A belief is defined as something that we perceive to be true, to be the unshakable 'reality' of a situation and our understanding of the definite or probable outcome/consequence of a particular action.
Beliefs which limit us are the ones we allow to stand in front of opportunities for our personal growth and freedom: Limiting beliefs manifest in our words and actions. They are the real motivation underneath statements like: 'I can't because...' 'Theres no point because...' 'Ill never...'. Limiting beliefs are assumptions, short-cuts to a conclusion in preference to us having to take a risk towards something.
We all have limiting thoughts and beliefs and we generally have a handful of beliefs that revolve around a central theme. When these 'limiting beliefs' are stripped naked we mostly find that their source is that most reductive of anxieties: The fear that we are not good enough as we are. So now that we know this, we just have to stop having these beliefs. Easy, right?
Here's the thing about these quirky little false-truths we believe about ourselves, how we are and what we can expect from the world. They are more often than not SO well camouflaged and so woven into us, so within our wires, that they can be almost impossible to see. We carry them and design our lives around them without even knowing that they are there, stealthily driving us towards or away from actions and situations. They can be wrapped in complicated layers of experience and emotion. Their purpose is to keep us firmly rooted within our comfort zone. These beliefs are designed to protect us from the danger and pain of growing and if we let them, they keep us pocket sized and fearful.
One of my core beliefs previously, was that to survive and thrive in adult life, you need to be in a loving long term monogamous relationship. So embedded was this belief that I would describe it as one of the old pillars of myself. It formed somewhere in childhood/adolescence and wrong headedly drove a lot of my behaviour from being about 14 years old. Around being 19 years old, through to being around 31 years old I existed either in a relationship, trying to get into a relationship, or re-animating a DNR relationship or in the capricious currents of grief, after the end of a relationship. I had no idea that I held a belief about being in a relationship being the only way I could be happy and safe.
Had you told me between those times, that that was just a story I was telling myself about the world, I would not even have understood that there could be any other way. I would have considered myself normal for thinking this way. I had no understanding of the idea that I could be a complete and happy human being without having a significant other.
We always have something to gain from shaping our lives around our limiting beliefs. Even when it became apparent to me that my belief around needing to be in a relationship was part of my map of the world and that it hadn't exactly always been helpful - I ignored my knowing. If I tackled this belief or tried to edit or erase it, I would have to replace it with something and I had no idea how to do that or what to replace it with. I would have to be in charge of my own happiness, my own life - I was not conscious that this could be a choice I could make. That it is possible for humans to manage their own emotional states was absolutely beyond my comprehension. If my stunted view changed, I would have to accept that my future might not include a husband or children. My life might not look the way my inner 9 year old believed it had to. I would have to let go of certainty about what lay ahead. I would have to start to think for myself and make my own decisions, big scary decisions all on my own.
I slowly melted my belief around being able to be happy alone, the hard way. Honestly, it was only when it became too painful to ignore the damage the belief was doing to me that I began to change. If we don't positively participate in them and listen to them and fight them instead, our inner shifts can be really difficult. Our need to change and grow is part of us, is human. We don't have to wait for a crisis or shock to focus on our growth, we can commit to nurturing and initiating it NOW.
We have choice. We can start to explore our beliefs and behaviours without having to snap first. We can also ignore them. Carry on thwarting ourselves and missing out on everything we could have because we just won't take the step to explore what living a different way might be like. More than 10 years after my first steps towards change, I don't like ANYONE making ANY decisions for me or having other people's voices crowding in on my decision making process. I shudder at the thought of having everything laid out before me and life's future milestones locked down. I have an understanding of the great power I have in my own life and I enjoy not knowing what's going to happen. The liberty I have everyday to continue to live a happy and fulfilled life is something I don't take for granted and I use my power to choose in minute and BIG ways. Going to the next level, I have learnt to spot my self limiting thoughts when they come up, identifying my truth even when I don't like what it says.
My limiting beliefs haven't stopped existing and will never fully go away, because I am human. I work daily to detect and disarm them when they crop up and make sure I am focused on a different paradigm instead. If we are to go beyond the beliefs which hold us back, we have to find them, expose them, work around and through them. Personal growth - the imperative of ALL healthy human beings can only happen when we allow ourselves to stretch out of our comfort zone. It takes time and repeated attention to shift your mindset.
When we visualise the road to enlightenment, we get caught up on the spectacle of light at the end, the glimpse of a saffron robe and be-sandalled foot just slipping into the edge of bright joy filled light. Think instead of the actual path, of being on the path every day, finding a way to understand yourself and see yourself in a different way, everyday. The first step to rooting out the beliefs that hold us back is to notice. Just notice. How do you react to the outside world? Observe. In witnessing the way you are, the things you say to yourself, the things you do and don't do, you can begin to untangle the behaviours and repeating themes that might be holding you back. Further than that, you can free yourself and free up your energy to pursue the thing(s) your higher self REALLY wants.
I found and still find it fantastically helpful to read about all of this stuff. There is so much written work out there to inspire and illuminate. The first book in my continually expanding Library was 'The Road Less Travelled', which I drank thirstily when I returned from my trip around the world in 2008. Ive been pretty much chain reading books about psychology and growth ever since. Join my Newsletter group list here for my free recommended reading list:
My journey to the designed life I lead now was long and involved a lot of experimenting and exploring, wondering and wandering in the dark. I had no plan in the beginning and went in circles repeating mistakes I had already made. To begin with changes didn't stick because I didn't know how to go deep and tackle the real underlying issues. I learnt how to and love sharing what I know through my work. You can vastly accelerate the process of identifying your own values, beliefs and true desires, then get them working alongside each other by working with me. My speciality is mindset shifting for personal transformation - because our mindsets are at the root of everything we do and want to do. Your beliefs are the gatekeepers to your potential. I can help you to make sure they are kind, supportive Bouncers who let you through those gates to freedom every time...