Freedom Blog

Friday, November 22, 2013

Creating Your Perfect Reality, Part 2- Identifying Your Limiting Beliefs

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

Creating Your Perfect Reality, Part 2- Identifying Your Limiting Beliefs

Written by Steven Griggs |

“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.”
Robert Anthony

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced”                                                                          Vincent Van Gogh

In order to begin to identifying your limiting beliefs, I asked you to start listening to your inner critic’s voice, to start tuning into the way you talk to yourself.

The inner critic’s voice is actually your internal minder. Its job is to constantly remind you and guide you by whispering in your ear. You’ve been listening to this voice all your life. It has always been there. And it seems so normal I’ll bet that sometimes you don’t even hear it.

But it’s there. It keeps up a non- stop running commentary on everything you do.

It starts in our childhood. In order to help us grow up as successful adults our parents and teachers did their best to help us develop our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses.

Or what they “perceived” were our strengths and weaknesses.

They were also very concerned with helping us to avoid disappointment (protecting us from failure) and helping us to avoid shame, notice the key word- avoid.

Some of this “guiding” also came from our parents own limiting beliefs that they projected onto us.  Their intention was to save us from the pain they may have felt when they were growing up.

So if you were not the prettiest girl in your class your mother may have done things to help you cope with your perceived disadvantage, like encourage you to be more personable or funny or studious. Or she could have encouraged you to cut your hair a certain way to reduce the focus on your face or even to cover more of your face.

If you were a strong, fit guy you were probably encouraged to play sports. In my day, almost all boys played sports, even if you were on third string and sat on the bench most of the time. 

This probably did more damage than not playing but there we were, trying to fit in, trying to belong, trying to please our parents.….. .

Not to mention the subtle and not so subtle messages that teenage boys transmit to each other which probably created enough beliefs to undermine most of the team.

Does this sound familiar? Can you see how these experiences could set your limits, how they could create limiting beliefs?

Eventually the underlying belief developed that you weren't good enough and needed to do or not do certain things in order to be accepted.

In addition, during our childhood and adolescence the process of our parents teaching us right from wrong pretty much kept us in some kind of conflict with them and eventually that tension  created the feeling that something was wrong with you, that somehow you weren't “all right”.

So you can see how the double whammy of not meeting your parent’s and family’s expectations and not being able to do things right is enough to undermine you completely!

Sometimes it wasn't even words or comments but just subtle signals like a certain disapproving look from your mother or father.

But you can see how it began and how it slowly but surely inserted a belief system within you.

The difficult part of understanding or discerning a limiting belief is that when we took on the belief our mind then worked very hard to conform with the belief and soon the belief disappeared into the finished product- you.

We became who we believed we needed to be. And eventually we became who we are today.

Photography by Gina M. Billino
So it can be hard to separate the voice from the belief that this is you, that this is just who you are.

The answer lies in paying attention to your inner critic’s comments and judgments.

Listen to yourself when you comment to yourself. Hear what you say when you look at a car you like or a house you like, just anything that you don’t currently have that you wish you had.

I use a lot of examples such as cars and homes because they are symbols that our society values as badges of success.  I don’t personally believe in these symbols anymore but I sure did once upon a time. 

I had them all.

So begin listening and test yourself by watching your reactions when you see certain things in a magazine or TV show.

Watch how you react, watch what thoughts come up. If you notice yourself saying anything that sounds like a criticism or a justification or a negative remark or comment, you’ve probably hit on a limiting belief.

Really, any comment that pushes against the situation or issue is a clue.

Start to make a list of the things you notice that you have resistance to, things that you push back against.

Once you have this list you’ll be able to see a pattern and then you should be able to break it down into a few areas that you’ll need to work on. Just remember, the examples you'll see are just the symptoms of the belief and not the actual belief.

In my next article I’ll talk more about getting clear on what you need to work on and how to do it.