“We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience.” -Louise L. Hay
Last month, I talked about limiting decisions, how they can be formed and how they negatively impact our lives. (If you missed that article, check it out) I asked you to start unearthing your own limiting decisions by asking yourself a few questions:
- What are the results you’ve produced in the various areas of your life?
- Where are your results not in alignment with what you really want to be, do or have?
- What area of your life have you really tried to improve but, no matter what, things just didn’t get better?
Your limiting decisions are hiding out in the areas where you’re producing results that you don’t want.
Your limiting decisions have shaped everything you do. They have prevented you from seeing opportunities and maybe even discouraged you from trying at all. Time to bring them out of hiding! Once you do that, you have choice.
So how to identify those pesky devils? First, what do you say to yourself about that area?For example, if you’re having trouble finding a relationship, maybe you explain it with something like, “Women only want men who have a lot of money” or “Guys are only interested in younger women.” Anything you say to yourself to justify why it isn’t working out for you is a limiting belief.
Will that belief sound true to you? Of course! It will sound perfectly reasonable and valid and you probably can come up with lots of evidence supporting it! But it’s still a belief that is getting in the way of what you want. So unless you’re willing to totally give up on yourgoals and desires, it’s a limiting decision that you don’t want to keep around.
Sometimes limiting decisions are not that conscious. Maybe you’ve learned to squelch your negative thoughts before they get revv’d up, and you’ve have gotten good at positive self-talk. So you don’t hear any limiting beliefs in your head. But you’ll know you’ve still got a limiting decision lurking if your emotions are negative about that area.
For example, if you’re bogged down with financial pressures, how do you feel about it? Anxious? Angry? Hopeless? If you stay with that emotion and acknowledge it for a moment, you’ll find the limiting belief right beneath it. For example, anxiety might be saying, “What will people think of me?” Anger might reflect “Life isn’t fair to people like me.” Underneath hopelessness might be, “I’m just not strong enough or smart enough to figure this out.”
Now that you’ve dragged some of those limiting beliefs out of the closet, what do you do with them? In the Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) I teach, we have several specific processes to unearth and eliminate limiting beliefs. I can’t teach them fully in this article, but here are some steps to get you started:
Step 1: Write the limiting belief down. Play detective and follow your thoughts and emotions to discover the limiting beliefs that hold you back. Put them on paper and stare them in the face! You might note how strong each belief is and what emotions they elicit in you.