How many times have you seen someone else’s accomplishments and immediately told yourself that you could never do something like that?
“Oh, I could never sit still long enough to write a whole book.”
“I am too old to become a yoga teacher.”
“I am high-strung, so I wouldn’t last a whole week at that retreat. I’ll just stay home.”
After the death of my father and the traumatic birth of my daughter, which occurred within weeks of one another, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
For a long time, I was too stressed to leave the house.
One of my biggest issues was that my limiting self-beliefs kept me trapped in fear. I believed I was too anxious for many everyday activities. I couldn’t escape the sense of doom and dread I had, fearing that another disaster was right around the corner.
The first step to overcoming these beliefs is recognizing that they are there and that we created them. I believed my thoughts to the point that they began to govern my life, as I tricked myself into thinking that they were actually protecting me! But these limiting self-beliefs were nothing more than thoughts. That’s it.
We have thoughts running through our minds constantly. Many of them are repetitive. Most of them are meaningless. And none of them should consume or control us. They are simply fleeting sensations. Thoughts come and go. Some are good, some are bad; they are all temporary.
A consistent meditation practice allows us to observe our thoughts and let them pass without becoming a hostage to them. It teaches us to let go. This was the first step on my path to healing. When I learned to release old labels and rules, I was free to change, free to experiment, and free to live as I felt best in each moment. Fear dissolved in a way I couldn’t have imagined was possible.
Here is another simple tool that helped me mindfully get my limiting self-beliefs in check.
After taking some time each day to sit quietly and observe your thoughts in meditation, ask yourself if these thoughts are serving your best interest, or if they are limiting your ability to experience life to the fullest. Are your thoughts based on fears and insecurities?
If so, practice reframing the thoughts: “I’m too fat and inflexible to do yoga” can become something like, “A yoga body is any body that is doing yoga. With consistency, I will become a little more fit and flexible each day. I will be kind and patient with my body.”
“I’m scared of going on this trip” turns into “I am adventurous and I have resources to help me if something unexpectedly goes wrong. I enjoy visiting new places.”
Pam Butler is a meditation instructor, a yoga teacher, and a Creative Insight Journey coach. Her book “Return to Life: Finding Your Way Back to Balance and Bliss in a Stressed Out World” will be published by Hay House in May 2018. Visit her website, ReturnToLife.com, for more information.