Every day, you have approximately 60.000-80.000 thoughts, according to experts. However, some of these thoughts are repeated so often that they become the foundation of beliefs you base your life on.
Not all thoughts are products of conscious rationalizing. Unconscious thoughts and processes are taking place inside your brain, in order to create and sustain a stable image of your self (identity) and your reality, attempting to reach a state of equilibrium and enabling survival. There are also beliefs that form part of the collective unconscious, which are directly assimilated without conscious processing and dictate the way you live. Or thoughts that echo the beliefs of your parents, your teachers, your friends, your favorite TV persona, thoughts that you unconsciously adopt as your core beliefs.
How Core Beliefs Can Become Limiting
Core beliefs can be beneficial, until the moment when they start contradicting the natural flow of your life. Imagine, for instance, that you are convinced of the importance of listening to the other people’s opinion before you take a decision, and there comes a moment when you realize that the others start having control over your life because of this belief. Or, on the contrary, you may take for granted that you should listen to no one before deciding on a matter, which may lead to you becoming alienated from your surroundings or too judgmental of them. In each of the above cases, life will lead you to a point where you will have to adapt your beliefs or face negative consequences.
But why do we cast a blind eye on these beliefs, which can be detrimental to our physical and psychological health? Let’s say that the initial intention is good, because they are created for the sake of sustaining stability, avoiding trauma and minimizing risks. When a thought seems helpful, beneficial, safeguarding or convenient, we tend to identify with it and create a pattern out of it, in order to know how to act in similar situations in the future. Patterns may sometimes seem to facilitate our life, acting as an auto-pilot belief system or even as a defense mechanism. However, they very often limit us and put us in a “mental box”, inside which we feel safe and outside of which we suffer.
This safety net is elusive, as life itself is “out of the box”, completely unpredictable. Even more, it can act as an invisible trap, one that is extremely difficult to escape, since one is unaware of its existence.
Can you imagine how your life would be if you started substituting your limiting patterns and thoughts with new, more positive ones that would enable you to live like you had always dreamed of? If every “I can’t” was substituted with “I can”? If every “I’m not good at this” was substituted with “I can be good at this” and if every “I’m not enough” was substituted with “I am infinite”?
Identifying Negative Core Beliefs
But how do you know which thoughts can be limiting? You need to look into your life and spot any areas in which you are struggling, facing problems or feeling stuck. Then ask yourself why you think you have ended up in this difficult or unwanted state or situation. You will be surprised to find out that a great deal of the explanations you will attempt to offer will involve negative statements about yourself (“I’m ugly”) or others (“everyone else is better than me”), or limiting generalized beliefs about the world that often have a negative streak (“rich people are always mean”).
Identifying and getting rid of your limiting beliefs can be a long and soul-searching process and may not happen overnight. It is, however, essential for you to get to the roots of those beliefs if you want to improve your quality of life, find happiness and realize what you truly stand for, as very often core beliefs are in the way between what you really want and what others have made you think you want. It is, therefore, important to observe your inner dialogue and negative patterns of thinking, in order to find peace of mind, harmony and bliss.
Getting Rid of Limiting Patterns
If you have decided that you really wish to alter your limiting beliefs and change your life, then this is how you can start:
1. Going a bit “Out of your Mind”:
Following the logic of the beliefs you have had so far will not help you eliminate them. If you want to evolve or change something in an area of your life, you need to start not only thinking but also acting out of the box, out of your own box. Dare to do things you would never do before. Go on a date with that person that seems out of your reach. Speak out your true feelings to a member of your family, your partner, your child, your boss or a friend. Go on this long trip to the other side of the world. Apply for your dream job. Challenge yourself, defy your fears, and you will see your defenses break and a renewed, powerful you come onto the surface. People will probably think you have become a bit crazy, but you know better than that.
2. Making the Unknown Known:
We are sometimes scared of change because we don’t know what lies beyond our habitual reality. And it is sometimes important to make radical changes so as to move on and become happier. In order to overcome fear, you can start by exploring all your options and getting familiarized with the alternatives. Inner change and consciousness shift can be complemented by an effort to make external alterations. Making small steps into learning more about what seems unknown and frightening will help you gain confidence and regain your personal power. If you are afraid of climbing high mountains, you can first search for hills in your area and start hiking. If you are scared of making a long-term relationship commitment, you can start by making small daily commitments and see how this changes your life. If creating your own business scares you out, start by learning the basics of management and economics and applying them to create something small at first. The best way to overcome fear and limitation is to start making the unknown known, step-by-step.
3. Meditating and observing:
Meditation is a perfect way to stay in the present moment, connected with your soul’s true power. In the beginning it can be very hard to “turn off” your mind during meditation, but with practice you can learn to let go and surrender to the center of your being. The more you practice, the more you will start looking at your reality from the viewpoint of the observer and becoming skillful at identifying your limiting beliefs. By opening up your intuition and insight, you will also realize how to break free from them. Meditation and self-awareness is crucial in order to re-establish contact with yourself, your true wishes and your higher purpose. Being aligned with your higher intention will help clear out the clutter of false beliefs and limiting patterns.
4 Finding your community:
Sharing your newfound realizations with like-minded people can be of great help in a period of soul searching. Understanding your core beliefs and attempting to shift them may lead you to re-evaluate some of your close personal relationships. People on the same path or with the same (or higher) intention as you can be true companions in your personal development. They can even see through a negative pattern you are not aware of and give you clearer insight into it. Learning to step out of limiting relationships and entering new more meaningful ones can also be part of the process of evolving, becoming free and improving your life quality.