James Allen is the author of one the best books of all time, and one of my personal favorites, “As A Man Thinketh.” It’s a short read and I strive to read it at least once a year. It never gets old; in fact, it keeps getting better. He said:
“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.”
This is a powerful truth. I find that many of the brilliant, talented, vibrant moms I coach are usually stuck in beliefs that don’t serve them. When we focus on these “limiting beliefs,” as many would call them, they inhibit us, prevent us, and block us from achieving our full potential.
It’s been proven scientifically that our beliefs affect our biology, and that most of our subconscious programming happens between the ages of 0 and 7 years old.
I once heard bestselling author Louise Hay say “we move through life creating experiences that will match those beliefs” we learned as little children. I didn’t want to believe my 7-year-old self would be running my life, but the more I studied my patterns, I realized that it was exactly what was happening. SCARY!
Elephants make for a great metaphor of outdated beliefs that hold us back… unfortunately. These massive, majestic, monumental creatures are often held back by a small rope that (unlike a metal chain or a cage) they could easily break away from, but they stay in bondage. Why? Because when they are small, they use the same type and size rope to hold them, and they simply grow up with the belief that it cannot break free from it… and they never really try to.
Of course, I can admit to having many elephant moments in my life in which I actually attempted to do something and felt kind of silly afterward because I realized it was A LOT easier than I thought it would be; but this fact always makes me wonder what are those things I haven’t attempted to do because of a belief that is no longer serving me.
Some of the most inspiring people I know are individuals who achieve remarkable things despite of what most of us perceive great limitations: they have no limbs- or sight, they have a terminal disease, they have a debilitating mental illness, or have been through scarring traumatic moments from which would seem unbelievable to turn from.
For most of us, our limits are really beliefs, or thoughts we hold as true. Our beliefs literally run our lives. Think about it: everything you do deliberately, you do it because you believe it will create a certain result. Everything you decide not to do, you avoid doing because of the expectation of a dreaded result, as well.
A limiting belief is simply a limiting thought that we give power and attention to. These beliefs lead into a limiting decision, which lead to actions that limit our potential because we don’t pursue the life we were meant to enjoy or the growth we were meant to experience.
If you’re feeling stuck, or like you’re going in circles, or even worse, backwards, that’s probably a sign that it’s time to question your beliefs, shift your perception, and change your expectations.
What does it mean to question your beliefs?
Sometimes I say “question your beliefs” and people seem confused because I’m very open about the spiritual path I walk. I’m not talking about faith or religion. I am simply on a mission bringing awareness about the fact that we see the world, not as it is, but as we are.
We all have disempowering beliefs, self-doubt, fear, and negative self-talk. It’s just part of our nature and what keeps us humble and open to learning – and for me, relying on God every single day of my life.
That being said, it is our purpose to grow, to evolve, and to progress. Being willing to change our beliefs helps us move forward along the journey toward where we are meant to be.
I was once having a conversation with an acquaintance who was telling me all about why she couldn’t succeed. She was stuck on all these rules of success:
To be successful, she said, you need to:
- have a budget
- be a marketer
- know copywriting
- have SEO skills
- learn code
- have speaking experience
- have free time away from the kids
- get a mani-pedi and go to the salon once a week
- drive a luxury car so people take you seriously
- have a big e-mail list
- have time to travel
- have money to invest
- have a college degree
- have video equipment
- always look impeccable and picture perfect
- have a supportive husband
- have a “real room” as a home office…
The list went on… and, of course, she didn’t have any of this… so she didn’t allow herself to try. She just kept waiting until she had all these things, which weren’t going to just “show up,” mainly because she didn’t believe they would.
I also wanted to be successful, and I had less than she did. I was a single mom, with a 40+ hour job, living in a one-bedroom roach-infested apartment, no money in the bank, no marketing funnel, and the only followers I had were creepy guys trying to hit on me on MySpace – except for faithful Tom Anderson, of course (I don’t know for a fact they were creepy, but they certainly acted like it). I knew I had to be successful, and although I thought all the things on the list would help, this was my belief about success:
- If you want it, and put all your focus and effort on it, it will be yours!
Which one of these beliefs were true? Hers or mine? Does it matter? They could both be true, they could both be false. I am not asking you to question whether your beliefs are true or false, I’m asking you to question whether they are beneficial or detrimental to you. Is what you believe empowering or disempowering you to create the results you desire?
Is this belief helping me create the life I want?
I seem to have adopted that belief about success early on in my life, which is one of the most powerful reasons why I don’t live in extreme poverty anymore and I have been able to experience a life that was only possible in my imagination. I believed I was going to be successful… and my faith allowed me to take the right steps toward it.
In contrast, I’ve had beliefs about love that drove me to participate in unhealthy, abusive, and incongruent relationships. It took much self-reflection and inner-work to uncover the core beliefs of my 7-year-old self and to dismantle the evidence that went along with those. Now I can say I am finally making empowering choices in the area of relationship, and therefore, I am much happier, but I have a long way to go.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. ~ Matthew 7:16
What are some of your beliefs around success, joy, balance, family, relationships, health, and money? If your outer circumstances are not in alignment with what your soul desires, then it’s time to examine which beliefs need upgrading.
