“El Diablo” is a menacing 100-foot high ride at Six Flags in Arlington, Texas. A few summers ago, I rode the giant steel circle with my husband and two of our kids. The back and forth build-up was slow, just the right speed to settle the nerves before rocketing around. Soon we were at full speed, and while fun for a few ring-shaped trips, after a few minutes we were ready to get off that loop!
In the same way, limiting beliefs cause us to live in a pattern of circular thinking. Our thoughts lead to what we do. And, what we do proves our thoughts are true! Unless we can get out of the loop of limiting beliefs and the thoughts they produce, we will keep spinning in circles and going nowhere. Let’s examine what we know about limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are deep-seated thoughts based on previous conditioning in family, education, or other life experiences. When you believe the thoughts are true, they stop you from doing important things, trying something new, or taking action towards becoming who you really want to be. In his book Leverage your Mindset, expert Ricky Kalmon calls limited beliefs “auto-thoughts.” Here are some examples:
“I’m not _____ enough to _____.”
“I am too shy to _____.”
“I can’t _____ because _____.”
“My body will never _____ because _____.”
Unfortunately, we may find it all too easy to fill in these blanks and sabotage ourselves from our potential success and greatness. But there’s good news.
Limiting beliefs are NOT something we have to accept. They can be disrupted and changed! Kalmon’s method for disrupting limiting beliefs is to become aware of the thoughts, interrupt them and replace them. How? Using three simple strategies, you will learn how to let go of beliefs that limit you and finally see what amazing things you can do!
#1 Adopt an Attitude of Gentle Exploration
Take a second to identify three limiting beliefs you hold about your health, body, mind, or potential. Without judgment, write down what the thoughts are so that you become aware of them. Explore the origin of the limiting beliefs.
Gently ask yourself why you may be holding on to those beliefs. Then give yourself permission to acknowledge the answer.
#2 Begin a Journaling Practice
Find a notebook and a pen and move your hand across the page, writing down whatever comes to mind. No need to worry about grammar or punctuation, no need to write something that sounds smart. All you need to do is release the thoughts (limiting beliefs) that stand between you and your potential.
Start your journaling practice by writing for 15 minutes a day first thing in the morning for two weeks. You’ll be amazed at how your mind opens and possibilities appear.
#3 Shush Your Censor!
In the national best-selling book The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron teaches that there is an internal censor in each of us that speaks in a voice of constant criticism. Cameron suggests naming your censor so when the censor shouts limiting beliefs through your thoughts, you can call it by name and shush it!
Next, intentionally replace the censored thought with one that serves you better. Practice shushing your censor to regain a sense of power over your limiting beliefs. If your censor had a name, what would it be?
For a few minutes, riding “El Diablo” was a thrill. But what fun would it be to keep riding on a ride that goes nowhere? In the same way, if we keep ourselves strapped in on a loop of limiting beliefs, we cannot move toward the life we dream of.
Decide to let go of the thoughts that are keeping you from your dreams, and you’ll experience a thrill far better than you could find on the best theme park ride!
Shirttail: Bonnie Hubert Ed.D has been a leader and coach in the fields of education and counseling for 23 years, working with youth, women of all ages, and families. She is a practicing Life Coach, using the ONE Way Life coaching model to help clients achieve success and satisfaction in life.