The era of the Coronavirus has taught me that I am full of old ideas and limiting beliefs! It’s shocking to admit that I have old ideas about the ways things can be…but it’s true. It’s human to limit ourselves by the way we’re wired to believe. The good news is, this is the age of re-wiring! We don’t have to live by old ideas and limiting beliefs any longer!
I had a conversation with a congregant yesterday and she said, “The way we’ve always done it is…” I had to interrupt saying, “Please open your mind from “what we’ve always done” to “what possibilities exist for us next.” That very sentence keeps our congregation from moving forward. That kind of thinking keeps every system, all kinds of businesses, industries, and even people stuck in old ways. When we open ourselves up to possibilities, we can have different outcomes.
Our minds can limit us – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
There I offered the concept that prayer helps overcome limiting beliefs and old ideas. This blog expands on what one can DO to overcome beliefs that limit us. How can we become open to possibilities we didn’t even know existed? Read on.
How can we change?
First we have to explore where limiting ideas and beliefs come from. Humans are experiential beings. We have an experience and then we form a belief about that experience. If we eat something sweet and it’s done with celebration (such as having cake at a birthday party), we know to be happy. We expect cake to be good. We attach emotion to the situation. We then have a ‘story’ around birthday parties. Beliefs are only conditioned perceptions. Take a first birthday party as an example. We are given a piece of cake, our families sing to us, and therefore we form good feelings about that situation. Conversely, we can also form negative feelings around situations that may be painful. Memories form on how we have interpreted and emotionalized our experiences. Beliefs are assumptions about how things are going to be – and from them we create our expectations.
People are creatures of habit. We all crave a certain sense of certainty. That is why, as my congregant said, we keep “doing things the way we’ve always done them.” It keeps us safe. We know what to expect. Even if we think we want more or different, well, it’s better just to keep doing the same old same old. I mean it works, right? Why change?
Bill Wilson said, “The good is often the enemy of the best.” Why do we settle for anything less than the best?
We settle for less when we “buy into” the story we are telling ourselves as being true. We erroneously believe that the story cannot be changed.
Yes, we can change!
We don’t have to “Do things the way we’ve always done them.” That belief keeps us trapped in old ways and then we can’t move forward. We are able to change when we become aware that these old ideas and limiting beliefs may no longer serve a purpose. They may have served us to some extent in the past but now they don’t. They are neither serving us nor working for our best selves.
We begin to change the possibilities of where we can go by exploring what our old ideas are and where they came from. One benefit of doing this contemplation: we begin to wake up to new purpose in our lives.
Some things we dream just have to be believed to be seen! When we ”see” ourselves achieving and doing things we never believed were possible, then we believe them. Often, action has to precede belief!
Many years ago, I had the experience of watching an acquaintance go through this process. She started out as a receptionist at a music publishing company and, in a few years, went onto mega super stardom! She always dreamed of singing and being a star. She always knew she had it in her.
At the restaurant where I waited tables, we’d chat as we ran in similar friend circles. She held fast to her vision of achieving her dream. I watched her network with industry professionals and methodically work to achieve her vision. The afternoon I went to her album release party, I watched her onstage. She had always been a great singer but now there was something more. It was as if she lived into a strong internal vision of who she was and what she could become. She never let her old ideas limit her. She never let the good take the place of the best!
Maybe I don’t have to tell you that that acquaintance was none other than country music superstar, Faith Hill. https://www.faithhill.com
If you’re not familiar with her music, you should take a listen. She’s terrific! Faith remains my model of how one can overcome limitations and achieve great things. I know because I watched it happen from the sidelines!
In closing, I want to reiterate the importance of becoming aware of our limiting beliefs and old ideas. I offer you a prayer to use to overcome them. Once we know what holds us back we can take the important step of beginning to change. The process becomes easier when we apply prayer, willingness, and awareness. As our behavior changes, our thoughts change too and so does the reality we live in. This is called the “Set Aside Prayer.” My amended version goes: “God, help me to set aside everything I think I know about You, myself, and others, so I can have an open mind and a new experience, Amen”