Cue eye roll…
It’s amazing how many people have created such a negative, Chinese-fortune-cookie-fluff association, whenever it comes to addressing beliefs from a personal development perspective . And yet, without exception, every single one of my clients has THE most significant breakthrough whenever we get into what they really believe, and how those beliefs are contributing to their life-turbulence.
So, how much do you ‘really’ understand about your beliefs? Especially the bad and negative ones.
Negative beliefs suck
Put plain and simple, negative beliefs sit at the core of all that’s not brining us well being in our lives. What makes them worse, is that they are often formed by stealth, at a very young age and in a way that sparks a self-perpetuating cycle of cause and effect, that buries them so deep into our identity that they can be very, very hard to change.
And yet they aren’t real. They are, in many ways, the cruellest trick that nature plays on us.
Our brains are set up to signal, and make decisions, to avoid pain and seek pleasure and safety. When we’re young, filterless and at our most vulnerable, the events of life that play out around us, and the things we see, feel and hear, can trick us into making false associations between the two. These are what can quickly and tragically become the foundations of limiting, negative beliefs. Regardless of how absurd, misinterpreted and unintentional.
Here’s an Example:
Some people didn’t show up for a birthday party when you were 7 (they just got the day wrong, nothing personal).
At the time, it hurt. Terribly. End of the world type pain.
“Maybe I am not likeable?” whirrs the mind. “That’s painful, we don’t want that. So we’ll start looking out for evidence to support it, and make decisions that avoid it entirely“.
And so on…
If we consider that foundational point of making an association as the trunk of a tree, what happens next is where the real problems start.
To keep you from the pain – and so on the side of pleasure – the brain quickly wires itself up to look for ways to avoid it. Its intention is kind and honourable, but sadly every time it does notice something, it layers the fledgeling belief with ‘supporting reference’ and starts growing roots. The more references we seek, the deeper the roots and the sharper the minds ability to notice and protect. So the cycle continues…
Beliefs = Values = Filters = Behaviour
It’s an irrefutable fact that identifying limiting beliefs, and learning how to change them is the single most self-empowering process we can go through. It’s particularly poignant to me at the moment, not only as someone who is invested in helping people positively change but at the age of 6, my daughter is entering into her peak belief forming years (yup, it’s that young).
I’d be doing her a terrible injustice if I didn’t do my best to help her onboard some of the more empowering beliefs I wish I had taken on as a child. And that doesn’t mean overly controlling her worldview, it simply means providing a gentle layer of influence when I can on subjects such as self-worth, money and wealth, confidence, ambition etc. whilst taking the time to interrupt and scramble any limiting tree trunks that might be forming in her delicate little head, whenever something seems to trouble her.
You might think being teased for bad breath at the age of 6, is harmless playground banter. But to a 6-year-old it can trigger something much deeper, long-term and harmful.
Taking on the fight
I take massive beef with limiting beliefs. I was guilty of eye-rolling at them myself for years until I was forced into examining my own hardwiring. Only to be horrified at what I discovered. But as a wise man once said: “Clarity precedes everything we want to change.”
So this series posts are designed to spark a Belief Revolution, sharing best practices and my own thoughts, experiences and experiments on how to:
- Identify limiting beliefs
- Unroot them and replace with empowering ones
- Rewire and establish new beliefs as your defaults
It’s not an easy process. But stay committed, and it could transform your life. And no, you’re not too old.
I’d also love to hear in the comments box below, anyone else’s thoughts and information they have on the subject of changing beliefs. It’s a topic I am devoting the lion’s share of my time to this year, so all contribution will be very gratefully received.
Finally, if you are struggling with limiting beliefs and would like some one-on-one support then please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be delighted to help.