What tiny cat is three times deadlier than a lion?
It’s called the African black-footed cat. The average house cat is about 8 pounds. These little felines are just over two pounds. They are small but highly effective hunters. They catch 60% of their prey which is quite remarkable compared to a lion’s 20% success rate. And it’s a good thing too since this tiny animal needs to catch 10-14 birds or rodents each night to stave off hunger.
Why does this little cat need to eat so much?
The African black-footed cat’s appetite is driven by an extremely fast metabolism. It must quite a bit to stave off hunger. Similarly, there’s a kind of belief that makes us feel driven to get specific results in our lives. It’s called a survival strategy belief.
What is a survival strategy belief? And how does it cause unwanted emotions?
A survival strategy belief is a belief that helps us cope with the pain of another belief. For example, if a person forms the belief “I’m not good enough” that causes some pain and even fear. Later, they may notice that they get praised when they do things perfectly and that they feel good enough afterward. After repeated experiences of feeling good enough after doing something that others say is perfect they may conclude “What makes me good enough is doing things perfectly.”
Survival strategies are usually in the form of “What makes me x is y” or “The way to be x is y.” “What makes me worthwhile is pleasing others” or “The way to be important is achieving.”
How do survival strategies beliefs lead to down feelings?
When we’re not able to live up to the standards our survival strategy belief creates, we will feel unhappy, anxious, or even angry. For example, one client started feeling depressed when she reached her 40s. She had no history of depression. We discovered she had the belief “What makes me good enough is being attractive.” She had always been complimented on her looks which made her feel OK. These compliments had dwindled over the years as she got older and led her to feel not good enough.
A client who was a consultant told us that unlike most people he looked forward to Mondays instead of the weekend which is when he would feel down. He believed “What makes me good enough is achieving goals.” Once this belief was eliminated, he started to look forward to weekends and he also started to take vacations more often.
How do you uncover a survival strategy belief that makes you feel down?
First, notice the pattern. What is happening when you feel good? What is happening when you feel down? You’ll often discover that something was missing at the times you feel down. That missing thing is a clue about what your survival strategy might be.
Second, put what’s missing into just a few words.
Third, connect what’s missing to feelings about the self such as feeling good enough, worthwhile, or important.
For example, Jane noticed she had begun to feel sad often. So we guided her through the three steps.
Step 1: We asked her what had changed and she mentioned that her kids went away from college. She found that all the things she did to care for her kids no longer needed doing. And on top of that, her husband was often away on business so she couldn’t dote on him either much of the time.
Step 2: This helped us realize that her self worth had come from caring for others.
Step 3: When we asked her if caring for others made her feel good enough, worthwhile or important she said it made her feel good enough. We put that together as the belief “What makes me good enough is taking care of others.”
Once her belief was gone, she was able to find more joy in alternative activities and didn’t have to depend on having others around to care for.
Are survival strategies the cause of all bad feelings?
No. Some unwanted emotions are caused by other beliefs, some are caused by conditioning and some may even be biological. How would we know which is which? Just ask yourself these questions:
Do all people feel the same way when these events happen to them?
Do all people get depressed when they notice their looks fade?
Do all people feel unhappy if there is no one they can care for?
Do all people dread weekends and only look forward to Monday?
If the answer is no, then the feelings are likely driven by beliefs.
- A survival strategy belief is a belief that helps you cope with another belief.
- Survival strategy beliefs can lead to down feelings when you aren’t able to live up to the standards set by that belief.
- You can uncover a survival strategy belief that makes you feel down by noticing what is missing when you are feeling down, putting what’s missing into a few words, and noticing what positive feelings you get when the missing thing is present.
- Not all bad feelings come from survival strategy beliefs. Bad feelings can come from other kinds of beliefs and conditioning too.
Survival strategy beliefs are extremely powerful. They often guide our choices without us even knowing about it. When you unlearn one of these beliefs, you stop having to pounce on every opportunity to feel good like a cat and instead can relax and choose what is best for your life.
How to eliminate 19 beliefs that limit confidence
Why are people afraid to do new things? Why do they sometimes feel like impostors? Why aren’t they able to just assume they will figure out how to make things work?
The answer is limiting beliefs. Specifically, self-beliefs.
When you have a limiting belief about yourself, it’s hard to escape. You are with your “self” all day long. But when you change a self-belief what happens? The invisible barrier in your way seems to vanish.
Announcing Natural Confidence: A way to eliminate self-doubt
The Natural Confidence program isn’t a rah, rah cheerleader saying “you can do it.” We know that kind of message doesn’t lead to lasting change. Instead, it helps you unlearn the beliefs that keep you from knowing that you’ll find a way to reach your goals and overcome problems. When that happens, you experience the freedom to act. You can get Natural Confidence here and see the many success stories from people who tried the program. Go to www.NaturalConfidenceProgram.com.