I’ve been doing a lot of self-help work and am starting on courses to become a certified life coach. During my training and research I found a really good tool of dealing with things that become blocks for us. Have you noticed a pattern in your life? Something good happens in your career and then you find a way to self-sabotage. You begin a diet only to end up heavier than when you started. You have a great book idea and other people have noticed your talent, yet you use one thing after another to procrastinate and put off writing for another day.
So many times it’s our internal beliefs that keep us form getting what we want out of life. One of the best sources I’ve found on limiting beliefs is from Louise Hay. The information in the following worksheets are from her books, You Can Heal Your Life and The Power is Within You.
One of our biggest problems in changing our lives is that we don’t understand what it is that is holding us back. We know what we want. We know what we want to get rid of. But we have no idea what limiting belief is holding us back. One of Louise Hay’s philosophies is that the root cause of any problem is the lack of loving ourselves, but sometimes we need an affirmation that is a bit more specific to our problem. Try seeing if the following examples resonate with you so you can identify your core belief for you.
Sometimes, it’s easier to identify the feeling first. Most limiting beliefs fall into four categories: criticism, fear, guilt, and anger. Most people primarily have one or a mixture of two. Once you can identify the core belief than it’s easier to turn the negative belief into a positive one and start using that for your daily affirmation. These are just jumping off points. Customize the new thought pattern to be specific to you. You’ll know when you’ve found the right one.
Finding the limiting belief
There are multiple ways to find what’s holding you back. I believe these are the two most effective.
Use your mirror: When we look at ourselves in the mirror it’s much harder to hide from ourselves and our true feelings come to the surface. Think about the pattern or problem that you want to change. Ex: “I am confident in my ability to make a living as an author.” What feelings come up? Whose words did you hear in your head? Write them down. Feelings are our big clue as to what is holding us back. They are little gifts that hold the key to dissolving our blocks and we can’t change what we don’t know.
Use your experiences: Your experiences always reflect your inner beliefs. You can literally look at your experiences and determine what your beliefs are. Look at the people you are attracting into your life. It might be hard to believe or to acknowledge, but they are all mirroring some belief that you have about yourself.
If you are always being criticized at work it is probably because you are critical or you internally criticize yourself.
If you have a friend who is undependable and lets you down, turn within. Where in your life are you undependable? Do you let others down? Do you let yourself down? How good of a friend are you to yourself? To others?
Do you have a spouse/lover/family member that is disapproving or unsupportive? Ask yourself where in your life you are disapproving or unsupportive to others? Do you approve of yourself? Do you support yourself?
Remember, what we put out is what we receive. What we plant now, we reap in the future. It is impossible to expect a spouse to be supportive of us when we don’t support of ourselves, and even if they did we would never accept it and would just go on believing that no one supports us.
Write out your feelings, insights, and beliefs. Ask yourself is what I believe really true? Where did I get this belief from? Whose belief is this? Is this a belief I still want to have?
Remember, we have a choice. As children we believed what our parents taught us, but now we are adults and we can choose our thoughts. And we can choose how we want to view life. It’s only a thought and a thought can be changed.
Limiting Beliefs: We self-criticizing ourselves for the same thing over and over again. We attract criticism in our lives through our work, spouse, parent, or boss. Feeling the need to be perfect. Striving for perfection and then beating ourselves up for not achieving it. Seeking approval from parent.
The Treatment: Stop all criticism of self and others. Self-criticism never works. It never motivates people to change for the better, if it had, it would’ve worked by now. So why not try something new…try approving of yourself and see how your life starts to change.
New Thought Patterns: I release the need to be perfect. I am willing to be loving and patient with myself. I accept all parts of me, the good and the things I want to change, and begin to feel totally at ease and comfortable with myself. I love and accept myself exactly the way I am.
Limiting Beliefs: Always feeling wrong or bad. “It’s all my fault.” “I’m not worthy/lovable/good enough.” “Something’s wrong with me.” Feeling manipulated or manipulating others to get your way. Always apologizing for something or someone. Need for punishment. Guilt always seeks punishment and punishment creates pain. Chronic pain comes from chronic guilt, deeply buried—possible chronic illnesses.
The Treatment: Since guilt seeks punishment we can literally become our own judge and jury and executioner and live in our self-imposed prison. Haven’t we served a long enough sentence? Start by challenging old childhood beliefs that need to be changed—parents/religion/teachers. Every time guilt comes up ask yourself: What do I still believe about myself? Who am I trying to please?
New Thought Patterns: I forgive myself. I love and approve of myself exactly the way I am. I am free. I am worthy of being/having love/success/money/health/happiness/a great body.
Limiting Beliefs: Not allowed to express anger. Anger is not acceptable. Refusing to forgive or let go. Always wanting your own way.
Resentment—anger pushed down/swallowed. Deeply buried, may not even be aware of it. Feeling you weren’t allowed to be angry. Bitterness from the past.
Depression—anger turned inward. Anger you don’t feel you have a right to have. Feeling stuck, hopeless.
The Treatment: Everyone deals with anger at one time or another. It is an honest emotion. When it’s not expressed or gets stuck is when we experience problems. It’s good to handle anger when it comes up. Try looking yourself in the mirror, think about your experience and say “I am angry at you because… I am hurt because you… I am so afraid because you…” Afterwards, find space in your heart to forgive. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. It is an act of freedom for yourself. Remember, forgiveness is not an approval of the action, it is a releasing for them and you, and you will be the one who will benefit from it.
New Thought Pattern: I am willing to let go of the past. I am willing to forgive… and I am willing to forgive myself. You are free and I am free.
Limiting Beliefs: Not having trust. Also a form of self-protection. Lack of trust in ourselves and in our Higher Power. “I won’t be taken care of.” “I can’t pay the bills.” Feelings of having to control everything, which brings fear because we can’t control everything. “People cheat me.” “Everyone’s out to get me.” Feelings of not being good enough. “I might fail/ get rejected/ get hurt/ not have enough money.”
Stress—is a fearful reaction to life’s constant changes. It is an excuse we use for not taking responsibility for our feelings.
The primary way fears are masked is through addictions: food, chemicals, alcohol, debt, illnesses, rejection, relationships.
*Note about overeating: Overeating has always been about or a need for protection. Weight has nothing to do with food. Instead, realize there is something going on in your life that’s making you feel unsafe and insecure—your work, spouse, sexuality, life. If you’re overweight put the food/weight issue aside and work on the pattern that says I need protection because I am insecure about…. Weight is only the outer effect of a fear that is inside you. A recommend book on releasing weight and negative thinking is The Only Diet There Is by Sondra Ray.
The Treatment: Fear is the way our body tries to protect us, and trust is what is needed to overcome fear. Also the belief that you are worthy enough to be taken care of. When a fearful thought comes into your mind, thank your body for trying to protect and take care of you, and then say I am now willing to release you and I believe that all of life loves and supports me. The next time you’re stressed ask yourself these questions: What is scaring me? How am I overloading or burdening myself? Why am I giving my power away? For stress, it is essential you remind yourself that you are always safe and it is only change.
New Thought Pattern: I believe that everything I need to know is revealed to me and will happen in the perfect time place and sequence. I trust that I am being taken care of even though I am not physically in control of everything around me. I love and approve of myself. I am safe. All is well.
I hoped this helped. Let me know what you thought in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,