One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that we do have a choice over what we allow to take root in our own minds, including unhelpful beliefs. For many years I thought it couldn’t be possible, ironic that I held an unhelpful belief about this very thing!
So, I often find that when I do switch off and spend time in my beloved outdoor space, that’s when the ideas for writing flood in, and it’s no surprise therefore that many of my musings are gardening related… this one started with saplings on the roof…
How are tree saplings and unhelpful beliefs related?
As we get further into autumn I quite often switch off from gardening jobs and it’s been a surprise to find one that really needs doing right now. We have a flat roof above our garage and given my passion all things green we decided to make it a living roof and sow it with all the makings of a wildflower meadow.
And that has gone really well for the first couple of years; we’ve had an array of beautiful flowers & grasses which we can see from the office plus we know that it’s yet another haven for wildlife… big smiles all round 😃
However… a casual glance out of the window, now that the flowers and grasses are starting to die back, reveals that we have some intruders on the roof. This is not good news.
Now I love trees, in their rightful place. And that is not on my roof! Why? Because I know that they’ll grow quickly, overshadow the flowers I wanted to grow, and eventually damage the roof.
So this week I have been up on the roof, thinking that I would just pull the saplings out and be done with it.
But I probably don’t need to tell you that it is not proving to be that simple. Three hours, the use of a hefty garden fork, a lot of sweating and swearing later, I am finally done with removing (hopefully) all of the saplings.
How the seeds of doubt start to grow…
I just can’t help but notice how this is so similar to the way we carefully tend our minds, and our mindsets, filling ourselves up with gratitude practices, positive affirmations, the right supportive connections, and yet…
And yet those seeds of doubt and negativity will still arrive in our world, they’ll still float past and they will still sometimes settle and germinate, take root, turning into unhelpful beliefs.
These beliefs may seem often illogical or irrational but nonetheless they can grow strong, so spotting them early can be very empowering.
Where do unhelpful beliefs come from?
Those kernels of doubt that turn into unhelpful beliefs can come from anywhere…
- perhaps it’s something a colleague commented on…
- or the seeds of comparison that you feel listening to successful women in your local network…
- maybe it’s the way your well-meaning teenager speaks to you in the mornings.
Or maybe it’s something you say to yourself, something less than helpful, “I can’t believe I got that wrong again” “I’m so useless at technology” “what’s the point me doing this, nobody takes any notice?”
Over time, just like the little saplings, these shoots of doubt and negative self-talk can grow into thoughts that overshadow the good feelings you’ve been nurturing, and damage your self-belief.
Of course, you can’t stop those seeds from showing up in your world, there will always be events, people and comments that deliver the potential to cause damage, and some will try to settle and take root.
So, just as you might watch for tree saplings growing in the wrong place in your garden, it’s just as important to notice when new unhelpful beliefs begin to take root in your own mind, because it’s so much easier to nip them in the bud, to catch them as they arrive and deal with them right there, than it is to wait until they are thriving and so much more difficult to remove!
How to stop those unhelpful beliefs from taking root:
🌱Start by noticing without judgement. What tiny saplings of doubt do you notice in your mind just now… what phrases repeat themselves and grow stronger with each repetition?
🌱Check for evidence. Are your beliefs helpful or true? What evidence do you have for, and against? Writing it down can help set your mind straight on what is fact and what isn’t.
🌱Choose a new belief. How could you replace that negative thought right now with something kinder?
🌱Put up some protection. Especially if your resilience is low, notice if there are any areas of your life where you might you need to set up some protection from unwanted seeds of doubt? Any places or people you could avoid until you feel stronger?
And if you could use a little support with this… Untangle is an instant-access masterclass (£30) to help you spot the unwanted saplings of doubt and replace them with the flowers of your choice!