Mar 08 2019
In our first blog post, we opened the discussion about our beliefs. A bazillion books have been written on this subject and philosophers and religious leaders can go for days talking about various aspects of how and what we think.
As an empowerment coach, it’s my passion to study the who, what, why and hows of our mind. The more we understand how we develop the beliefs we’re walking around with, how it’s benefiting (or not benefiting) us, the more feasible it is to update or replace the beliefs that hold us back.
Where Do Beliefs Come From?
Some of the beliefs we have, come straight from our childhood. They can become a part of our identity long after we’ve become hard-working and focused adults. The beliefs we learned or were ‘given to us’ in childhood have the ability to hold us back from seeing and fulfilling our true potential.
Sometimes concepts that we pick up may be incomplete or misleading. The media can be a very compelling and authoritative source, and yet can only reflect a tiny portion of the whole truth of a matter, or even be a distortion. Realizing that our assumptions can be wrong doesn’t mean that we need to walk around challenging everything that comes our way. But we can see how our strongly held beliefs propel us into acting with conviction, for good or bad.
Why look at your beliefs?
Many of our convictions are so much a part of us that we rarely think to question whether they’re helping or harming us. A quick glance at our beliefs isn’t always enough. Only when we decide which beliefs are still necessary for us to hold on to and which ones are outdated and no longer valid with our current way of thinking can we truly begin to release limiting beliefs.
I remember my very first coaching session. It was with a young lady who was facing several challenges as an adult. She shared that she had some childhood trauma but that she had already gone to therapy for it so she didn’t think it had anything to do with her current circumstances. However, we discovered during our session that while she had learned in therapy some new coping mechanisms for her PTSD and worked hard to reframe her childhood experience, she was still walking around every day with one of the worst beliefs a person can hold.
“I’m not worthy to be loved.”
When she realized that she held this belief, the flood gates opened. Seriously, I couldn’t stop crying. Just kidding. No I’m not.
I remember asking her at one point if she was willing to replace this belief with a new one. Her relief was palpable as she released herself from the belief that was harming her. That beautiful soul claimed a new and healthier truth that day.
That is why we take the time to look at what we believe.
Changing Your Beliefs
Whatever you believe about yourself, you can always find plenty of evidence to support it. Our thoughts turn into how we feel and how we feel determines our actions. So if we are wanting to stop a bad habit, for instance, we must first inspect the feeling that leads to that action and then backtrack again to see what thoughts caused those feelings. Changing our thoughts allows us to act differently more often. The more we choose positive behaviors through our beliefs, the greater the results and the better we feel about ourselves.
Getting Under Your Most Stubborn Limiting Beliefs
So what if you discover a limiting belief you hold but you can’t seem to change it? Are you stuck with it? What if it’s a deeply held one and you’re finding is difficult to replace? What does that mean?!
It means you are human. Self-compassion and patience is vital for challenging your beliefs. It’s okay if it isn’t resolved with a single question.
With stubborn limiting beliefs, more often than not, fear is the root cause that is holding you back. Getting to the bottom of the fear will often bring about a true sense of relief and, at times, an immediate clarity regarding how to best release the limiting belief.
I’m including a worksheet for you that can help you work through a limiting belief you’ve identified. However, if all your beliefs are fabulous, healthy and getting you to your goals of ultimate fulfillment, then this isn’t for you. Your homework, then, is to go write a book about your awesomeness and fabulousity.
Which I believe is a real word.
Mar 08 2019
Let me explain.
All of us hold convictions about something that we didn’t the day we were born. Those convictions have become our truth. What we’ve accepted as truth becomes what we believe. And our beliefs shape how we view and perceive our experiences. That in turn affects everything we do, whether we are aware of it or not.
For example, I once knew a girl… (let’s call her Lillian), and when Lillian was in high school she wore a new shirt to school. Everything seemed to go right for Lillian that day. In fact, she couldn’t remember the last time she had had that awesome of a day. This made her wonder what made this day any different than the others. What had she done differently that brought this good fortune upon her? Her new shirt was the only thing she could think of that had changed.
The following week, Lillian wore that same shirt and watched for all the good luck to appear. Again.. awesome day! Well, this was all the proof she needed to believe that this shirt was indeed lucky. For the rest of the school year, whenever she really needed to have a good day, she made sure she had her lucky shirt ready to wear. Sure, there were days she wore the shirt and had hardships but because of her belief, it was easy to ignore or dismiss what didn’t fit into her truth. But boy, when something went right while she was wearing her lucky shirt, Lillian gave credit to the shirt. Because that’s what she believed.
People may call this superstition. But if you knew my sister back then and told her she was just being superstitious, she’d put you in your place real quick.
Oh. Yeah, this was actually a real story about my sister. And her name isn’t Lillian. And it wasn’t so much a lucky shirt as it was lucky underwear. Rainbow underwear. I mean, how could that NOT be lucky?!!
The point is, we invent our beliefs and call it truth. Is this to say you should second guess all of your beliefs?
Heck no! And also yes…
As a life coach, much of my job entails bringing to light someone’s false or unhealthy beliefs and help them adopt healthier beliefs that will get them closer to their goals. It really is amazing how many false beliefs we walk around with day to day.
What Do Your Beliefs Give You?
All beliefs, even negative and destructive beliefs exist for a reason. At some point you have gathered evidence that supports everything you believe.
Our most limiting beliefs about ourselves may get in the way of any action we need to take. If we believe that we’re not bright enough to get a promotion, then we give ourselves permission not to try. If we believe that all the men or women we date are selfish and untrustworthy, we will tend to build protective walls so that we don’t get hurt.
Your limiting beliefs have a function, but a very limited one. Your empowering acceptances on the other hand, serve you far better by helping you to expand the range of what is possible in your world.
At some point you have gathered evidence that supports everything you believe.
When we identify unhealthy beliefs and see how it’s keeping us from where we want to be, then and only then, can we find the will to replace that “truth” with a much healthier way of thinking.
So let me ask you, what do you think you deserve in this life?
Do you believe you deserve happiness? Struggle? Adventure? Punishment? Love?
Take today and ponder on that. Better yet, free-write your thoughts as they come to you. Don’t filter, just write.
Your thoughts might just surprise you.