Think you know what you already think? Think again.
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 Only when we decide which beliefs are still necessary for us to hold on to and which ones are outdated and no longer valid with our current way of thinking can we truly begin to release limiting beliefs.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.