Hello Dear One,
Limiting beliefs can hit all of us from time to time and I’d like to explore some common belief statements I’ve heard from clients I’ve worked with. At the root of these limiting beliefs is scarcity and fear. When we overcome these scarcity and fear mindsets, we can cultivate a life full of gratitude and joy.
Ready? Here we go:
"There's only so much to go around."
The scarcity mindset is everywhere. You might hear it when you're talking with your friends about how much money you make, or when you are working on a project and realize that if the team didn't finish it in time, you would need to work over the weekend.
Scarcity is a lie most of us believe in our daily lives: We think there's only so much time, attention, love and money to go around—and then something happens (like illness) and we realize our priorities have changed and there's not enough time for everything we want to do; suddenly some things seem more important than others.
But this isn't true! There is always more time than what we think there is; there are always new sources of energy available; there are always new resources out there waiting for us to use them creatively so they can serve us well.
"I'm not good enough…"
The first step to changing a self-sabotaging thought is to understand that it's not true. When your brain is telling you "I'm not good enough," it's likely because you're trying to protect yourself from some sort of pain or disappointment. But this limiting belief can be a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more we focus on our weaknesses, the more we feel like we have to focus on them because they're so important!
To get out of this cycle, try asking yourself: "What would happen if I had no fear?" and "What would happen if I did everything I wanted?" If you don't like what comes up (the answer may be nothing!), then ask yourself what's missing from those answers—what do they lack? That may give you some clues as to where your fears are coming from. You can use simple reframing techniques—see below—to help change those negative beliefs into positive ones so they can no longer limit how far your dreams can go.
"I'm not enough in general."
Now, let’s look at the final source of scarcity: the belief that you simply aren’t enough. This idea is so pervasive and insidious because it appears to have its roots in fact. We’re all human beings—we are born with a certain number of years left to live, we have an imperfect body that requires food and water to stay alive, and we experience emotions like fear, anger and sadness. All these things tell us (or at least our brains) that we aren’t enough—we need oxygen; we need food; we get angry when other people hurt us; etcetera ad infinitum!
The problem is not these circumstances themselves (although some might argue otherwise). The problem is how they affect our beliefs about ourselves as human beings who deserve love from others. When faced with any kind of challenge or setback in life (and there will always be challenges), most people instinctively turn inward for answers rather than outward towards others for support. This means that instead of reaching out for help or guidance from others when goals are not being met or when setbacks occur along life's path—which would reinforce feelings of self-worth instead—people tend towards feeling like failures who don't deserve anything good coming their way anyway!
"If I love myself, I will lose other people's love."
The belief that you are not enough, that you will lose other people’s love if you love yourself.
This is a very common fear, and it can be difficult to overcome. It stems from the belief that we aren’t good enough for other people or for ourselves. This can come from feeling like an outsider in your family or community growing up, or it can be something that happened later in life that made you feel like an outsider among your peers at work. It can also come from being told repeatedly by others that they don't think highly enough of you to accept who you really are and what makes sense for you on your own terms (even when those terms are grounded in goodness).
Once we believe this lie, we set up a situation where our choices become limited: either reject ourselves entirely by rejecting any level of self-love; or give up on pursuing anything meaningful because doing so means giving up the approval of our parents/spouses/friends/etc., which results in us turning away from them as well (and so on).
"I just need to keep working harder and everything will be all right."
This is simply not true. You can't work hard enough to make everything be all right, because everything is never going to be all right. You can work hard and it will help you feel better in the moment—and that's great! But you'll still have other problems ahead of you, because life isn't a straight line toward your goal (or whatever else you're working so hard for).
There are always going to be more problems than solutions. No matter what happens in your life, there will always be something else that needs fixing or improving. That might sound depressing and hopeless at first glance, but there's an important lesson here: we don't need solutions all the time; sometimes we just need to let go of our current problem without finding a solution.
Finding gratitude and joy can be a challenge if you're carrying these messages around with you. Like extra weight on a long hike, these limiting beliefs pull down your spirits and make it difficult to sustain happiness.
It can be challenging to find gratitude and joy if you're carrying these messages around with you. Like extra weight on a long hike, these limiting beliefs pull down your spirits and make it difficult to sustain happiness.
The good news is that letting go of these messages doesn't mean giving up on being happy: it means changing the way in which we approach our happiness. Just as someone might starve themselves rather than admit their body is overweight, many people use scarcity thinking as an excuse to reject abundance—and they do so at their own expense! The first step towards letting go of scarcity thinking is realizing how much it costs us: both emotionally and physically.
If you've been telling yourself any of the above limiting beliefs, know that they don't have to define you. Letting go of scarcity thinking is a skill, like learning to cook or drive a car. You may get frustrated practice makes progress.
If you've been telling yourself any of the above limiting beliefs, know that they don't have to define you. Letting go of scarcity thinking is a skill, like learning to cook or drive a car. You may get frustrated at first—you'll burn dinner and crash into things—but if you keep practicing, eventually your skills will improve and the process will become much easier for you.
I believe this because I've done it myself; I've had my own "aha!" moments around self-limiting beliefs in my own life, especially around worthiness. Like many people who grew up wondering if they’ll ever be enough, I struggled with a lot of worthiness thinking for years. But over time I was able to shift how I thought about my worthiness and enoughness. These days are filled with abundantly self-assuredness thoughts as I have worked tirelessly to learn and practice this skill.
Byron Katie offers a great tool called “The Work,” which helps you question your thoughts so that they don't have power over you.
The Work is a four-step process that helps you question your thoughts so that they don't have power over you.
The first step is to ask yourself, "Is it true?" The second is, “Can I absolutely know that it's true?” The third is, “How do I react when I think this thought?” And the fourth, if needed: “Who would I be without the thought?
Here to support you in your journey to Authentic Soul Care.