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Those Pesky Limiting Beliefs

So we are a few weeks into the new year. Perhaps you had big resolutions, high hopes for how you were going to do a particular thing different this year. And you are now slowly finding the old patterns creeping back in and wondering "why can't I change this"???

There are a variety of answers to that question, but I'm only going to share one that I think is a big one. Your old limiting beliefs about who you think you are.

Limiting beliefs are thoughts/beliefs that typically get developed in our childhoods. We all have a few, a handful that are ingrained in there. It's our inner critic voice. They often sound like, "I'm so stupid" "I'm to fat/ugly" "I am not capable...", etc.

You might be wondering why on earth we would want to put energy into identifying these, let alone naming them! Well here is the reason. When we are trying to do new things, trying to get through a normal day, learning something, sitting with a friend, having dinner with our families (you get it right, basically anywhere, anytime) these beliefs show up. Whether we are aware of it or not.

And then, we behave from that place. So one of my favorites is "I'm not smart enough" and when that shows up I get quiet. I stop sharing my thoughts and opinions. And I start zeroing in on how everyone else is doing it wrong or purposely trying to hurt me. Super fun right?!?!

Now that I am really clear that this is one of my limiting beliefs I am much better (not perfect by any means) of catching myself and will say "Oh, there is that thought again. Here you go letting that belief dictate your behavior". And then take a moment to make a different choice. Have a little self-compassion. Start speaking up again. Say my mantra.

It's important to be able to name, quickly and easily, what your primary go-to limiting beliefs are so that when you are in the moment you will recognize them and be able to choose differently.

So if you are not super clear on what your limiting beliefs are, here is a little gift for you! This Identifying Limiting Beliefs worksheet will help you to zero in on your core negative beliefs that keep you stuck. Answer the questions as fully as you can. And then look for the themes. What words are repeated in your answers. Write those down on another piece of paper. I would say max having 5 short phrases/statements.

If this starts feeling really uncomfortable, place your hand over your heart and breathe and say to yourself this loving kindness meditation:

  • May I give myself the compassion that I need
  • May I learn to accept myself as I am
  • May I forgive myself
  • May I be strong.
  • May I be patient

Or go here and listen to The Self-Compassion Break by Kristen Neff.

It is also important to know how to CHOOSE a new response. Start with creating a positive mantra that you can say to yourself when you find yourself feeling stuck in these negative thought patterns. Practice changing your negative thought with your positive mantra.

Most of all, be kind and loving with yourself. This is a process. You are on the journey!

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