Most of us are plagued by limiting beliefs. But, until we become aware of them, we don’t even know these pesky, old thoughts are running our life. They are survival mechanisms and served us well in our past and kept us from harms way at times. However, as an adult, they now no longer fit. Like the skinny jeans in the closet, which haven’t fit in years, we keep them around hoping that they will one day come back into fashion. And yet, it’s time to Marie Kondo them since they don’t spark joy and don’t serve us any longer.
All of us have them – many of us are not even aware we have them.
What limiting beliefs am I speaking of?
- Beliefs like, “I am not worthy of being successful.” Or,
- “I can’t achieve great things and live the life of my dreams.”
- Here’s another, “My dreams are grandiose and not reality, so why bother?”
- And finally, one of my favorites, “because I have to finish raising my kids, I can’t focus right now, on what I want.”
Although they are not helpful, many of us continue to defend our limiting beliefs.
So, what can we do about Limiting Beliefs?
1. First step is to recognize that I have them and discover exactly what they are. (For instance, when I was going through the period of infertility, I had to root out every old idea I had about giving birth. That if I didn’t birth a live child, I was somehow less than as a woman. If I wasn’t a mother, I was unworthy of God’s love and respect from others. These ideas are not rational, nor do they have to be. Our job is to recognize we have them.
2. We just have to become aware that they are inside our heads and calling the shots. Those ideas are the thoughts that if left unchecked, have the power to make us miserable. When we become aware of them, they lose power and diminish in volume.
3. Once we are aware and recognize them, we can do the work to introduce new and more affirming ideas into our psyche.
The power of Affirmation to overcome Limiting Beliefs
Affirmations are a powerful way to introduce new ideas and belief systems into our lives. The first time I ever did affirmations, out loud, in front of a mirror, I felt foolish.
“Really?” I said to myself as I stood there looking sheepish. “You want me to believe that saying, ‘you are smart and successful blah blah blah,’ will help change my thinking?”
But frankly, I continued to do these affirmations daily, a few times a day, out loud in front of a mirror, and one day, I realized it was working. I no longer felt unworthy and small. I did feel smart and successful. Words really do have power and what our psyche hears is what it believes. So why not introduce positive affirmation into our belief system.
Someone who was a great proponent of affirmation was Dr. Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. He was a prominent minister in New York City who wrote “The Power of Positive Thinking” among other books. I loved his work and used his techniques during my time in Nashville, when I was pursuing an artist’s life. He was a great proponent of using meditation and prayer to calm the mind and spirit. He affirmed that if you repeat positive phrases from scripture, it would bring you peace. Of course, he also said that after you fill your mind with positivity, you have to go out and take action that runs counter to the old ideas. But that taking time to actively put new thoughts and positive ideas into the mind would actually change the neurons in the brain. There are days when I sure could use some active change to my neurons!
It is also important to take a few minutes to visualize what kind of life you wish to have and the kind of person you want to be.
I’ve also written about this concept in other blogs. (See below.) That the combination of affirmation, coupled with visualization, can be a very powerful combination. The science backs up this notion of affirmation and visualization. It has been proven that the subconscious mind is influenced by words and pictures. Scientists label this initial part as “outcome visualization” and the process of getting there as “process visualization.” We simply have to have a vision to achieve our goals.
The Need For Vision
You can’t work a plan if you don’t know where you’re going. It’s not that we lack vision. It’s just that most of us have always gone along with life, with sort of an idea where we want to go. But without a definitive way to get there. Without concrete plans. Michael Hyatt described this in his book “Living Forward” as ‘the drift.’ https://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-avoid-the-power-of-the-drift/
I didn’t even know I was drifting until I read that book. I was living life, but I lacked intentionality. I struggle with the idea of having a plan because shouldn’t we be asking God what His/Her will is for us? Certainly we can’t have a vision of what we may want for our own lives, can we?
My friend’s son had a debilitating illness. She took him to see John of God in Brazil. (This was many years ago, before he got indicted.). She believed in his power to heal and in fact, her son did experience a miraculous healing. In the meantime, she hung around the compound, taking advantage of the energy exchange and copious opportunities to meditate. One afternoon, she unexpectedly met up with John of God. He looked at her, (or maybe through her, as she describes it) and asked her one thing: “What do you want?”
So, I pose to you the same question: What do you want?
When you know where you want to go, you can make the plan to get there. Then you can override former limiting beliefs, and use affirmation and visualization to get to that end. Until we meet again, may you be blessed along your spiritual journey!
Other articles about Affirmation, Beliefs and Vision: