Updated: Nov 4, 2019
If you have ever worked with a Life Coach, or any Therapist for that matter. There will come a time in the process where you will start working on limiting beliefs that are holding you back from the life you want to live.
The most simplest definition of beliefs are the glasses through which you view the world.
When you wake up tomorrow morning you will gather a host of beliefs to take along with you; beliefs that reflect how you feel about yourself, your life as well as how you will react to events and situations.
The beliefs you carry about yourself, your potential, your strengths and weaknesses help you navigate life’s journey. The problem is, beliefs form very quickly.
I’ll explain using examples
Think back to your school days. There was probably a boy or a girl you really liked, but they didn’t like you, and just like that a cycle starts of “I am not good enough”
Someone makes a comment about the the shape of your knees. Something like: “Your knees are fat” and just like that, the cycle starts and you develop a complex about your knees. You start comparing your knees to everyone you see and before you know it, you’ve stopped wearing clothes that exposes your knees.
You joined a company that you want to grow and evolve your career with. You apply for a management position and get a response that says: “you are not ready for the promotion”. And just like that, the cycle starts and you second guess yourself in everything you do.
My point is, beliefs form very quickly and it takes a conciouss effort to break them.
“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong”
- Bertrand Russel
John Welwood uses an analogy to demonstrate the pure potential inside all of us.
Imagine being a magnificent castle with long hallways and thousands of rooms. Every room in the castle is perfect and represents a certain aspect of yourself. It forms an integral part of the entire castle.
As a child, you explored every inch of your castle without shame or judgement. Fearlessly you searched for its jewels and mystery. Lovingly you embraced every room and aspect of yourself. Your castle was full of light, love and wonder.
Then one day, someone came to your castle and told you that one of your rooms was imperfect. They suggested if you want to have a perfect castle you should close and lock the door to this room. Since you wanted love and acceptance you quickly closed that door.
More and more people came to your castle and shared their opinions about the rooms they liked and didn’t like. Slowly you shut one door after the other and a cycle has begun.
You closed doors for all kinds of reasons. You closed doors because your were afraid of being to loud and bold. You closed doors to rooms that were to conservative. You closed doors because other castles you saw did not have rooms like yours. You closed doors because your religious leader told you to stay away from certain rooms. You closed doors that did not fit into societies standards.
The days were gone when your castle seemed endless and your future seemed bright and exciting. With everyone giving you different opinions about what a magnificent castle should look like, its became much easier to listen to them than to trust your inner voice: the one that loved your entire castle.
You learned to shut off parts of yourself and became comfortable doing it. Many of us have locked away rooms of our castle and we begin to believe that we are just a small, two-bedroom house in need of repair.
Instead of setting out on an adventure to find our hidden selves, full of excitement and wonder, we keep pretending the rooms don’t exist -the cycle continues.
The castle is a metaphor to help you grasp the enormity of beliefs and how quickly they are formed.
We learn our belief systems as 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.
If you really want to change the direction of your life you must go into your castle and slowly open each and every door. You must take back all that you’ve disowned.
Here are 4 simple steps to unlock the doors in your castle.
1. Identify where you are emotionally. Guilty, overwhelmed, stuck, depressed, sad? You cannot change your life when you are stuck in these emotional states. You need to shine a light on them and write them down.
2. What is the remedy? If fear is controlling things, your remedy is courage. And right now, being courageous may not necessarily feel good for you, but it IS good for you! People have patterns, what is yours? Angry people get angry, sad people get sad. Anger doesn’t actually solve the problem, but most times it exacerbated it.
This is where we naturally live in our “castle” our comfort zone. Identify the triggers and then remedy them. To acknowledge what is holding us back can be the hardest step.
3. Try on the opposite emotion / belief. Know that you can change your frustrations. If you work out what is causing your frustrations, then you can start to take action. Be consistent in working towards making the change.
4. Take action – This is when your life changes, when your new found emotion/belief becomes the new normal. This might feel scary, but act as if your new belief is true! In other words if you really are the successful man or woman you want to be, how will they go about their day ? Act it out!
Stop hiding and start shining!