A few weeks back I kicked off a bar fight with Beliefs. Well, limiting ones anyway.
FACT: almost all our trials and tribulations in life are due to the limiting beliefs that we hold about ourselves, or the world. Typically onboarded as children without realising; compounded over time as the result of our minds desire to keep us away from danger.
This week we get into how to do something about them. Limiting beliefs can be changed and new, empowering one’s installed in their place. When they are, lives can often be completely transformed.
For this first one, I have borrowed a brilliant exercise shard by EFT specialist Andy Hunt.
Very simple and very easy to do, and if you’re committed enough, will shed a lot of light on what’s lurking beneath.
The ‘Because’ method:
Unfortunately, our limiting beliefs are often unconscious and unquestioned, a part of the fabric of our perceptions, which makes them hard to find.
Other people’s limiting beliefs can be easy to spot because we are on the outside looking in, but our own remain hidden. That’s why there will always be work for good therapists and coaches.
But what are we going to do if there isn’t a therapist or coach available?
Are we doomed to wander ignorant of our own limiting beliefs because we can’t see them?
Fortunately, there is a simple way to bring lots of limiting beliefs into consciousness using just one word. It’s a simple word, readily available and deeply familiar …
When Because appears in a sentence it is usually followed by a reason:
* I can’t go out tonight because I am washing my hair (well, not me…)
* I can’t start a new business now because the economy is on its knees.
* I can’t change jobs because I am too old.
Each time you hear “because” you are going to hear a reason for the statement that comes just before it, and we can use the power of because to bring our “reasons” out into the open.
Before describing how to use Because for this, it is worth acknowledging that there are two kinds of reasons that could be uncovered:
Facts are descriptions of reality
“I am cold because it is snowing”
It is snowing is a description of the environment, people are often cold if it snowing. That’s not a limiting belief that’s a result of our external reality.
Beliefs are descriptions of our ideas about external reality (often confused with facts)
“I am alone because nobody wants me”
“Nobody wants me” is not a description of reality (even though it may be confused with one). It is a belief, an idea about reality.
The word nobody is a giveaway. There are more than 6,000,000,000 people on the planet (that’s a lot). It is impossible to know whether one of those six billion people would be interested in them. In a whole lifetime, it would not be possible to meet even a tiny fraction of those people to find out. Nevertheless, for this person, it may be a convincing idea about reality.
Is a reason a fact or a belief?
Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide if a reason is a fact or a belief. Fortunately, there is a simple test: treat it as a belief and work with it. If it is a fact it probably won’t change if it is a belief it probably will.
So how can we use because to expose our limiting beliefs?
1. Choose a problem
If you are going to uncover limiting beliefs you need a predicament to work with. If limiting beliefs cause difficulties for us which difficulty are we going to investigate?
* I can’t start a new business
* I am alone
* I can’t make enough money
* Our relationship is struggling
So what is going on in your world that you suspect may be a result of limiting beliefs?
2. Harvest all the possible reasons
Write down a sentence that briefly describes the problem followed by the word Because:
* I can’t start a new business because …
* I am alone because …
* I can’t make enough money because …
* My relationship is struggling because …
* [problem ] because …
Now say your “because” sentence out loud, then write down whatever comes into your head that completes the sentence. Write as fast as you can and without judgement.
Say the “because” sentence again, and write down whatever comes into your head this time as fast as you can and without judgements.
Repeat this process as many times as you can, until you run out of sentences, either because you have the feeling that the well has run dry, or you find you are repeating yourself.
Important: It is essential that you put your judging mind to one side for this process. The aim here is to get as many reasons as possible, so don’t evaluate your reasons at this point. Go as quickly as you can – this allows the information to float up from your unconscious without being blocked by the analytical mind.
3. Pick the wheat from the chaff
Now we have a list of reasons we can sort through at our leisure and identify which of the reasons are limiting beliefs and which are just the random chatter of the mind.
Work through your list of because sentences, saying each out loud.
Give the reason a truth score from 0-10 where 0 is false and 10 is true (this is how true it feels, not how true it is logically).
Repeat this process for each of the reasons until you have a list of reasons that have some emotional charge.
Now you have a list of reasons (limiting beliefs) that can be worked on.
How many beliefs can I expect to find?
You could find just one or two beliefs, or you could find 10 or more. If you do find a lot of limiting beliefs don’t despair, things might not be as bad as they seem.
* At least you know what to work on: This is big a step forward from having a problem and not knowing what to do with it.
* The beliefs you uncover are probably related: This is good news, if you make a dent in a big limiting belief there is a strong chance that the other beliefs will be softened automatically.
You might only have to work through a few of them systematically to get big reductions in the others.
However many beliefs you find, all you need to do now is change them.
Sort of a bit to note-selfy…
(No-one said this wasn’t going to be an eclectic journey)
I use music to claw back against the inevitability of time. And there are few places more conducive to time travel then between a pulsating pair of headphones.
Here’s one I made earlier (I don’t do kids birthdays)
Have a fabulous weekend.
“As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal) he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).”
Hunter S Thompson
It’s ten past four on the afternoon of the first of February.
The coffee machine is out of order.
People are grumpy, vulnerable.
And scared. Very scared.
The clinic, as usual, is running late.
Up to 80 minutes.
But it’s ok, ok, ok, ok because, we may be seen earlier.
And besides; somebody somewhere is deeply sorry for the inconvenience.
This is a special place.
A curious, spectacular train crash of everything that makes us so tormentedly human.
Tricked out to look like something different.
But no-one here is fooled.
Impossible chords of bravery, courage, sadness and hope chime between its walls.
And charge the air between the people that blink here.
Some of whom used to walk in.
Now they roll out.
And stare ahead.
Trying to remember where they placed the breadcrumbs.
Back to that ‘other thing’ they used to wake up to.
Every 6 or so weeks I come to this place.
But alone, nonetheless.
It’s a unique place in which I am able to be a unique version of me.
Stripped bare of ego.
Vulnerable, scared, always.
But uniquely, me.
My parallel universe.
Where the loneliness hurts but is necessary and welcome.
From that guy to this one.
Lucid, wide open, honest, transparent.
For not being a better this, that and the other.
For not having the courage to be more of this me, out there.
But that’s the goal, isn’t it?
We all long for beautiful, brilliant lives.
But beautiful, brilliant lives do not just happen.
They are built daily.
(May that beautiful life be yours always.)
Love for others.
Love for ourselves.
The things we believe in.
They say graveyards are the richest places on the planet.
Ideas worth trillions, buried with souls on new journeys.
Gone but for the grace of provenance.
Maybe those people didn’t love themselves enough.
Or their ideas.
The things they believed in.
Or perhaps they were just scared.
Couldn’t find where or how to start.
To truly start, it would seem, is the hardest peak to climb.
Because to truly start is to commit to a beautiful, brilliant life.
All bridges burned.
The things we believe in.
I’ve tried to start.
So many times.
And yet I find myself nowhere nearer to where I want to be.
Cycling in and out of hopeful elevators.
Or am I?
Has all this toiling in turbulence brought me to the very place to which I once pointed at on the map?
Is one man’s turbulence, another man’s clarity?
Another man’s Calm?
And were the bridges burned on my behalf?
Scored by Nils Frahm, they’ll come to get me soon.
Maybe it’s finally time to start.
To commit to that beautiful, brilliant life.
Or what’s left of it.
The thing that I believe in.
Which, as some may know.
And the things that they believe in.
The pain in soil covered ideas far outweighs the pain of starting.
Please start. Just. Start.
Strange. Or Not.
Between the walls of such a place.
Defined by ambiguity.
Supervised by hope.
That I should find a place to start.