For the last couple of years, I’ve been walking by a yard with a dog that was tied up to a post with a six foot chain. The dog would run in the same circular pattern, limited by the length of his chain. Recently, I noticed that the owners built a large kennel giving the dog free rein to run much farther and in any direction it pleased. Yet, the dog still runs in exactly the same way, in a small circular space.
It got me thinking about the power of limiting beliefs. I mean, they’re just thoughts, right? They don’t actually limit our physical reality but we sure behave as if they do, much like the dog on the invisible chain. We create limiting beliefs in response to circumstances, usually the painful ones. And, even though as human beings we have a remarkable ability to heal, we tend to respond to new experiences through this limited point of view and then our behaviors and experiences never actually change.
One of my dear coaching clients, Alicia, a lovely plus-size gal, got her heart broken bad! She developed the relationship killing beliefs that she was “unlovable” and “Men are jerks.” In the context of these limiting beliefs, when she started to date again, she only saw men as either jerks or, if she really liked a guy, started to worry he wouldn’t be interested in her. And, guess what? She ignored some really great men (or pushed them away with her anxiety) and only focused on the ones who really were jerks. And boy, were there jerks who came into her life!! So, like the dog in the wide open kennel, the world started to occur through the lense of these limiting beliefs even though in reality there were way more possibilities for her.
To break her out of her limiting beliefs and become free from the chain to her past, I helped Alicia 1) Truly let go of the past painful experiences through forgiveness, finding the larger meaning and being grateful for what the experience taught her and 2) Learn to create more empowering, positive beliefs about her present and future. I taught her to truly see the present for what it is—a wide open space for her to run and play in any direction she pleases.
In this context, I’m sure you can guess what happened to Alicia. Suddenly, Alicia was overwhelmed with responses from some really terrific men. And, now she is with a truly wonderful man in the relationship of her dreams. He texts her daily, took her on an awesome trip to the Big Apple, bought her an emerald ring and they are making some serious future plans.
If you find yourself thinking the same negative limiting beliefs or having the same frustrating dating experiences over and over, check to see if the chain is still there before coming to any conclusions about your actual reality. Journal about the limiting beliefs that are chaining you down. Are they really true? Is there any other way to look at your situation that might be more freeing, or feel better? Write those thought down. If they make you feel good, post them where you will see them daily. You’ll find that you really can get the life and love you want!
Thank you Karen for your insights on overcoming our limited beliefs.
Wishing you love,