How do I change my beliefs?
Since I’ve already mentioned that I changed my beliefs about relationship, you’re probably wondering how limiting beliefs are changed.
I was lying on the ground, bleeding, and unable to move while my ex was kicking me and telling me how worthless I was when I had an epiphany… “I am a daughter of God!” You’ll probably go “duh!” but it’s all about the wolf we feed. I’m no longer scared of what they will say if I’m alone or I’m divorced, I want to be where God wants me to be.
The first step is to realize (or simply remind yourself) you’re an elephant. You are a giant, powerful, unstoppable being with divine worth and not only do you possess incredible gifts, you have the potential to grow, expand, and increase! When you question your beliefs, always start from the vision of the life you desire to experience, because that is possible for you… and MORE!
The second step is to give focus, weight, and positive attention to a new belief. If you think about it, our beliefs are thoughts we have not only thought over and over, but like Louise Hay says, we have found supporting evidence that confirm them. One moment of thinking I am worthy of the love God talks about was not going to erase all the years of abuse and feelings of unworthiness. We must immerse ourselves in the new beliefs. It’s literally like learning a new language – it takes a lot of time, dedication, and practice. It takes courage to continually make choices along that path.
To adopt new beliefs, we must dismiss the old beliefs and look to fill our minds with evidence that supports the beliefs we want. For me, I read the Bible, went to training seminars, workshops, conferences, courses, self-help books and programs, affirmations, and associating with people who had empowering beliefs that created the results I wanted.
I’ve hired coaches to keep me accountable. I do this all the time and I only mentor moms who are willing and open to try these “techniques” because they are important steps in the path to transformation.
The third step is to give up the payoff. While our limiting beliefs don’t serve our higher purpose, they do reward us in some way. That’s why we haven’t changed them. I would have never let my ex hit me or call me names if I wasn’t afraid of being alone. I believed that being alone would be more painful. I was also probably afraid to look inside and unmask all the trauma I had from being physically and verbally abused as a child. I also liked that he wrote me apology love letters, gave me flowers, and “proved his love” after he mercilessly beat me up.
My belief that “he loved me and he is sorry” and “I love him and I must forgive him” was holding me captive. I love him and I forgive him is still true to me, and so is I love myself and I forgive myself, which is a more empowering belief, and from which I strive to make my decisions today.
I had a mentee (let’s call her Mandy) who was a single mom. She wanted to empower single moms and one of the Top 5 Passions she envisioned was to enjoy a loving, trusting, and fun relationship with her eternal soulmate. I told her I was so excited for her and that I believe that beautiful vision would happen for her. She, however, proceeded to explain:
It probably won’t happen. All the good men are taken. I have too much baggage. Men only want single moms to have “a good time,” but won’t commit. No one wants to have an instant child and carry this much responsibility. I don’t have time to date. I need to focus on being a mom for now and then later I can try to find someone. I’ll focus on my business first. I can do this on my own. This will inspire single moms. I don’t necessarily need a man. It will happen if it’s meant to be…
She was using her wonderful desires to focus on building her business and being an independent successful woman, as a bandaid to cover up that she longed for a deep connection with a man, yet she was afraid of being hurt again, so she kept herself too busy for love. I was once caught in a similar trap, but I’ve learned to analyze what drives me and whether it’s positive or negative motivation.
Soon, Mandy and I worked on using her limiting beliefs as inspiration to create beliefs that supported what she wanted. It went something like this:
It will happen. He is available. He will accept me with everything I am, I was, and I will evolve to be. He will desire to commit to me. He will love my child as his and will embrace the responsibility that comes with that. I am available for him. I can be a great mom and a great wife. I can be a great wife and a rocking business woman. I can do this on my own, yet I choose to allow myself to receive support. I will inspire single moms who want to find love to know it is possible. I desire a man. I am looking forward to it and I will remain willing and open to allow it to happen.
She gave up the pay off of not having to open herself up to a new relationship, and the false sense of pride of “doing it all by herself,” and eventually, she gained a partner who respects her, supports her, and is devoted to making her smile.
I’ve mentored other moms who feel cared for when they receive pity. I usually suggest we work together to break this pattern, because it is my responsibility to guide them to a better payoff, to help them find a new way of looking at the situation and reframe it from a more empowering place.
Their limiting beliefs usually come up in our time together and although the nurturer in me wants to just hug them tight, I take the route of breaking their pattern and presenting a contrasting belief that would help them question theirs.
My work amazes me because it’s really tough on my ego LOL. I used to believe I had to “be agreeable to be nice“ and “go along to get along,” and thank goodness I challenged that belief and I can get out of my own way to serve moms in living their highest purpose – and on their individual terms. Being “nice” is sometimes the cruelest thing you can do because it can cripple fully capable people.
What about you? Do you see results you like when you look at your life? I always say results don’t lie. If your results are not in alignment with what you really want to be, do, or have, it’s time to question your beliefs, even though they sound reasonable and valid, because in doing so, you may just improve your life and create the life you crave.
I’d love to hear from you about limiting beliefs that have held you back and how you changed them. Will you share them with us?