Limiting Beliefs

Limiting Beliefs

I remember thinking I couldn’t do any of it right. I didn’t belong, and I looked like a fool. I’m an over-achiever and that means I over-achieve with my self-criticism, too. I’m the kid who took “whatever it takes ” and “practice makes perfect ” to heart, so with 30 years under my belt of critical self-chatter, it was the natural loud voice that took over in times of perceived crisis. I was about teach a full-hour yoga class for the first time, after receiving my YTT-200 teacher certification, and my confidence was shattered when I found out that the class is “usually intense working up to a pinnacle pose, ” according to concerned class member, who was told I was there to sub. Here I was, fully-armed with new awareness of pranayama, vinyasa flows, favorite Yin poses, and several options for drishti (gaze) points, an awesome playlist, energy, yet still fear was like an over-powering billow of smoke surrounding me, hovering for no good reason.

At that moment, I said, “STOP! ” Thankfully only one person heard me, a yogi showing up for class. Of course, I told a white lie and said, “my music isn’t doing what I want it to. ” We both laughed and had a moment together. I was really telling myself to STOP. My worst enemy took up residence IN MY HOUSE -in my body. It was me, and all of my limiting beliefs I collected throughout the years. “Not good enough yet … need more training …. Practice some more … why should people listen to me … I don’t look the part yet. ” The truth stared at me, as I looked passed the (now full) class and into the mirrored wall. I am ready. I am good enough. I am going to rock this. I didn’t allow any other though to pass through before I asked everyone to take child’s pose and a deep inhale. I did it with them, and we started the journey together. I stepped onto my stage as a yoga teacher and gave my whole heart to the role. As I set my class’ intention to self-love, I had to giggle a bit. Can I steal my yoga teacher self’s intention for my own intention?

I share this story of overcoming self-doubt, in real-time, by including the agony of my own internal chatter, because this is usually how it goes, right? Our everyday routine has similar examples of us needing to step up, onto a stage of our choosing, to perform a role we’ve selected for ourselves. Student, Employee, Wife, Mother, some of the common ones … This happens every day, and we are ready most of the time; however, our internal critic gets super loud at the worst moments. You can insert your own personal examples here, but let’s dive a bit deeper into why we do this.

This inner critic is birthed by our own limiting beliefs. Throughout the years of people feeling the need to nurture us in the right direction. All of them, usually well-intended, directed us before asking what we really wanted or thought about something. Good-hearted care takers simply handled us as they were handled in the past. Sometimes, this works. Other times, it sets in us a direction never intended for us. Over time, we are too playful, too talkative, too energetic, too naïve, too trusting … add yours here. Since around ten years old, I believed I was good at speeches and poor at math. In reality, I love budgeting, I love planning trips, working out logistics, including costs, and I love savings. Numbers and math are a strength of mine! Yet, because I had some trouble with algebra, I was scooted into the “excels at language arts with a weakness in mathematics ” corner. It’s time to clear the clutter.

Limiting Beliefs = Thoughts we keep thinking that have little to no truth to them. When something doesn’t feel good, ask yourself these questions: What’s happening? What’s my opinion on it, and from where do my beliefs generate? You can learn a lot from putting your thoughts on trial. You will affirm which beliefs are truly yours, and which you’ve just been carrying around for years from someone else.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions.”

Thank you, Mahatma Gandhi! At the core of every insecurity and self-doubt lies a limiting belief that needs to be squashed. Let’s use the situation above to journey to the core of a limiting belief. “I can’t do it right. I don’t belong. I’ll look like a fool. ” Most of my life has been on stage, playing various roles of my choosing. In most of these roles, I’ve had several adults chiming in, regarding my performance. With traditional stage activities like theater, dance, pageantry, acting, and other on-camera work, it’s part of the deal. However, life stages are a reality, too, and you are in charge of those. You decide which roles you play, and how well you want your performances to be. Student, Employee, Wife, Mother, Mentor, Advisor, (insert yours here -it’s your decision -but don’t limit yourself.)

Limiting Beliefs Detox

Step One: Acknowledgment
Keep your ears open to what you tell yourself and why. What is possible if you didn’t have that belief any longer?

Step Two: Awareness
Identify the real source of the limiting belief, where it originally came from, and if it needs to go once and for all. Forgive them. Forgive it.

Step Three: Create
We need a new version of that former limiting belief which we can use to bring a positive mindset to any situation. Suddenly the roles you play are more fulfilling.

Step Four: Practice
Start using the new version of your truth to step into any role you choose for yourself, with confidence. Watch your world (and your schedule) open up for some more magic.

Step Five: Heal
Usually our limiting beliefs are attached to past wounds. There may be more work to do with those wounds, so honor yourself and dive a little deeper. You’ll find out a bit more about who you really are and how powerful you are. It’s an exciting time to finally cut the cord to that which is holding you back. Celebrate!

As for that yoga class I subbed, it turns out, I did a fine job and even got some “thank yous ” as students departed, sweat dripping and accomplished.