informal_homeToday I spoke with a woman who was interested in finding a life coach for her daughter.  It seems that she’s made a lot of bad life decisions and, at the tender age of 24, is now wrapped up with an abusive partner.  Mom thinks a lot of this stems from her father dying when she was very young.  Ultimately it may be linked to limiting beliefs that the young lady has developed as a survival mechanism, but that now serve as seriously damaging saboteurs.

What is a limiting belief?  It’s usually something is consciously or unconsciously stuck in our minds as away to protect ourselves or explain why we’re a victim of circumstances.  We end up universalizing the belief, that is, it becomes an emotional crutch that has to be true at all times.  It becomes part of who we are.

For example, I was never interested in playing team sports.  Being highly sensitive and living too much in my head had something to do with it.  I simply could not “let go” and just be physical without thinking through every move.  Later in life I took up racket ball.  I discovered I was much better with one-on-one sports where I was competing against myself, as well as the other player.  That started me on a more healthy exercise program that smashed my limiting belief about being “athletic”.

Beliefs have a direct pipeline to our nervous systems, and so convince the body and spirit of their sometimes warped and limiting assumptions.  Such beliefs can hold us back from discovering who we truly are.  We end up making life choices about careers and relationships based on these limits and then wonder why we’re so unhappy.  On the other hand, beliefs that give power to our dignity, talent, beauty, and inner strength give us the motivation to change our worlds.

Beliefs and truths are really just stories we tell about ourselves or a meaning we’ve given to some event or person of the past.  They can be powerful and controlling, mostly because we choose to let them control us to keep us safe.  Yet if we can make up a bad story or put a negative spin on an event, and let it have a life of its own, then we can do the same with a good story or a positive spin.  It’s up to us as to the power we give to our stories and interpretations of events and experiences that enable them to control us for better or for worse.

So what can you do if you’ve discovered limiting beliefs swirling around in your head?  A suggestion would be to commit each week to identifying and eliminating one belief that isn’t serving you, that is keeping you from being content about your life or from taking actions you really would love to take, those if only…statements.

1. Identify and choose one limiting belief.  I suggest choosing the one that holds you back the most or that creates the most pain for you.

2. Look for one or two other possible meanings for this belief.  If you believe your parents didn’t love you, based on their behavior, think of another probable reason for their behavior.   Think of another interpretation for their actions toward you.

3. Choose an uplifting, empowering belief to replace the painful one.  Sometimes, choosing the exact opposite of your limiting belief will work, but not always.  It has to be something that you can believe, even if right now you don’t believe it 100%.

4. Tell yourself each time this belief shows up that you no longer choose this belief and you will look for the evidence that would show that the contrary is true.

5. Look for this evidence many times each day.

6. Do whatever you can to remind yourself to practice this several times each day.  It only takes a few minutes a day to do this.

This process requires that you be present to yourself and that you slow down enough to pay attention to what you’re actually saying to yourself as a back-story to your life and the events and people that populate it.   You may discover that limiting beliefs and not just emotional wounds are responsible for your not moving forward the way you want in your relationships and your career.  Our goal: limitless beliefs where we are totally the creative and whole persons we were born to be.

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