We all have it. That small voice that comes along and whispers in our ear sometimes. The one that tells us who we are, what we are not good at, what we don’t like, and how things just…. ARE. We are absolutely certain that this voice is correct. After all, it is based on sound examples and experiences. It is proven and based on a documented history of events that you have personally participated in.
Some examples of what this voice says may be:
- “I am not a morning person, so working out before work would really not be sustainable for me.”
- “I have always hated to be the center of attention, so I would feel uncomfortable having to make a speech in front of a large crowd”
- “I am not good at sticking to things so I tend to lose interest in activities and move on to something else very quickly”.
All of these statements may very well hold some truth. They are based on historical behavior patterns that become over time a story about ourselves that we keep repeating. However, many of my clients start to work with me in order to change something in their life; to improve something, to work on goals, or to become the best version of themselves that they envision. At the same time, there are always the BUT statements… the ones that go something like “I would like to do this, BUT ….”
Enter what we call the limiting belief.
A limiting belief is that voice. That statement, story or narrative that we have been repeating to ourselves for a very long time. No wonder when we are not getting to the places we want, or meeting our goals. However, that story we are telling ourselves may be outdated and in many cases limiting to our personal growth.
Can we all relate to this? What are the stories that you have been telling yourself forever; those that have become "who you are". These stories are in many cases great, as long as they are not getting in our way of personal growth or becoming the person we want to be. The ones that are holding you back are the limiting stories. So I challenge all of you to take notice when you are telling yourself a story that you believe is getting in your way.
A good tool for this is to have someone help you to reframe or simply rewrite our narratives. For example:
- I am not good at sticking to things. If this is preventing you from starting new things, challenge yourself and ask: Do I not stick to ALL things? Or perhaps the ones I gave up on were started for the wrong reasons or motivation? What has been a time in your life that you HAVE stuck with something? What made it sustainably last? How can you search for similar activities that align with those same motivations and values? Suddenly that storyline no longer applies to your new way of looking at things. New narrative: I like to be inspired and do things that are in line with my values. I start things that inspire and intrinsically motivate me.. and not things that I feel I SHOULD do or try. I will stick to things as long as I have chosen it as worthy of my valuable time and energy.
- I am not a morning person. If you have no desire or need to be a morning person, that is fine. However I find that many people say that at the same time yearning to get more done, to wake up with the birds, or get a better head start on the day. So start by telling yourself (and others if you desire more accountability) that early morning wake ups are your new thing. Make it a habit to get up early every day for a week. You may want to change some behaviors around this to make it happen… go to bed earlier, do something or eat/drink something that you love each morning before you start your tasks. After a week, check in and see how you feel. New narrative: I love my sleep. However when I start my day earlier, I find myself getting more of things done that I love, and give more of myself to those I care about. I participate in behaviors that support an early morning routine. I love waking up with the birds and have more energy when I sustainably follow their behavior patterns.
Research shows that by repeating different stories to yourself over time, it changes our sense of what is true and possible. So if you hear that voice and it is telling you something you don’t like…. You have the ability to change it. It requires some repeating, practice, and most importantly the confidence that you are not your beliefs.
What becomes possible by shedding yourself of those limiting beliefs? You can start to change your narrative one statement and one behavior at a time. Let's get rewriting!