In the preamble to the A-Z of Just Being, I first introduced the importance and relevance of Just Being, then covered the Bane of Being Busy which illustrated how busyness affects our lives and does not allow us to pause and actually be. Next, the Bliss in our Breath highlighted some ways to use our breath to help us sit in silence, quieten the mind to go within where we can access our true being. Before we finally get into the A-Z itself, I would like to shine a torch on our limiting beliefs because we first have to be aware of them and then get past them to be able to move forward.
Till the age of six to seven, children are sponges. They learn and absorb the attitudes and behaviours from the people closest to them. And the startling truth is that they become so programmed by those beliefs and habits that in their adult lives they run on auto-pilot, living by the conditioning of the sub-conscious mind for more than 90% of the time, downloading copies of other people’s behaviours. 70% of these programmes are disempowering and self-sabotaging and very often they are not even aware that they are doing that.
Furthermore, even if they want to consciously change their habit or behaviour, it is not that simple because the sub–conscious programming always has the upper hand. Thus, the importance of connecting with our sub-conscious through meditation and other practices, which also help us in becoming aware of our habitual patterns that stem from acquired beliefs before we can work on changing the belief itself.
Beliefs are a form of hypnosis and they are not necessarily true. Perhaps the mother of all limiting beliefs is “I am not good enough”. This belief comes in different guises: I am not smart enough, not young enough, not rich enough etc. And people’s habits, views and behaviours are conditioned by these beliefs. So to change the outer we have to get to the inner.
We are so much more than our limited mind and our object is to change our view of the world and ourselves. We see life through the filter of our beliefs, get stuck in freeze mode and even look for evidence that our beliefs are true. The irony is that we experience what we believe. What is reality? Is what I think true? Question your existing thought patterns: Are my beliefs true for me today? Are they serving me in the right way? ((Because beliefs always serve in some way, say for protection, which you may no longer need.)
A very simplistic example: I grew up believing I was hopeless at maths. So for most of my life my mind would go blank at the mention of numbers. But thinking about it, I realise that nothing extra was done at that point in time to address my poor performance. So now I keep my mind open and give it a go at least. And going back to “I am not good enough”, that goes totally against the grain of our true essence. We are all whole beings, loved unconditionally by a Supreme Being. We are totally worthy and do not need anyone to validate us. Just that over time, acquiring various labels and roles, being shrouded by limiting beliefs we have shrunk, hidden and ignored our inherent magnificent identity.
So healing and growth start with self-love and acceptance. Growth means becoming more of who we are; not trying to change per se but growing. In order to be whole we must accept all of ourselves, warts and all The first relationship then, is really with yourself.
“The paradox of personal growth is that it begins with self-acceptance.” Carl Rogers
Three exercises/tools I have found to be useful are:
1/ The first exercise is in two parts.
a/ Become a witness to your thoughts, feelings, emotions and perceptions. Learn how to witness your inner world. Make a list of your beliefs around yourself, relationships, health, work, money. Examine them one by one, honestly asking why you hold the beliefs that you do and how relevant or true they are today. See if you can make a shift. Do you think you have to work hard to make a living? Why is there evidence now that when you are in flow, work can be easy and abundance follows?
b/ Reframe that negative belief into something that feels true to you. Change “I am not good enough” to “I am Ok” Even if you cannot go as far as “I am more than enough”. But take a leap of faith. The ideal would be to be independent of this conditioning so that you can go and experience a deeper part of yourself which is a field of pure potential. The key word here is “to experience”. If you go within on a consistent basis you will discover experientially that you are whole and more than enough.
2/ Make an appreciation list of who you are now. I found this difficult to start with but slowly the more I dwelled on it the more positive qualities I came up with and it transported me to a better place. You can even ask close family and friends to tell you what your strong points are. Why wait for a eulogy which you will never hear, I say? (And as an aside, keep pointing out what you appreciate about the same people closest to you because what you give out comes back to you.)
“As you think thoughts that feel good to you, you will be in harmony with who you really are.” Abraham Hicks
3/ The third is actually a tool I discovered some 15 years ago and recently I have become a student practitioner of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or tapping. I find tapping very soothing because it reduces stress and anxiety levels very quickly and as it involves tapping on several meridian points, it shifts blocked energy more easily than talking or thinking things through. You can actually tap on your limiting beliefs to try and shift them and you can also tap on enhancing self-love and self-acceptance. Many You Tube videos are out there for you to give it a try. (For deeper issues working with a qualified practitioner is always advisable)
Connecting with your true self and having a loving relationship with yourself is an on-going process. It takes time, patience and commitment. “When you work on your inner sense of worthiness and value, your energy levels go up. your insights, creativity and your belief in yourself all increase” David Hamilton PhD. That is perhaps when we can take our personal growth to the next level. Enter A-Z.