#89 How to change the limiting beliefs that stunt your life and your healing

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Isn’t it fascinating to look back on your life and see all that you’ve been through and much your perception of life changes with time and life experiences? Yet, with each new stage of life we run into different barriers.  

We get stuck in different places and it takes intentional work to change the way we think and approach situations to move past those tough spots. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a way to see the limiting thoughts that keep you stuck and suffering sooner than later? 

Well, the good news is, there is! 

In this show I’ll talk about how limiting beliefs can sneak up and slide right past us. I’ll also give you some tips on how to identify those beliefs and what work you can do to change them and change your life by doing so. 

Resources:

Limited Beliefs

Baader-Meinhof phenomenon 

Read Full Transcript Below:

Hello and thank you.

 

What a show I have for you today…You know how when you see a car that you love and you think it’s so new and cool and you’re like wow what is that and then you see that car everywhere. Every time you turn around and you’re thinking what the heck? Did they have a blowout sale on that car two hours ago? How are they all around me today and I've never noticed them before?

 

You may have had a similar experience with cancer… if breast cancer wasn’t a thing in your family and you were shocked to be the one to get diagnosed then suddenly everyone you know knows someone who’s had breast cancer or they’ve gone through it themselves 

 

It's a weird experience and, according to howstuffworks.com, it’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon and it’s also known as the frequency or recency illusion.

 

Apparently the frequency illusion was being talked about on a comment board at a local newspaper in Minnesota and someone who had never heard of a terrorist gang called Baaderr Menhoff until it was referred to twice in one day began referring to it the baader meinhoff phenomenon on that chat and it stuck.

 

So there’s today’s bit of trivia.

 

I bring this up because I have put a lot of work into overcoming limiting beliefs for a long time now, but those things are super sneaky and sometimes you don’t even realize that you’re limiting yourself until someone else points it out. 

 

Recently, while I was working with my business coach, I showed her my plan for the next time I open REVIVIFY for enrollment and she said, if you look at this way you’re letting limiting beliefs stop you from serving more people. 

 

And then I saw it. I saw how I was stopping myself from moving closer to what I want to create because of the way I’m thinking about it. So as the baader meinhoff phenomena goes...once I started looking harder for my own limiting beliefs I not only see them everywhere but I see and hear them in everyone around me.

 

Now, one of the fundamental rules of coaching is that you don’t coach people against their will...my job is to help my clients discover things for themselves because those are the aha moments that inspire change but I do get to indirectly coach on this podcast and anyone who needs it, can benefit.

 

So I thought this would be a good time to talk about limiting beliefs. How they hold us back from becoming the best version of ourselves and how we can work on identifying and overcoming them so we don’t allow cancer  or life to pigeon hole us into believing that we’re less capable or valuable than we actually are..

 

First of all let's define a limiting belief.

 

The Cambridge dictionary defines a belief as a feeling of being certain that something exists or is true. And it defines “limiting” as something that prevents you from having much choice. 

 

The Merriam Webster dictionary says limiting is something that bounds, restrains, or confines.

 

So a limiting belief is believing you are bound, confined, restrained and that the truth is you don’t have much choice.

 

I don’t know about you but there’s nothing I like about living by that definition. 

 

Yet, I’m guilty of it and I know you are too because we all have limiting beliefs and when we have had a major challenge forced upon us or maybe multiple forced challenges...those beliefs can sneak in, and suck the life out of you without even realizing that you’re allowing it to happen.

 

A perfect example of this in breast cancer recovery is the drive to get back to normal after cancer treatment. We can get so caught up in the idea of one thing that we don't even allow the opportunity for something else.

 

You might say I can’t do this or that anymore because your body has changed and so you withdraw from life rather than leaning into life and opening your thoughts to ideas of what you can do.

 

When you stick with the idea that changing something is beyond your capacity or that because something changed against your will  it won’t be as good or better than what you used to have or what you used to do...you limit yourself by your belief in that idea.

