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Overcoming Limiting Beliefs – Turning Down the Voices
As an educator, I am very familiar with labels. We give labels to students; often in an effort to help or to access certain services. Coaches give labels to certain players, and parents often give different labels to their children. We all wear labels, and some are very nice, well intentioned; some even worn with pride. It is nice to be the scholar, helper, leader or gifted athlete. Other labels aren’t so nice, and often those are the ones that limit our opportunities because they limit our thoughts of what we can actually become. Labels such as slow, loser, non athletic, non talented, middle child syndrome, etc. are the ones we remember.
Have you ever noticed how someone can pass along a million compliments with just one small area of suggested improvement, and the only thing remembered is the perceived “shortcoming”. Everything else just disappears. Often it is the use of the word “but”. Did you know that when one uses the word “but” in a sentence, it completely cancels out everything before? For example: “You are such a talented and remarkable athlete, but you might want to work on your speed a bit.” What does the brain hear? You’re too slow. The rest of the sentence vanishes. When we then think to ourselves – I’m not fast enough – we become that very thing. We internalize becoming slow because we have just adopted a limiting belief – a label slapped on us by some ordinary person who probably doesn’t even remember the conversation. We never forget. We build our lives and our dreams around this limiting belief, and wear our label as if it were a permanent appendage or fashion statement!
There comes a time to identify the false labels we are wearing; rip them off and replace them with the truth. This clears the path for discovering our true passions and pursuing our dreams. Take some time to challenge the negative labels you’ve been sporting. Where did they come from? A teacher, a parent, a coach, a friend, spouse? Just how true are they? Did someone tell you that you were not “born” to be a speaker? Did someone tell you that you’d “never make it” as an actor or singer or entrepreneur? How does anyone know such things to be absolute? Now look at all the people who overcame and dismissed doubt.
These weren’t necessarily exceptional people; they just had the courage to change their labels. They didn’t allow limiting beliefs to become self-fulfilling prophesies. From a local perspective, read the story of Nashville hero, Wilma Rudolph, who was born prematurely in Clarksville and after contracting polio, was told she would never walk. She went on to become one of the most celebrated female athletes of all time. A personal friend of mine, a contracts manager here in Nashville was told that she would never graduate high school as none of her seven siblings had. She marched across the stage even though the others fulfilled the limiting belief.
The mind and spirit can overpower limiting beliefs. I will share some NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques as well as some thoughts of my own that might be helpful as you start to remove non productive labels from your attire and reclaim your passions.
If you’d like to change a belief thrust upon you by someone long ago, often a parent, try this. Get into a very relaxed state and go in your mind to the place where you hear the voice speaking the limiting belief. “You’re not going to get there.” “No one ever makes it doing that.” “Everyone in our family has weight problems.” etc. Close your eyes and really hear the voice. This requires deep concentration which may take time and practice. Notice the tone, quality and volume of the voice. Observe whether the voice comes from behind you, in front of you, to the right or left. Notice whether you see the person speaking as well and what they look like. Now, when you feel that you are completely in the moment of the voice and its power, mentally adjust it. If it is loud, turn it down. If it is low pitched, make it high, or give it a Disney type, silly voice. If it is coming from certain direction, move it to another place. Move the sound far away from you until it is a whisper, or
even inaudible. This can literally take the power away from the voice, thereby reducing the influence it has over how you feel about yourself.
If you also see a visual of the person, you can do the same type of thing by changing the mental picture of the person; from color to black and white (or vice versa), from moving to still, from very large to far in the distance. Try to do this several times over a period of a few days. The brain really can change the way it processes a memory. The memory remains, but the physiological response can be altered.
Include positive affirmations in your daily life by repeating the opposite, positive belief often. Tell the brain what you do want instead of what you don’t want. The brain doesn’t process negatives, so if your message is stated negatively, such as; “I don’t want to be slow”, it will interpret that as “I want to be slow” and slow you will be. Instead, the affirmation should be “I want to be fast”. Similarly, instead of “I don’t want to be fat”, the affirmation should be “I want to be thin”. Instead of “I don’t want to be poor”; “I want to be wealthy”. Always state things in the positive, and the brain will respond to that.
You may find it amazing that once you change your thought process, there will be little things that seem like coincidence that will come up and move you towards your new attitude. Continue to move forward with your new beliefs and keep the promises you make to yourself even on days where you need huge amounts of courage and motivation.
There is also magic in faith. Wherever you find your faith, there is proven power in the belief in a higher being. The results of 12 step programs are a testament to that. The actual belief that the universe/God is there, coaching you along has immense power in itself. Just ask Joe Keith, whose Nashville church family (Vine Street Christian Church) recently prayed and laid their hands on his body prior to his quadruple bypass surgery. He and his doctors attest to the power of that prayer as his recovery has been remarkably quick and complete against the odds. I bet you’ve heard similar stories that medicine cannot explain.
Try these ideas and move closer to your real calling. Discover new, powerful labels to wear. They are much more fashionable!
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Read more… NLP Skills To Overcome Limiting Beliefs