Like all of the best ideas and inspiration, today’s post was born out of a run of the mill conversation with a friend. My girlfriend and I were balls deep in our usual pow wows – jumping from how the big, bad universe worked; our latest epiphanies, triumphs and failures; our next goal and vision; and she posed this question to me. “How do you grow past your limiting beliefs?”. You know those thoughts [usually total BS ones at that] that tend to paint a picture of ourselves that is inaccurate at best and pretty furgin’ mean at worst. The thoughts that literally limit you from fulfilling things within your work, home, relationship, health and whatever other roles that you might immerse yourself in.
People tend to think that their beliefs – what they know to be true or the innate rules and scaffolds that they impose on their experiences – are set. That they’re somewhat inflexible or rigid in their form, and don’t allow for change. There’s so much research and writings on the topic of changing your thoughts, rewiring your brain and the power that we hold in amending our mindsets. Psychological theories support this, metaphysical [yep – dat hippie stuff you know I love] theories support this and neuro-scientific theories support this. Our brains are plastic [read: changeable, not Mattel] and we are the ones who are at the control deck, able to pick and choose how we use this weird and wonderful tool.
Ok so, beliefs … I heard this analogy once that said beliefs are like tables. Our thoughts are the solid planks of wood that provide the overall framework and functionality of the table. And what does a table need to elevate and support it? Legs 11 baby. The legs are what support it – allowing it to take form, and to be sturdy. We’ve all been to a franchise café where one of the legs is a good 3 inches shorter than its mates’ and we end up wearing our macchiato – a shitty leg makes for a shitty table. These legs, if we skip on back to the belief analogy, are the examples that support or refute our belief. Let’s say that you’re of the believe that you are ‘terrible with money’. You tell yourself that you can’t save, you don’t earn enough, you can’t afford the nice things that others have, you didn’t have enough money x many months ago to go on a trip with the girls. Pretty firm frikkin legs to support the whole ‘terrible with money’ concept huh? But let’s say you’re done with that – that thought doesn’t support you and it certainly doesn’t offer any constructive push forward or offer a solution as to how you can resolve it. It’s rigid, limiting and shitty. So let’s just for a second, entertain the opposite belief. That you’re ‘learning to be good with money’ or, eff it, dream big and declare that you are ‘good with money’. Now give it some legs and find examples in your life that might support this new belief. That you were able to pay rent last night, that you have savings [$1 is savings, count it], that you are lucky enough to earn an income, that you have clothes on your bod and a roof over your head. Four sturdy legs to support. And keep adding, keep building tables, keep getting all ‘human centipede’ on the concept and add legs til it’s the sturdiest mother clucker in Pottery Barn.
Remember – friends don’t let friends skip leg day. It’s true of the gym and it’s true in the game of belief building.
And here’s something else … The flip side of this analogy is true also. If you perhaps have a belief that is doing nothing to serve you – i.e. it’s holding you back, making you feel shitty, attracting crappy partners [and telling you that you deserve them], leaving you to feel stuck in a dead end job … then why not start to play around with the legs on which they stand. Get your Lumberjack on, sharpen your axe and chip away. Challenge the ‘evidence’ that you have told yourself supports x belief and then tear it apart. Challenge it. Find a better example that directly opposes it. If you’ve told yourself that you “aren’t worthy of love” [ugh, this one annoys me more than any other one when I see people rattling it off] and the legs that it stands on are based on past fact, flip the little buggers. Refute them with assertion and tenacity. Choose to see things a little differently. Adopt a different perspective for the stories that once fuelled your beliefs and challenge their counterpart.
From time to time, my insatiable desire to see the good in things and people and situations [to a fault] is labeled as being a little idealistic and naïve. And I can kind of get how some of you might be eye rolling now and thinking ‘what if my beliefs are realistic?’ ‘what if they’re bang on and I’m not sticking my head in the sand trying to believe something that just isn’t true?’. Well – I get it. I know what it’s like to believe something and be totally assured that it’s the legitimate one, and an ultimate truth. But I also totally think that unless your beliefs leave you feeling empowered and good and conscious and are projecting you forwards – then they aren’t the best belief for you. They’re not the ones you should be hanging on to. They might be true for you at the moment, but maybe that’s just because you haven’t dared to think any differently? What’s the worst that happens if you just try, even for a nano second, to shape a different belief? That everything will change? Nothing will change? You literally have nothing to lose if you’re been swimming in the limiting beliefs pool and want to change gears and frolic in the empowered belief ocean for a bit. Get your rig out and dive in.
Do you think it was coincidence that Jesus was a carpenter? Fuck no it wasn’t – he was building belief tables yo’.
Blessings and ever changing beliefs x
PS apologies for the religious reference. It was too funny not to share. No religious affiliation is underlying this post. Except Kabbalah maybe. Because it’s fun to say.