We pick up a lot of bullshit beliefs from society, family and peers and these can affect our lives in many negative ways. Here are some common negative beliefs that could be blocking your success, along with some ways to overcome them and achieve a happy life.
1. Life is hard
As children, we often pick up the bullshit belief that life is hard and unfair and that we will struggle to get what we want and need. No one tells us we can live a fulfilling and happy life. Parents and teachers use phrases such as:
- Life is hard
- Nothing worth doing is easy
- I want doesn’t get
- Life isn’t fair so get used to it
- Most people aren’t successful – it’s just a lucky few
You may also have been told that your dreams are unattainable and that you should choose a more practical path.
None of this is necessarily true. After all, many people live a joyful and happy life. Many people also earn a good living doing worth they enjoy. So if they can do it, so can you!
When you catch yourself repeating the negative belief that life is a struggle, try replacing it with a more empowering statement, such as
- Life can be rewarding and fun
- I can be successful doing work I enjoy
- Creating the things I want and need comes easily to me
- I can live a happy life
2. Money is evil
This bullshit belief probably has its origins in religious ideas and texts such as the Bible, which says that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’. We also pick up the idea that rich people are greedy or selfish from our family and culture. With beliefs like this, it is not surprising that many of us have a problematic relationship with money!
Of course, this belief is simply not true; many wealthy people also good, kind and generous and money can be used to great benefit. So, if you struggle with this belief, try making a list of all the ways you and others have used money to bring security, joy and pleasure to others in the world.
3. I must conform to values and rules set by others
Our actions are often guided by values that we pick up from others. As children, we may have been punished for not toeing the line, either at home or school. Once we enter the wider society the same applies. We could lose our job or end up in prison if we fail to abide by the rules.
Of course, there are rules that we should follow, such as not to steal or murder – but most of us don’t need telling on those! The difficulty comes when the rules or values are more subtle, such as feeling obligated to work late for the third night running. Other values are subtle but very manipulative, such a the idea that we should never be ‘greedy’ or ‘selfish’. Many rules aren’t pushed because they help society as a whole, but because they help a certain sector of society such as big industries and financial institutions. Think about how others may benefit from you following ‘rules’ such as:
- Working hard
- Taking care of others
- Accumulating material possessions
- Keeping up with fashions or dressing in a certain way
- Speaking in a certain way and following social norms
It is worth examining our values and the rules we live by to check that they are our own and not just acquired from a section of society that benefits from our need to conform. Make sure that the values and beliefs you live by reflect you and help you to live an authentic and happy life.
4. I don’t deserve…
Perhaps, as a child, you were given food you didn’t like and told you should be grateful because ‘there are starving children in the world’? Unfortunately, well-meaning though this kind of instruction may be, it can cause us to grow up feeling we don’t deserve happiness, respect, love and all good things – because there is suffering in the world.
Feeling that we do not deserve good things, or feeling guilty for having more than our ‘fair share’ can sabotage our attempts to create a life that we love as well as the success, happiness, security and love that we deserve.
This bullshit belief is hard to break but fundamentally you should remember that your lack doesn’t help anyone. In fact, the better you are doing in life, financially, emotionally and physically, the better position you are in to help those in need.
5. People are judging me
Most of us have heard the phrase ‘what will people think’ from a member of our family at some point. Hearing things like this makes us think that other people are judging and criticising us all the time. We fear other people’s judgement on everything from our hairstyle to the way we raise our children. While some people may judge us, most people are too busy worrying about getting through their own day to even notice what you are doing.
Anyway, as you well know, you can’t please all the people all of the time. So try not to worry that other people are judging you, especially people you don’t respect – or even know.
Our beliefs can powerfully affect the way we live our lives and as a result, how happy and successful we are. So, it is well worth examining our beliefs to make sure they are empowering us and helping us live a happy life.