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Ascend Life Blog #11: The Belief Cycle

(Hint: I am using this to help improve my blogging)

Daniel Gant

One thing I struggle with is self-doubt.

Anybody with me?

When I was just starting out with blogging, I was really struggling with doubting my abilities.

There has never been a time in my life when I have written as much as I have in the last two plus months. I doubted my abilities to do this much writing. I doubted that I had anything worth saying. I feared people would not want to read what I wrote. I even doubted that I could adequately put into words the ideas of a great topic if I were to come up with one.

So, you see, I had a good bit of self-doubt when it came to writing this blog.

Now, I do want to say that my doubts were unfounded. I am not nearly as bad as I feared. I do have lots of room for improvement, but after writing 10 posts my self-doubt is a lot less.

But, let’s go back. What is self-doubt?

Self-doubt is a lack of confidence in one’s abilities. These abilities may span any part of life. Abilities in skills, in knowledge, in relationships, there are endless ways a person can doubt themselves.

Let’s take a deeper look into what is behind self-doubt and the other ways we think negatively about ourselves.

Self-doubt comes from believing that you don’t have what it takes. Here’s the truth, this belief is a lie that you have mistaken for truth.

There is a cycle that we go through. It can be positive or negative. I call this the Belief Cycle. When we start believing a lie, this becomes a vicious negative cycle that leads to all kinds of negative feelings, thoughts, and actions. When we believe truth on the other hand this cycle becomes positive and helps have a positive view of ourselves and life.

When we believe something that is not true, it creates our identity. We start believing we are a certain way. This identity affects the way we tend to respond to the world around us.

These tendencies, based on our identity, lead to actions that have consequences that in turn result in our reality. Reality feeds the belief and we go right back into the vicious cycle.

I was introduced to this idea in a sermon titled You Have a New Identity by Pete Briscoe. I have taken the liberty to add belief into this cycle because Pastor Briscoe also talks about how belief directly affects our identity and I felt this was an important attribute of the cycle.

Let’s take my self-doubt as an example. If I believe the lies (that I don’t have anything worthy to say and that even if I do, my lack of writing skill will render it worthless) they will lead me to identify myself as a poor blogger.

Identifying as a poor blogger, I will assume the tendencies of someone who is not good at blogging. Some of these might be procrastination, lack of research, and poor planning.

I will then tend to take actions based on these tendencies, like not getting started writing the next post as early as I should, not taking the time to understand the topic, or not thinking through the plan for the next few posts.

The result of these actions will be late posts that are rushed and lacking quality. Guess what happens next? The reality is that my blog is not very good and therefore I am not writing good posts… “I guess I really am a poor blogger”... and around I go again.

See the cycle? It all stems from believing the lie in the first place until it becomes reality. All of our identities and feelings come from what we believe. If we believe something false about ourselves, it will eventually become the reality we live in because of the Belief Cycle.

The cycle can be a benefit.

If, instead, we believe something good and true about ourselves, the cycle will work in our favor and we will improve and become better.

Let’s do a quick positive example based on my story again.

The truth is that I do have good things to say that are worth reading and my writing will not stop my reader from understanding what I am saying. I may not be great at this yet, but I am not bad. In light of this, my identity becomes that of a growing blogger.

As a growing blogger, my tendencies will be to learn things that will make me better. For instance, how can I better plan out my writing schedule to prevent procrastination and how can I learn more about the topics I want to write about?

My actions will then be to learn and plan and work to get ahead of my writing schedule to create a buffer and give myself more time to make each post great.

The consequences of these actions will result in on-time posts that are of much higher quality. Of course, this leads me to actually being better at blogging than I was before. In other words, a growing blogger. My self-doubt is no longer driving my reality and I will start seeing positive results all because of what I choose to believe.

The negative cycle is now broken!

Reality feeds positive beliefs and the cycle begins again.

This takes some introspection to catch the lies that started everything. It then takes giving yourself grace. Grace that while you may be living up to the lie right now, you can change and this doesn’t have to be your identity.

From here you have to change what you are believing about yourself. You have to believe that you can be better than this.

Take the lie, hold it up to the daylight and see exactly what it is. A LIE! Then figure out what is actually true and positive. Remember, this is where being able to give yourself grace comes in. You are not perfect yet but you are growing and improving. Choose to see yourself in that new light.

How are you doing with things like self-doubt and other negative beliefs about yourself? What are your beliefs? Are they positive or negative? Are you believing lies or truths?

I have heard it said that all negative feelings can be traced back to believing something that is not true.

Take some time and figure out what beliefs you need to change about yourself to create a positive Belief Cycle. I have created The Belief Cycle worksheet to help you walk through this. I encourage you to print it off and work through it. Get someone you know and love to go through it with you. So often a loving friend can see our false beliefs easier than we can.

Please let me know if this has helped you in any way. Please share this with someone who is believing false things about themselves and help them start a positive Belief Cycle.

As always, send me an email or write a post on the all new Ascend Life Facebook page if you have comments or questions. I would seriously love to hear from you.

God bless.