need to go back now and read through it. Or if you are already familiar with what they both mean then by all means continue.
Hopefully, you know that inferior means that you have made a comparison between yourself and somebody else. This feeling comes when you don’t think that you are as good as the other person.
Some of the thoughts that will follow feeling inferior are things like I can never be as (blank) as them. Or that I am so much worse than her because I don’t have the intelligence to do that.
Your line of thinking is typically to put yourself down and then not give yourself any credit to learn to do that thing as well as the other person. The challenge is that you will need to build up your skills to your own specifications and not theirs.
Even with a mentor or when you train with somebody that you would label as incredible, you need to keep in mind that it’s not a competition. That you won’t need to be as good as somebody else because you will never have their same beliefs or dreams.
Anyways I just wanted to mention that part so that you see it’s only about the progress you can make and not about where you will or won’t measure up to.
Here are a few ways that you need to behave to get over inferiority when it’s necessary
- You walk into a room and people stop talking. You assume that they are talking about you and that it’s most likely negative. What can or what will you do to prevent this kind of limiting belief from happening?
- First, I want you to understand that it’s probably not always gonna be about you. Most people talk about things that are important to their own beliefs and that you’re just not everything that everyone always needs to talk about.
- Next, you need to understand why it is that you jump to a conclusion that they were talking about you. Why does it even matter when there isn’t anything that can be done (other than killing them or something extreme) about it because you don’t control them.
- Another thing is that even if they had been talking about you why does it mean it’s negative? What if they were talking about how great you look because they noticed you have been making positive changes in your life. Rather than embarrass themselves they all choose to stop talking about it because it’s just chit-chat. You actually are making them feel inferior because they are now jealous.
- You really must identify why it is that you are always assuming that things are the worst and not assuming that things are in your favor. So write down you’re why so that you can figure it out.
- When that is accomplished you will then want to figure out the ways to challenge this old belief about people talking only about you and making it negative. Ask yourself why did I choose to think this way? Why does it matter? What can I learn from this old belief? And how can I make sure it doesn’t continue to happen?
Once you have taken the time to figure things out a bit, it’s now time to make sure you can change your beliefs. This can be accomplished by doing a couple of things.
First, you want to understand your thought (why am I feeling less worthy than) next understand the emotion (feeling worthless or sadness). When you have both of those things you need to understand that you make the change when you replace the thoughts and/or the behavior (you may be avoiding people).
One more question though, do you understand what makes you worthy?
Depression and how to feel better with CBT
In this section, I want to show you how CBT can help you to start doing things that will make you feel better if you experience depression, anxiety, or shyness.
They can all be grouped in the same place because they all stem from the same place which is your emotions. Remember what I said earlier about what emotions really are?
Just your basic form of communication between two parts of your brain. There is quite a lot of information about the brain that will make these much easier, but I don’t want to get into it now because it’s not necessary.
Where do these emotions stem from and what is the purpose? To get your attention your subconscious mind sends these emotions or feelings to your conscious mind. That means you really do need to practice self-awareness so that you pick up on it as soon as it changes your mood.
The reason that you feel happy is that you are doing something that your sub mind understands as good for you. The reason you feel bad is that you are doing something that it knows isn’t helpful to your beliefs.
So you can do a lot of crap that isn’t very useful as long as you believe that it’s something important. Which is why people need to place goals to actually get things done. You don’t’ want to go changing your beliefs about what makes you happy since they usually come from pleasurable things you do consciously.
When somebody says to you to break the cycle, do you understand what they mean? Breaking the cycle has to do with your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. When you change your thoughts, you break the cycle.
When you acknowledge your feelings and understand why they are being communicated, you break the cycle by taking the appropriate action to change your behavior.
So it simply means you don’t think the way your thinking, you don’t feel the way your feeling or you don’t do something that you’re doing. This is the way you remove depression and it’s the reason people will want you to change your environment or remove yourself from a situation.
What about shyness and anxiety?
Once you understand that both are personality disorders you acquire as a result of a past childhood incident you will be able to go back and get to the root of them.
To help you in the meantime it’s the same method you can apply to break the cycle. When you feel shy isn’t it a feeling of not wanting to be seen or heard. And when you want to avoid people it’s likely you are wanting to keep from embarrassing yourself.
This means that when your sub mind sees people that you start to feel uncertain and your gut reaction becomes fight or flight. That triggers your anxiety which makes you stop being capable of coming up with things to say.
You can try to stand or sit there and endure the feelings which will quite possibly be noticeable. Or you can move away from the situation. Either way, it’s about practice, when you start to become more comfortable around people it’s because you have gotten to a point of understanding what they will do.
This removes the uncertainty you have and means you don’t need to run away. The best way to behave is to test out with all the people who you know. Try making an effort to show you’re interested in other people by making a nice gesture.
Unfortunately, not all people will take nicely to everyone so it’s a risk that you must learn to take. The challenge comes for you when you stay distanced from other people and keep holding onto your limiting belief that everyone is going to harm you.
You will not like the feeling so don’t expect yourself to become a social butterfly or become the life of the party after meeting people. This formation of a belief doesn’t happen that quick. It will take you several interactions with the same people before you can get comfortable.
Believe me when I say that it’s something you will change over time because there are a lot more people who are nice then there are people who are ass holes. So don’t think that with a limited amount of experience you are capable of gathering enough evidence to prove the belief you have about people leading only to pain.
Here are some useful examples that CBT will help you to do
Let’s say you have tried making friends with people and are still not getting invited to do things with them. What could be the problem that is leading to this miscommunication? Because you have made sure you are showing that you’re interested in them right?
In a situation like this, you may be saying one thing and your body or face is saying something else. This means you will want to study up on body language or learn to smile more often.
One of the weirdest feelings I went through is training myself to consciously smile more often. In fact, after doing it for a while it still feels weird because I learned very early on to try and remain indifferent.
Why is a smile important though? Because people around you will feel uneasy if you say one thing but have a straight face or look sad or angry. That indicates to others that you may be lying about what you’re saying.
How does CBT help you to learn this? It’s the same thing as negative thinking because your body will have been trained to behave a certain way. Even when you’re thinking positively about the people you like, your belief still hasn’t changed yet.
When you become more capable of showing your sub mind that you really are trying to have fun with others, it’s gonna take a while for the new belief to take effect. This means you will likely have to explain things to other people so that they know it’s temporary.
Remember the saying that actions speak louder than words so as your working on your limiting beliefs just know that you will want to be more conscious of your body language and facial expressions so they can adjust with your new thoughts and beliefs.
What about the feelings of worthlessness that I have? Anytime you feel that you aren’t as good as somebody else this is going to trigger that feeling. Remember what I said about comparisons and how you only need to do it when you are tracking your own progress.
Some people will like to point out how inexperienced you are while everyone is participating in an event. This will come up and it’s best if you are ready with the steps of CBT that you have learned.
Taking things as jokes take practice just like being teased and thinking you’re stupid or ugly. Likely when you’re inexperienced it will be the truth and you will need to figure out how you can easily shrug it off.
Because this post is already pretty lengthy I will save this for another time, but know that you only need to think that in time you will get better. Unless it’s something you won’t be able to change and then you will want to learn about acceptance.
Hopefully, you have learned what CBT – Cognitive behavioral therapy is and that it’s pretty simple to learn and to practice doing in your everyday life. If you have any thoughts, questions or comments please write them below and be sure to sign up for my email list for the freebie.