 

The other day I got a phone call from a woman who was having a lot of anxiety over the impact that the quarantine here in California is having on her financially.

 

I asked her if she was open to exploring alternative ways to make money temporarily and she was. But as we began to explore options, her response to every suggestions was, “I can’t do that” and honestly there was not a valid reason behind any of her denials. She is simply so attached to doing what she’s always done to earn money that she is choosing to stay in a state of anxiety while she waits for things to change rather than trying new, unfamiliar options that might offer her some temporary relief. 

 

And the only thing that's causing her to stay stuck here is the way she’s thinking about her situation. She’s approaching everything that doesn’t fit in the box of familiarity with a limiting mindset. Even when it comes to her business reopening, she’s looking at all the things she won’t be able to do under the new guidelines rather than exploring new ways of marketing and serving her customers.

 

Another example and one I'm totally guilty of is saying something like, no matter what I do I can't lose weight now, or it’s so hard for me to lose weight.

 

Can you see how that’s a limiting belief? If I don’t call myself out when I slip into that mindset...when I allow those limiting thoughts, then I convince myself that it's the truth..and that does not serve me in any way.

I am diligent about working on my body composition goals. And I say that intentionally because I don't just want to achieve a particular weight, I want to lose body fat and have a lean and strong body so I want to change my body composition, keep my blood sugar and cholesterol under control and feel energetic.

 

I used to step on the scale and get so frustrated at the lack of change but when I realized how my thinking...this sucks, no matter what I do nothing changes...was actually my biggest problem, I started to approach it differently. 

 

Now if I don’t see the change I want I ask myself, what have I been doing differently that I could get better at?

 

Am I snacking mindlessly, am I maintaining my fasting window. Am I moving less than I think I am...how I can tweak something to keep moving forward? Because it’s easy for lifestyle patterns to shift and we have to honest with ourselves about what we’re doing, regroup from time to time and stay intentional rather than blaming a limiting belief and then going off to eat a bag of chips or have a margarita because what the hell nothing makes any difference anyway.

 

When my bone and joint pain flares up I used to be pissed and frustrated at how cancer treatment messed up my body. 

 

But that way of thinking does nothing to get me out of pain in fact I’m careful to catch myself when my mind is ruminating on the same thought of dang that hurts, crap I’m in so much pain today...I’ll catch myself and say whoa wait now...your focusing on the pain. I’m limiting my thoughts to what is hurting me rather than what can bring me relief.

 

 Things are what they are, I went through treatment, 9 years later I’m still alive with no evidence of disease and that was the goal.

So if I stay focused on all the physical crap that my treatment changed. I could end up a sedentary mess. But if I notice the pain increasing and I ask myself what did I eat recently that could be contributing to this, do I have a flare up of inflammation if I drink alcohol, eat sugar or dairy.

One way of thinking will keep me stuck in pain and bitter about it, limiting my life and the other way of thinking opens my mind to what I can control and what I can change to improve my situation.  

 

Circling back to weight loss you might say to me but Laura things actually have changed and it is harder for me to lose weight now,  and I get that and I’m not asking you to lie to yourself and say oh this is a breeze now. 

There's a line in one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories, the pale green pants with no one inside them. Where the character in the story is trying to convince himself that he isn't afraid of these pants with nobody in them and he says

 “I do not fear those pants

 

With nobody inside them.”

 

I said, and said, and said those words.

 

I said them. But I lied them.

 

We always know when we’re lying to ourselves. Even if we’re not willing to face the lie. So I’m not asking you to tell yourself something that isn’t true, I’m suggesting that you learn to identify what is limiting you and then think about it differently.

 

For example rather than saying no matter what I do I can’t lose weight.  You might say to yourself and others

 

I'm working on finding a way to manage my weight effortlessly without feeling deprived and frustrated.

 

This way of thinking allows you to explore ideas without setting a limit on the possibilities.

