What Do You Mean I Can Choose My Beliefs?
When someone asks you about the meaning of success, or happiness, or joy in your life, do you ever stop to think about your beliefs behind them?
Most of us immediately think about what we should “do” or how we should “feel” or what we should “say” to be happy, joyful and successful. Not what we believe.
Funny how little we think about what actually we believe to be true.
It took me a lot of years to realize that I could actually choose my beliefs about anything and everything, from God to family to marriage to children to friendship and to success and work.
Of all those, the last one gave me the biggest joy: I can choose to believe what is meaningful and joyful work and what is a waste of my time on this earth. I can choose to let go of old beliefs about success and adopt the ones that match my own heartbeat.
This realization alone kickstarted my transformation from unhappy frustrated soul into a blessed out joyful one.
Don’t believe me? Try crushing one single self-limiting belief about yourself, replace it with a belief that makes your heart sing. Observe results. Then let’s talk.
And I am about to show you how to do just that.
First, back to choosing your beliefs. Yes, as I was saying, you can choose your beliefs as you choose your clothes for the day or your words for a conversation. You can express them in words, examine them, turn them around, ask yourself why you believe them, validate them, and arrive at your own smart logical heart-felt conclusions.
The key words here: Your Own. As opposed to say your mom’s or your best friend’s or your religion’s or your culture’s. Worth repeating: Your Own.
Our Beliefs Create Our Reality. Here’s How.
You don’t have to go on believing what you were taught or heard. You get to choose! And you still choose by not choosing. You choose the default.
I know, this is so obvious it’s hardly a realization but I’m a late bloomer to personal growth; for me, it was an awakening on gigantic terms.
But the best part is yet to come. It took me even longer to realize this: Our beliefs create our reality. So there is the practical purpose of having a belief system.
And if you have been believing the beliefs of someone else, then you have been living their version of reality and that’s not the only version there is.
You can create your own version of reality. Imagine that.
This can be especially good news if you are not crazy about the version you are living now.
For instance: If you believe that getting fired from your job is a “bad thing” and a “shameful thing”, then your reality will be painful and unpleasant, until you regain employment at a similar place. Your reality will dictate your actions and choose the next course that you take.
But if you believe that being fired from your job is a sign from the heavens, an opportunity to expand your life and explore new directions, well, then your reality will be very different. Heck, you may not care to regain employment again if you allow yourself to explore new directions and find new things about yourself you never knew.
The event – getting fired – is a thing that happens to you. It is a fact that it has happened. Unless you can go back in time to change it, the ‘getting fired’ has taken place and there is no changing it.
You have been dealt a hand. It is a done deal. Now what?
Now what happens next is largely a function of your belief system. And depending on that belief system, you can create an easy or difficult reality for yourself with the subsequent things that you set in motion.
There are other factors that affect the way your reality unfolds, of course, but my point is this: Do not discount your beliefs. They can play a large part. In fact, if you study super successful people, luck or timing pale in comparison to the role that their beliefs have played in their overall success.
Now What Are These Self-Limiting Beliefs and How Do You Get Rid of Them?
Self-limiting beliefs are the kind of beliefs that limit you, your options, your opportunities, your potential.
Sneaky little things, you hardly know they are there. They sound innocent enough and yet they gingerly put you in a little tiny box and every time you want to leap out and live bigger and think bigger for yourself, there they are, blocking the way but ever so kindly you hardly think to question them.
Well, that’s about to change. Because it’s a shame to discover at the end of your life that you and you alone stood in your way of greatness. No?
Examples of self-limiting beliefs (the parenthesis are my commentary):
– I’m just a bad writer. (Says who?)
– I can’t do yoga because I can’t touch my toes. (Huh?)
– Everyone in my family was an engineer, and I’ve got the same genes. My path is decided. (Since when is profession hereditary?)
– I need more money to be happy. (Can you be happy first then get the money?)
– It’s too late for me to start a new career. (Is there blood flowing through your veins? Then it ain’t late yet!)
So you get the idea. We adopt and wear these self-limiting beliefs as our second skin without even questioning them. You can still scrub them off, just as a real Korean spa helps you shed one layer of dead skin for a new one, you can shed dead beliefs for true ones.
Here are 10 simple steps to ending your self-limiting beliefs:
Apply this exercise to one self-limiting belief at a time. Let’s use this example: It is too late to start a new career now.
1. Identify your self-limiting belief. Write it down in words so you can stop the words from swirling around in your head.
Example: It is too late to start a new career for me.
2. Ask yourself: Why do I believe this? Think about what this belief means to you, whom you associate it with, or how you adopted it. Think of all the reasons you adopted this belief.
Example: I believe it’s too late because I was told that you can’t change your career after the age of 50.
3. Describe how this self-limiting belief makes you feel. Are you happy about feeling this way? Describe the feeling in 5 words. If it’s not a good feeling, decide to change it. Keep going.
Example: I feel trapped and unhappy believing that I can’t change my career at 57 but I have no choice.
4. What or whom is the source of this self-limiting belief? And write down everything that comes to mind. Even if you overheard it at a party or seen it in a movie or read it in a book. Anything can be the source of your belief here.
Example: The source of this belief comes from my mother who insisted that I should change profession in my 20s but no later.
5. Ask if this self-limiting belief is absolutely true? Can you be sure that it’s so? Write down your reasons for yes or no.
Example: I have no proof that it’s absolutely true. I simply took my mother’ word for it because I trusted her but I have seen a few others at my age change careers successfully so it can’t be absolutely true that I can’t do it.
6. If not absolutely true, explore the opposite beliefs. What other version of this belief could be true? Write down at least 2 other versions that resonate with you and that you want to examine.
Example: It could be true that it is not too late for me, and that I could change my career at 57 and that I could even be successful at it.
7. If this new belief were true, how does it feel? Does this new belief limit you or help you think and be bigger? Is this a belief around which you want to create your reality?
Example: If I could change my career at 57, I would feel liberated, in harmony with myself, and hopeful again.
8. Discard the self-limiting belief. Have a mini ritual of discarding the self-limiting belief by denying its validity and stating that you no longer subscribe to it.
Example: I no longer believe that it is too late to change careers at any age.
9. Adopt the new self-expanding belief. Now adopt and cultivate the new belief that you have just arrived at. State it. Declare it as your new belief.
Example: I now believe that I change my career at 57 (and even later) and that I will be successful.
10. Reinforce your new self-expanding belief. Your old belief will come back to haunt you, force of habit is a strong one. So your job is to make your new belief stronger and stronger, and not feed the power of the old self-limiting belief.
You can apply affirmations or guided affirmations to do this.