One of the ways that human beings cause themselves suffering is to rarely question the false beliefs that have become so permeated and foundational to one’s existence, that they appear as reality.
Our beliefs condition our lives. Do you agree?
Are we conscious of our beliefs that limit and block our capacity to live fulfilled life? According to psychologist Enric Corbera, the quality of our life depends on our beliefs. We do not see, we interpret. We interpret everything we see.
Our beliefs convert to our reality. Sometimes we can have beliefs that make us stronger, but we do have those that limit us as well.
Which ones do you feed?
Journalist Aida Memisevic, researching technology assisted self awareness explains that we all have psychological backpack with set of thinking patterns and schemes of beliefs that we create and we deem as our truth. And even one single event can be very powerful in creating this belief. Imagine as a kid you trained a lot in order to join football or gymnastics team, and you tried couple of times and you did not make it. Then you said to yourself “I am just not good enough”. And that stuck. And then your brain look for those patterns to repeat that and to validate what you believe to be true.
I can clearly remember one of the coaching practice session in a group where one of ladies shared that she is not happy in her marriage. After coaching exercise she added “I cannot be alone”. She profoundly believed that she could not be alone. This became her reality, her truth. As a consequence this made her accept unhappy and destructive relationship. What if she questioned “how can being alone benefit me?”
Whatever our beliefs are today, they will powerfully influence our future. Aida Memisevic gives another example of how our beliefs dictate our life. If you have an overlying belief that says “people are basically good” or you have an overlying belief that says “people are basically bad”, your brain will replicate that belief in that pattern and will search for evidence to prove it to you.
There was breakthrough research study done in 2002 from the Houston VA Medical Center. For this research 180 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were selected for arthroscopic surgery. But all patients thought they were getting the surgery and were selected for this experiment. However all patients were divided into 3 groups: in the first group they had people that had a full surgery, in the second group they had people that just had half surgery and in the third group people had nothing but an incision, fake surgery where doctor literally pretended that they had the full surgery. And the results were surprising – all three groups recovered in the same way! Our beliefs can dramatically affect our biological functions!
Isn’t it amazing how our beliefs can affect our quality of life and even our health condition?
Very often we inherit our beliefs from our parents, teachers, friends and people we spend our time with. Very often our limiting beliefs are fed by others.
For example, if your mother tend to repeat that you are disorganized, there is a high probability that you keep repeating the same up till this day. Might be that in reality this is not true, however by assuming this and repeating to yourself constantly, there is a high probability that you converted to someone who is disorganized. Or maybe you are someone that was taught to obtain your objective even if you fail for the first time. In this case this is as well a belief, but maybe it helps you to react and maintain strong in difficult situations. Both are beliefs, but the first one is limiting you, and second one is making you stronger.
Today I invite you to identify your own limiting beliefs, the example of those can be as following:
“I am not good enough”, “I am unsuccessful”, “I always make mistakes”, “It’s my fault”, “I am unimportant”, “I don’t deserve to be loved”.
Does any of the above resonate with you?
Give yourself some time to identify your own limiting beliefs.
Ask yourself – are they useful?
Remember that your brain will look for the evidences to prove that your belief is true.
The below exercise is proposed by Aida Memisevic and I found it very useful in order to work with our limiting beliefs.
I will list the example for each part of the exercise, this is a real case from the coaching practice.
1. Acknowledge what the limiting belief is. Write it down. Remind yourself that beliefs are thoughts – not truths. We create meaning.
For example: I need to be accepted by everyone (in Spanish they say “caer bien a todo el mundo”).
2. Ask yourself: where did you get it from? What was the first trigger? Try to remember your early life stages as well. List everything you can remember of.
Example: From my family. When I was a kid my grandmother used to say “always be good with others”. Somehow I feel that I need to be perfect and please everyone.
3. How does it negatively affected your life? What was the impact on your well being? Write down as much as possible.
Example: In some cases this provoked a lot of anxiety and stress, its like a huge weight to carry on. It is very difficult to live with this belief, its like not giving a change to myself for any errors.
4. What evidence can you find that supports the opposite scenario? Create as many alternative scenarios and write them down.
Example: Even when I failed with new assignment, I continued to be respected by my team. I am not perfect and don’t need to be in order to be appreciated by others.
5. Write a brand new belief that excites you. Visualize it and feel it as your new truth!
Example: I do appreciate myself the way I am. I am kind to myself and choose wisely people around me.
6. Look for the positive feedback. How will my life be different? What is possible out of this new belief? Write it down.
Example: There is much more piece and self-confidence in this new belief. Its much more lighter and gives me opportunity to choose where do I want to invest my energy.
7. Project this new belief into the future. Visualize and feel yourself with this new belief: what your life with it will be next day, next week, next year? You can repeat the positive visualization for three minutes every day.
Give yourself some time and write down your own experience. This is very powerful exercises if you decide to invest some time in it! Give yourself this treat!
Limiting beliefs are patterns that your brain is running, don’t take it as a truth. Because once you recognize it, your life changes. Everything changes.
Our beliefs are deeply affecting our life and our reality. Let´s pay attention to them!
We do not have to have these negative limiting beliefs. There are ways to get rid of them, lets do it!
Let´s identify our limiting belief and challenge ourselves by committing to the action which would be the new positive belief.