Believe in your abilities

They muck you up, your mum and dad,

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

 Philip Larkin

Our belief system 

Many of the things we think we can or can’t do come from what we were told at an early age and have been reinforced over time.

First link to the page  self belief then return to this page and try the exercise below. It will help you to believe in your abilities and understand how critical comments may have influenced your way of thinking about yourself and your talents.

Release negative messages

This is an exercise in releasing the negative messages that are not relevant to you now – or perhaps never were - and helps you on to believe in your abilities.

I have used this method with many people on my workshops over the years and it is amazingly effective.


Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns.

Head up one side Negative and the other Positive.

Think about the negative and positive statements that people have made about you in your past, and write these statements in the negative or positive columns. This might take some time. Add to it as other memories come to you.

Which column is longer, the negative or positive? This usually relates to how you view your life at the present time, or on how you viewed your life when you were young.

If you focus on the negative side then it is harder to believe in your abilities. We are inclined to focus on one side more than the other.

Beside each statement write who said it. Whose comments have you listened to most in your life? Parents, teachers, siblings, friends, bosses, partner, husband or wife?

 Do you agree with every word they say?

From the perspective of a confident adult, would you say that you now believe everything that other person says? As a child it is reasonable for us to listen to, and believe what an adult tells us, at least until the time when we begin to think that they don’t know anything at all - usually when we are around our early teens!

Fortunately, with maturity we accept that we agree with some of what they think although on other subjects we agree to differ. We need to release these memories and believe in our abilities based on our own validation and not that of others.


Other people’s past history?

Everyone is living with their own past history, with their own beliefs based on their experiences. Everyone is trying to be the best they can. Everyone is trying to cope with their own view of reality. However, we do not have to accept that their view has to be ours. We can respect where they are coming from, but it does not have to be what we want. You can let it all go and believe in your abilities.


Talk to the person who made the comments.

Look once more at your list. Do you still accept that what was said about you was true? You may want to talk to the person about the statements, and you might find that while you have considered what they said – perhaps only once - to have had a major impact on your life, for the person saying it, it may have been a passing comment when they were feeling stressing, or angry. Haven’t we all done that to someone else at some time?


If the person who made the statement is dead, then it is still possible to release their words by writing to that person, saying exactly how you feel about what they said, then bury or burn the letter, releasing the message. Remember, their words were only a matter of opinion. This does not mean that their opinion has to be yours.


What messages do you pass on to your children?

I would suggest that if you have children who are growing up, or grown, you may also wish to try out this exercise with them. Ask them what statements they remember you saying to them, and how they have interpreted them, and held on to them.

You can reach an amazing new understanding by doing this, and you have the opportunity to release some of your children’s hang ups before they become too entrenched.

If you enjoyed believe in your abilities you may want to link to analyse your skills and talents.

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