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What Causes Head Trash?

Noah St. John's picture


Let’s say you have blue eyes; but everyone around you, even the people closest to you, have told you since the beginning of your life that you have brown eyes. And let’s say that you had no other way to corroborate that information. What would you be forced to believe about yourself?

Because of the information you’ve been given, plus the fact that you can’t see your own eyes directly, you would be forced to believe that you have brown eyes; even though that’s completely false information about you.

Have you ever been in a funhouse? What do funhouses have – funhouse mirrors, right? And what does a funhouse mirror do? It distorts you. You’re looking at it, and it’s kind of weird. It looks sort of like you, but it’s not you. It’s an inaccurate representation of you.

But what if a funhouse mirror was the only mirror you had ever looked in? What if that distorted reflection was the only one from which you’d received information about you? What then would you be forced to believe about yourself?

You would be forced to believe that the distorted image was what you really looked like. You would have no choice but to believe that the inaccurate image – the only one you’ve ever seen – was who you really are.

So let me ask you a question: were you raised in a funhouse? Are you still LIVING in the funhouse? And have you ever seen yourself accurately reflected by the people around you?

Sadly, most of us have never seen ourselves accurately reflected by those around us, even (especially) those closest to us. A funhouse mirror distorts your physical image. In the same way, when we receive inaccurate information about Who We Really Are, our Authentic Self is distorted. When Who We Really Are is not accurately reflected by those around us, we develop what I call a Negative Reflection. Your Negative Reflection represents the head trash that most of us are carrying around. It’s that little voice inside your head that says, “You can’t do it. Who do you think you are? You’ll never be successful!” While your Authentic Self knows that you’re good enough, your Negative Reflection tells you, you’re not good enough. We all have our own unique head trash. But amazingly, that’s NOT the real problem.

Why You Don’t Believe In Yourself (Yet).

Traditional success teachers told us, “Well, if you have negative thoughts, just think positive. Believe in yourself. Set your goals.” Do you think that would have worked for George Bailey? Do you think advice like “set your goals” would have helped him get out of his miserable situation?

Yes, I know it was just a movie. But what about YOUR life? How many times have you tried this? How many times have you tried to psych yourself up and do what they told you to do — “think positive, believe in yourself, set your goals”? How’s THAT working for ya?

You can keep trying to drive that nail into the wall with the chainsaw… or you can pick up a hammer. The hammer is called the unconditional support of people who believe in you, more than you believe in yourself.

This is one of the great ironies of this work – because highly successful people have been telling us for decades, “Believe in yourself.” But they don’t realize that what they’re saying is backwards. 

It’s not that believing in yourself is “wrong” any more than a chainsaw is “wrong”. It’s just that, when they tell you to “believe in yourself”, they have the order wrong. That’s because “believing in yourself” is the last stage, not the first stage, in the evolution of Success.

Noah’s Note: The first stage to believe in yourself is someone who believes in you. The second stage is you believe in someone else. The final stage is you believe in you. 


Anonymous's picture

speaking up

so many times i hear what others want me to think of myself. i've learned the hard way that i can say what is true and if they don't want to reflect on what they don't experience as me they will ignore and pretend i didn't say anything at all. so it's crucial to understand that just because that can happen doesn't change the fact that u spoke up, and perhaps the way they reacted is about what they r afraid to address directly about themselves. just because u weren't acknowledged, doesn't mean u 'don't exist'. just because u weren't treated w respect doesn't mean u don't deserve respect.

Sheila Bergquist's picture

What if?

I was wondering what you do if you have nobody left to believe in you? Then how do believe in yourself?

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