Try the following to help shift these limiting beliefs:
1. Where did I learn this?
A good starting point is to reflect on where you first learnt those limiting beliefs from. Did your mother or father use language that 'told' you you're not worthy or lovable? For example, "you're hopeless, I don't know why you even bother trying". Or you may have simply observed your older sibling receiving much more praise and attention than you and no matter how hard you tried, you weren't noticed. It can help to understand why you originally developed your limiting belief. Please note that this isn't about blaming your parents or others, it is simply because the first steps to change is to have awareness of your problems.
2. How can I shift this belief?
(a) Journaling - Begin by keeping a journal with you and noting in it every time you think a negative thought about yourself. Note what triggered the thought and what you said to yourself and the resultant feeling. This helps you to be very clear about the underlying belief that you have about yourself. Sometimes it's quite shocking how often we speak badly to ourselves. It's hard to imagine we'd ever speak to anyone else in the manner with which we chastise ourselves.
(b) Reframing - Once you're aware of your negative words, you can 'reframe' them into something more positive. To begin with this might simply be softening them a bit. For example, if you commonly call yourself a "dumb idiot" if you make a mistake, you might want to start with softening that to "a bit careless". Better still, it will help to move to something more positive like, "I didn't do that correctly this time but I'm a great learner which will help for next time".
(c) Challenging assumptions - Those of us with lower self-esteem will often assume other people's opinions of us or of our work, and we often make out those assumptions to be much worse than the reality. Be alert for your assumptions (even of loved ones that you know well) and ask yourself, "do I really know for sure that is what they are thinking, or am I assuming it?". If you are assuming it, try to challenge the assumption by exploring the most likely reason they said or did something, rather than the worst case that you assumed. For example, if your colleague asks for some help and you don't know the answer, rather than assume they think you're stupid because you didn't know, challenge that by asking yourself what you would think of your colleague if the roles were reversed. Chances are you'd think nothing of it and go and find the answer somewhere else.
(d) Change statements from absolutes, to questions - If you catch your self-talk making concrete statement like, "This is impossible" or "I'll never understand this", change those statements to questions by inserting "how". For example, "How is this possible?" or "How can I understand this, who can help me?". This shifts a negative belief from seeming like a permanent state for you, to one that is situational and can be resolved.
(e) Where is the evidence? - When you catch yourself using negative self-talk, ask yourself, "where is the evidence that this is true?" For example, if you think to yourself, "I'm hopeless, I always get things wrong", you can pause and ask yourself, "where's the evidence that supports that this self-statement is true?" You might reflect on how you hold a good job, you have your own car and lovely partner, so there's some immediate evidence that you're not hopeless and don't always get things wrong.
(f) Affirmations - Creating positive affirmations (a statement about who you want to be) is an effective tool to shift negative beliefs into positive ones. Done on a daily basis these statements become who you are and how you behave and will eventually take over as your new automatic thoughts. Here's an excellent article explaining how to do them - http://stress.about.com/od/optimismspirituality/a/positiveaffirms.htm
(g) Celebrations - As you use these tools outlined above, take a moment to celebrate your effort for change and rejoice in any little successes that you have along the way.
I wish you every success as you step out into a more empowered life. If you would like any help claiming an empowered you, please contact me below for one-on-one life coaching sessions.
With my love and appreciation,