On Saturday night, I had a dream that one of my friends was in a T.V. cooking competition. In the dream, she was creating a delicious-looking plate of food, but all the while she was muttering that she wasn't any good at competitions and that she didn't even know why she had entered. Eventually, she threw down her utensils and stormed off the set. As she did, I called after her, "It's time to examine your self-limiting beliefs!" And with that I woke up.
I tend to have very vivid dreams, but most don't have such a tight correlation to the coaching work I do. I took this as a sign that someone (maybe me) needs this message right now.
Self-limiting beliefs are just that...things that we believe about ourselves based on past experience or conditioning. These beliefs are so "true" to us that we never even think to examine their truthiness.
Take, for example, the thought, "I don't perform well in competitions." A person who has this belief probably sees it as fact. Likely there was a competition long ago that started the conditioning. One or two lost competitions and the thought "I'm not a good competitor" makes its way into the subconscious and creates a self-limiting belief.
Self-limiting beliefs can be so hard to identify because to us, they are truths. There's nothing to examine because we can't imagine there's a different way.
One of the best counter-attacks to the self-limiting belief is the phrase, "Up until now."
"Up until now I've made poor food choices."
"Up until now I've been unmotivated."
"Up until now I've been a bad test taker."
"Up until now I've had trouble saving money."
This phrase, "Up until now..." allows us to create a new belief, one that's expansive and empowering.
What "truths" about you are simply not true? The next time you hear yourself saying, "I'm not good at..." or "I'm not the kind of person who..." use that as an opportunity to examine your belief system. Perhaps an "Up until now..." is in order.
Need More Time for Reflection?
Journaling is a great way to stop and reflect on your belief systems. I've created The 30-day Journal Challenge Postcard Set with prompts to spark your thinking. These simple note cards will take you on a journey of self-reflection and growth. Pick up one for yourself or send them as a gift by visiting our Etsy Store.
Want To Get Unstuck?
I talk with so many people who have "good lives," but feel guilty because they are unhappy and unfulfilled. I talk with others who feel stuck in their circumstances and feel like they don't have any choices for how to build their own futures. If these thoughts feel familiar, I encourage you to register for my Flourishing for Midlife Seekers Workshop.
On October 20th and 21st, a small group of seekers will gather at my offices in Alexandria, VA to uncover their values, declare their purpose and move toward a more empowered, meaningful and fulfilling life. If you or a friend would benefit from this type of work, I invite you to learn more and register here.»