We are all a buildup of our past experiences, values and beliefs that help us lead our life. Some of these are our own whereas most of them were taught to us by our parents/guardians or societies we grew up in. Hence, often times we are unaware as to what is ours and what was imposed. Among these are notions — the beliefs we hold dear without realising that they are detrimental to our growth.
Some notions are so engrained within our psyche that we are not only staunch believers of them but also transfer them to the next generations. What are such notions? Here’s a small check-list which is limited and slightly culture specific:
- Money doesn’t come easy
- Marriage is a lot of work
- Working isn’t fun
- Its ultimately all about hard work
- I’m not great at math
- I have to be perfect to be loved
- Not everyone can be rich
- You need to work hard to pay the bills
- Life is tough
- I can never do this
- Life is unfair
- I’ll be judged
You can find these beliefs in every area of your life- be it career, romance, marriage , work and the list is endless. The problem is we let these statements define us and put things into water tight boxes. We rarely try to challenge them, which keeps us from living our true potential and the life we truly desire.
But how do we spot our own limiting beliefs?
We have to begin by inspecting our general beliefs: List out some of your general beliefs about love, money, career and relations. Feel free to add more categories. Now to the list, add some of the beliefs you have about yourself. Eg- all your “can’t(s)” like — I can’t dance; I can’t just quit my job and end that relationship, etc.
What hasn’t worked for you in the past: Once you have a rough list to work with, try and figure out which of these haven’t really helped you in the past. We have to realize that some beliefs might have helped us and we would like to keep them. Hence, it’s essential to weed out the ones that have hindered us from living out our true potential.
Challenge them: This is the tough part. We need to challenge almost all of these beliefs to see how much of it is actually true! You might dance very well but haven’t really tested it out and so believe that you can’t. Likewise, we must put all these beliefs through the litmus test.
Ask yourself: Is it true? Do I really believe that? How did I come to believe in it?
Living with awareness: Having reached the root point of the beliefs, the final step is to live with awareness. The next time you react to something or feel very strongly about anything, take a moment to acknowledge what’s driving you. Taking a minute, allows us to re-evaluate our intentions and helps us choose how we want to lead our life, rather than being on autopilot. This is also the key to live a more authentic life, about which you can read more here .
Go in for counselling: Some beliefs/ notions are very sticky and are difficult to deal with, despite knowing that they are affecting us. In such cases, it’s better to go in for counselling. The counsellor / therapist will assist you in unearthing the reasons of your attachment to it and thereby replace them with beliefs that you want and need to live your best life.
We all have the power to redirect and change our lives, whenever we want. The point is, are we ready to challenge ourselves and use that power? If yes, then start harnessing that power by living more consciously, by choosing the beliefs that help you and finally taking your life off autopilot- one limiting belief at a time!