In my journey toward greater self awareness, deeper spiritual connection, and living with more joy, I have learned a little bit about limiting beliefs. When it’s all boiled down limiting beliefs are the biggest reason why we don’t experience positive change, no matter how much we may want it. From a very young age we all started putting together beliefs about how the world works, and who we are as people. Every time we’ve encountered a situation or lesson we’ve developed a belief or a story about it. What I’ve learned is that you can create MASSIVE transformation by identifying your limiting beliefs, and then creating a new story.
Some examples of limiting beliefs.
- I will never stick with a fitness program, I’m just not motivated.
- I don’t have the skills, money, or resources to make my dream a reality.
- My anxiety will never get better.
- I feel like shit, so I will always be tired, sluggish.
- I am not confident in my own skin.
- I don’t have a purpose.
- It’s impossible to wake up early.
How they hold us back
We hold on so tightly to our beliefs (whether they are productive or not) as if they are a cornerstone of our identify. And this creates patterns of behavior within us. Maybe we avoid things because we have beliefs about certain things being painful or challenging. Or maybe you don’t go after what you want because you believe you can’t have it. Perhaps you once had a great idea for a service or product and somebody told you it was a stupid idea, and from then on you believed that you couldn’t dream or create. What if we could change those beliefs to help us live better, more fulfilled lives?
Fear is just a limiting belief, a story you tell yourself to keep you from moving forward.
Where do they come from?
These stories can stem from a past experience where you were taught something about the world and believed it to be true. Like when kids made fun of your speech impediment so you believed that your voice didn’t matter and you were better off staying quiet, resulting in you holding back from shining in school, communicating your needs in relationships, or advancing in your career. Or maybe you had an untrustworthy father or boyfriend, and now you believe all men are untrustworthy d-bags, resulting in you having relationship after relationship with the wrong people, and not fully loving or trusting anyone.
How to Identify These Beliefs
During training with my teacher Gabrielle Bernstein, I learned how to witness these fear based stories and how they how up and block me in my life. I was given tools to identify where these stories came from and how to shift my perspective, and I want to share them with you. These questions are adapted from Gabby’s Fear Inventory. The key when answering these questions is to get totally honest with yourself and dig deep to better understand your patterns.
What is the fear based story from your past that is blocking you? Is there something from your childhood that gave you an idea that you then started to believe as true about the world? Think about your relationships and experiences from your past. Are there any beliefs or fears that you have developed from an early age? How does that block you from experiencing flow and joy in your life?
In what ways does this story hold you back from stepping into your power? Does this story hold you back in any way from living your greatest potential? “Your power” is another way of saying “the greatness that you are.” Are you afraid of going after certain things in life because of this belief?
How does this stop you from showing up in your life and career fully? Are there ways in which you are holding back or playing small, when you know you are capable and deserving of more?
How do you compare yourself to others? Do you compare yourself to others in the areas of success, looks, family, career, happiness etc? What do you say to yourself in those instances? Do you notice any fear based stories come up when you are comparing? For example: “I’ll never have the type of success/career as someone else does.”
How do you judge yourself? Going along with comparison, do you judge yourself when you compare yourself to others? What judgmental things do you say to yourself when you compare yourself to others? When not comparing yourself to others, do you judge yourself for the thoughts and feelings that you have?
When you think of your fear story and how it holds you back what does it feel like? How does it feel emotionally?
What does it feel like physically? How does fear and judgement and anxiety show up in a physical way? For example: Headaches, jaw clenching, nausea, racing heart, tight chest, shallow breathing, tense shoulders etc. Where do you feel it in your body? Describe where it is and how it feels. Give it a color, a name, a voice, a place where it lives. Where did it come from, what does it feel like?
Get really honest with yourself when you answer these questions. Sit down with your journal and see what comes out.
Remember: The more you recognize your fear and bring it into the light the more free you become. You may feel a mixture of things: pissed, resistant, open, peaceful, numb, shocked, irritated, hopeful, vulnerable, doubtful, sad grateful, freedom, release. If you start off your journey by expecting to only think happy thoughts, and say magical affirmations, you are just building a house on sand. This work of identifying fear based thought systems and beliefs will help you build your house on a solid foundation.
Gratitude: We should be grateful for all the situations that make us most uncomfortable because without them we would not know there was something unhealed in us. Say thank you to your wounds. It is your deepest pain that allows you to grow into your higher self.
Mantra: “Inner guide, I surrender this fear to you. Thank you for helping me reorganize this limiting belief and transform it to a new belief.”
“If we don’t show up for whats up it will keep coming up.” -Gabby Bernstein