“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to questions them.” ~Anthony de Mello
You want to do it, but you don't get it done. You promise yourself you'll take action, but you are too afraid. You want to be different, but you don't know how. At the core of this failure to launch is a fear or belief that is holding you back. For everything you wish you could do, be, or accomplish, you are just one thought (and a bucket full of feelings) away from unfettered success.
I'd go as far to say that 90% of the things you wish to accomplish could be accomplished — if it weren't for limiting beliefs and the incredibly powerful feelings that fuel these beliefs. The only person getting in your way is you.
Those powerful feelings have been fed over time by repetitive negative thinking. Maybe something happened when you were a child to undercut your confidence or sense of self-worth. You have had years for those thoughts and feelings to brew and percolate. They have carved deep grooves in your brain circuitry. The longer you have held on to a belief or fear, the more ingrained it is in your mind. (Take a look at The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science (by Norman Doidge, M.D.)Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves).
You can get rid of limiting beliefs. And let me tell you, once you do this, your life will turn around 180 degrees.
You will do things you never thought possible.
You will be bold and fearless.
You will find passion in life and seize every opportunity.
In fact, you will create opportunities out of thin air. This happened to me. I got rid of a huge limiting belief in my life. (Fear of abandonment.) Now I'm flying.
To kill limiting beliefs, you can't just cut the surface thinking. You have to get at the root cause.
This doesn't necessarily mean you need years of therapy and navel gazing. You don't have to explore every dimension of your tortured childhood or your ruinous marriage.
But you do need to do three things:
- You need to isolate one limiting belief at a time. Start with one that really interferes with your growth. For me it was fear of abandonment. That was my biggie. What's yours? You don't feel good enough? You don't make enough money? You're not smart? You aren't pretty enough? You aren't lovable?
- Ask yourself why you have this limiting belief. This is a question you should ask until you run out of answers. Write down every reason you can think of, starting with the main one that probably occurred when you were small. Write these reasons down so you don't forget them.
- Finally, start undermining these reasons with evidence to the contrary. You might feel a certain way about yourself, but that doesn't make it true. And even if there were truth in the original belief and feelings, you have lived a lot of life since then. There are hundreds of reasons why you are smart, lovable, attractive, etc. Write those down too.
By doing these steps, you have just sprayed poison on the root of your limiting belief. And you can do this exercise for all of your beliefs.
But . . . that's not all. You can't stop there. You have to reinforce, reinforce, reinforce. You have to re-train your brain and create new grooves in your brain with a new way of thinking.
Here's another great exercise to help you isolate your limiting beliefs.
- Look at the statements below, and check those that really resonate with you.
- After you choose, ask yourself “why” for each statement, repeating this question as many times as you can until you run out of answers.
- The last answer is usually the root cause. But you have to be painfully honest with yourself to find and kill off that root cause.
_____I have not really made the authentic choice to be fully alive and engaged in life for the rest of my life.
_____I need to be right.
_____I have unresolved issues, problems, and difficulties in my life.
_____I am not clear on my personal values or I am not living in alignment with them.
_____I am addicted or attached to substances, people, or behaviors.
_____I am currently living a big lie.
_____I really don't have anything better to do with my life right now.
_____I have financial problems or other major lifestyle concerns.
_____I am missing key, empowering relationships in my life.
_____My needs are not being met.
_____My life is primarily about me and my problems.
_____I don't get how life works so well for other people but not for me.
_____I have not experienced very much in life yet. My life is boring.
_____I am under a lot of stress.
_____I don't take care of myself or my health the way I should.
Identifying and understanding the root cause opens the door for addressing limiting beliefs.