What in the world are limiting beliefs and why is this catchphrase being used so often? Honestly, in the last couple of weeks whenever I’ve turned on the television or booted my laptop up and scrolled the net, the term limiting beliefs has been jumping out at me, like, it’s everywhere I turn! And while I don’t necessarily look for signs, I thought that it might be in my best interest to do a little research and get to the root of why the universe keeps presenting this to me….
After much reading, watching inspirational videos and asking friends, I believe that I have a fairly simple definition of the term. Limiting beliefs are the negative things that we unconsciously tell ourselves—- to “justify” why we cannot or have not attempted or achieved something.
Don’t get me wrong, these beliefs served as a suit of armor to protect you somewhere in the past and also provided you with a much needed coping mechanism before/during/or after a stressful or traumatic event. They performed their job as effectively as they could at the time, but have now become completely incompetent and a barrier towards moving forward. If you’re lucky, these beliefs have only negatively affected one key area of your life. If you’re not, then you are probably painfully aware that many or all aspects of your life are not thriving or full of contentment.
I currently fall into the latter category. And just being able to say that aloud makes my load feel lighter. See where I’m going with this?
Just to get the ball rolling, let me share a challenging time in my life with you. In July of 2017, I decided to take the Georgia Teacher Certification Exam. Of the three components that were given (Reading, Writing and Math), I passed 2 out of 3 and Math was not one of them. In fact, I cringed when I received my test results. And then the limiting beliefs started creeping in…
These are some of the things that I told myself to assauge my disappointment:
- Well, you DID take the exam without studying first, just to get an idea of its level of difficulty, so you really shouldn’t feel badly about not passing.
- Who are you kidding??? You were never good in math in school ANYWAY and always struggled to pass when you were younger.
- Maybe you’re not good enough to be a teacher.
- Maybe you’re just not good enough.
Meanwhile, it has been nearly two years and I have yet to retake that math exam…
And looking at the negative thoughts above, it’s easy to see why.
The general consensus says that once you are able to identify your limiting beliefs and recognize the fact that they are NOT serving you in a positive way, this is the moment that true healing and authentic transformation can take place. IF, and only if you are ready to stare your dormant PAIN directly in the eye. This is an extremely sensitive exercise that should be completed with a trusted counselor, friend, or non-judgmental individual who can support you emotionally during this process. Because, you will need to dig deep to get to the really ugly stuff. This is not for the faint of heart…
Stirring up all of that deeply rooted emotion will not be quick or easy, nor should it be. Allow yourself to both grieve and release all of the stagnant, negative energy that has crippled you in ways that are no longer productive in your life. And then, be gentle and kinder to yourself. You deserve that. We each deserve to live fulfilling and peaceful lives. Releasing our limited beliefs places us one step closer to finding that sense of contentment.
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