“Once we accept our limits we go beyond them.”
As a child I feared the unknown. I feared the deep ocean, I feared the endless, outer space and I feared public school. Part of the reason for fearing (and eventually hating) school stemmed from a humiliating experience in second grade. I didn’t know how to read, so I only pretended to read during the class reading time. One day I began feeling anxious and started to cry. I did my best to hide my tears but the old, gray-haired teacher announced before the entire class “Crying about it won’t make it better, Ben!” (what grade school teacher does that?!)
Anxiety, fear and depression gradually controlled my childhood and early teenage life. The struggles were compounded by addiction, loneliness and a suffocated self-esteem. This image from my art journal depicts what my entire existence was like. The self-imposed prison bars (paralleling the vertical stripes of my garb) restrained me from a dangled, valued aspiration. As a reflection of my deepest beliefs about myself, I knew I could get the cherished fruit, but it wasn't an option to discard the restricting barrier. That barrier was my reality. It was my safety. How could I ever get through?
Limiting beliefs are like this. We adopt a significant number of disempowering beliefs during our childhood. Researchers estimate that 95% of our behavior is controlled by our subconscious mind, which is where our belief systems reside. The majority of these beliefs are limiting in nature. What do limiting beliefs look like? Here are some examples:
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t have enough strength.
I don't have enough money.
One day I’ll change.
I can’t start … I’m not ready.
I can't because I have kids. I can't because I…
Money is the root of all evil.
If I’m honest I’ll be rejected
I’m too old now.
I’m not smart enough.
I’m not worthy
Getting my hopes up always leads to disappointment.
I’ve already tried so many times, it’s just not worth it anymore.
My plate is too full already.
Change is too hard.
People won’t like the real me.
I'll be judged or criticized if I open up and share my true thoughts and feelings.
Life is hard … that’s just the way it is.
There’s no point in dreaming big.
Others’ needs are more important than mine.
I’ll always struggle with this.
There’s no point in asking for what I want.
I don’t have enough experience.
I don’t deserve to be happy.
Why try? I’ll just fail.
Did any of these resonate with you? Do you recognize any more limiting beliefs of your own? Why do you have these? Where did they come from?
We hold to these beliefs for various reasons. They’re what we’re used to. It’s safe. We’re protected by these. However, our spirit naturally hungers for liberty, light, abundance and fulfillment. Enjoying these requires that we overcome our limitations and experience deeper, more profound happiness, satisfaction and joy! Seeking such becomes a journey of a lifetime- a journey of healing, of awakening and of becoming whole. How do we do it?
This post is the first in a series of three addressing limiting beliefs and how they affect our health and overall well-being, and how we may overcome them and reconnect to our true self. I’ll guide you along with what I’ve learned from my experiences, as well as with the centuries of ancient Qigong wisdom and understanding I’ve been benefited by. As you read these, I invite you to allow your mind to expand and your heart to listen to what your higher self already knows. This is will help you accept and integrate wisdom and truth. And, as Jesus taught, the truth shall make you free - free from limitations and bounds, especially ones that are self imposed. There will be a liberating power evolving within your body, mind, spirit and life as you heal and become whole.
The first step in this process is given as a clue in the quote at the beginning of this post.
Do you know what it is?