 

I’ll often work with women who want to change their diet. They’re either unhappy with their weight or very aware of the fact that the way they feed themselves is not supporting their health goals or that it's even undermining their health goals and increasing their cancer risk. 

 

And they’ll start the conversation with, “I want to eat better but I’m not giving up my diet soda, or I won’t stop eating dessert or don’t ask me to give up cheese.”

 

So I haven’t even asked them to change anything, and that’s not how I weight loss coach anyway, but before they begin exploring potential change they put limits firmly in place. 

 

This is what I don’t like about how we are so fixated on labels when it comes to anything… labels are so limiting.

 

If I call myself a vegan or a vegetarian and then one day I find myself craving a poke bowl. I either give into that craving and then feel ashamed for violating my label or someone finds me eating fish and calls me out. I thought you were...fill in the blank. And there’s a whole new level of shame. 

Or I could say, I prefer to eat a mostly plant based diet which allows me to listen to my body and tend to its needs so if one day I feel like eating sushi. I just eat the damn sushi. 

 

Now if for moral, spiritual or any other reason you’re committed to a specific lifestyle and way of eating, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

But for so many people, when you suggest a plant based diet which is a great way to support optimal health, their mind goes straight to fear and deprivation and they end up resisting even being open to allowing change.

 

In the 2013 article, Limited beliefs, published on psychology today.com, the author, Steve Sisgold says that, “The fact that we often do not question negative beliefs and accept them as the way things are makes them particularly noxious….

The good news is: no matter what has happened to you in the past, your course is not predetermined. Fate has not left you out in the cold, and the life you desire is just around the corner once you tweak the belief system that governs your reality-making process.

So let’s talk about how you can identify limiting beliefs and what you can do to create space for more possibilities, growth and happiness in your life.

 

Step 1- identify your limiting belief. Sounds easy enough right...that’s somewhat like asking a 14 year old who spent three hours doing homework only to put it in their backpack and not turn it in for credit “what the heck they were thinking. Well they weren’t thinking just as we are often not consciously aware of how we’re thinking.

 

So to do step one you have to start writing things down. Choose one are of your life whether its health, relationships, money...whatever it is that you want to be something other than what it is right now and begin writing all of your thoughts about that situation.

 

Every single thought.

I’ll give you some examples of actual statements that I hear

My scars are so ugly no one will ever want me.

My fat belly is disgusting and gross no one can stand to look at me.

 

Side note here...I had a woman just the other day say to me that she caught her husband gazing at her and she asked what he was looking at and when he responded with I just think you're so beautiful and sexy she shot back ewww...

No I’m not…

 

Sound familiar anyone...even if you don’t say it out loud but you think it...that is limiting your ability to be fully open and intimately engaged in your romantic relationship.

 

That situation was not her husband not wanting her it was her not wanting to be wanted.

 

Another example is 

I don’t want to travel or start something new because I might get cancer again.

 

Cancer has ruined my life.

 

These may not be beliefs you struggle with but hopefully the examples give you a good idea of what to work with.

 

Now once you’ve written down all those thoughts. Ask yourself, what action am I taking or not taking because I believe that thought?

 

In the psychology today article I mentioned earlier, the author uses a quote from the book, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen where he said, “Belief always precedes action.”

 

We act or we choose not to act based on what we believe.

 

So look at your thoughts around the situation that is bothering you, write down the actions you are taking or not taking because of those thoughts and then write the results you're getting from those actions.

 

Are you moving closer to your goal, are you happier, are you growing...if not how would your actions have to change to get the results you want and how do you need to think differently in order to take those actions?

 

You see how that cycle works...I’ve talked about this before and I use this model in my coaching programs because it works.

 

When you can identify the thoughts that are driving your actions and you can begin to create change by honestly re-framing your thoughts to drive different actions resulting in a life that brings you more fulfillment.

 

Sound good? It is good and it is work and it is an ongoing daily process to get on top of and stay in tune with how you’re creating the life you’re living.

 

If you want to take more steps toward that life...

 

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