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If you’ve been searching for “the one” or want to lose weight or do better in your career or reach any kind of goal, but haven’t had any luck, ask yourself this question: what’s really stopping you from success?
When you think of your dream or aspiration, are you flooded with negative thoughts? Do you not fully believe it’s achievable? Or perhaps you secretly fear that you’ll achieve your goal and then everything will be different.
If this sounds true for you, then you are suffering from limiting beliefs.
What is a Limiting Belief?
Limiting beliefs are those negative thoughts you think over and over and over again. They’re the ones that create negative manifestations in your life and prevent you from creating what you want most.
Your limiting beliefs tell you something is impossible and so it is.
Your limiting beliefs tell you that all the good men are taken, or women only want to date rich men, and so you manifest scenarios where they are!
The problem with these negative thoughts is that they usually seem so real that they act like a brick wall holding you in place. They are invisible obstacles holding you back from success, turning your life into a self-fulfilling prophecy. They limit our potential.
Are you suffering from the Glass Delusion?
I recently read a story that illustrates exactly how irrational our “beliefs” can be and the damage they can cause if we accept them lock stock and barrel.
During the late Medieval period, around the 15th to 17th centuries, according to the History of Psychiatry, a psychiatric disorder swept through Europe: The Glass Delusion. Many people believed that they were made of glass and were likely to shatter into pieces with even the slightest of contact.
Such a belief meant that people took great lengths to change their lifestyle habits, adjust their behaviors, and even avoid human contact so they wouldn’t shatter.
For example, a 1561 medical account describes a patient “who had to relieve himself standing up, fearing that if he sat down, his buttocks would shatter. This man constantly applied a small cushion to his buttocks, even when standing.” Another reported sufferere was the French king, King Charles VI, who refused to let anyone touch him, and even wore reinforced clothing to protect himself from “shattering”!
Now, if you’re like me, you probably find this glass belief comical since we obviously know that humans aren’t made of glass. It seems silly that people would modify their lives over such an irrational and misguided fear. However, this belief was very real to European people then and they acted in accord to their fears. (This story also illustrates how beliefs can spread like colds, which we’ll talk about in an upcoming post.)
However hilarious this story is, the Glass Delusion is not the only instance where our beliefs shape our behaviors. To this day, we are entirely capable of believing wholeheartedly in things that are not true and then, act accordingly.
The only difference between limiting and the Glass Delusion is that one centered on physical contact, while our limiting beliefs are centered on our emotions, relationships, goals and dreams.
Either way, these beliefs become so deeply embedded in us, we’re not even aware that they lurk in our subconscious.
Your limiting beliefs are no less irrational than the Medieval European’s glass belief, and they are preventing you from living your best life!
How to avoid the Glass Delusion
The first step to moving past these limiting viewpoints is to recognize that they are there.
So take a deep breath, and notice if any of these common beliefs sound familiar to you – especially when it comes to your beliefs about yourself as a Single and about relationships.
#1 – I’m Not Good Enough
Probably the most common belief that stops us in our tracks, both in our love lives and in other areas of life is: I’m not good enough (As in, “I’m not good enough to find love the way I am … If only I were better, I might find love.”) Variations on this theme include “I’m not young enough (As in, “How will I ever find a partner at my age?!”), I’m not attractive enough (As in, “Men only like women who look like Angelina Jolie – or Women only want to date men who look like George Clooney”), I’m not rich enough (As in, “People only want to date someone who has money.”) or I’m not smart enough (“I need to be witty and wise on dates or I’ll never have a second date.”)… Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Basically, the belief is that “I’m not OK the way I am, and I should be different.” When you believe you’re not OK the way you are, you’ll tend to beat yourself up and feel discouraged and unhappy.
You’ll actually repel love away, because we all want to be around others who feel comfortable and content with themselves, not those who believe they’re not good enough and are constantly struggling.
#2 – I’ll Never Get What I Want
Another common limiting belief is “I can’t have what I really want, so I should just settle for what I can get.” This is a hugely common belief; many of us give up and feel resigned to our lot in life without making an effort to get what we really want.
If you buy into the belief that you can’t have your heart’s desire when it comes to love, you’ll probably accept whatever relationships show up, and stay with people who are not good matches for you. You may spend years, even decades, feeling disappointed with your love life and wishing things were different.
When you think you have to settle for what you can get, you’ll probably be afraid to take risks and try something new. When you believe you can’t have what you really want, it may feel too painful to even ask what you really do want. Without a clear vision, you’ll find it very challenging to manifest your dreams.
#3 – I’ll Only Wind Up Hurt … Again
If you’ve made it to adulthood, which obviously you have, you’ve probably experienced hurt, disappointment or rejection. If you’re like me, you’ve probably made a series of relationship decisions that resulted in multiple instances of being broken hearted. And then you convince yourself that you’ll wind up hurt, disappointed or rejected again, and that you won’t be able to handle it.
While you may be “getting out there” in the dating world, if you secretly believe relationships are dangerous and scary, you’ll avoid getting close enough to anyone to let love in. You may decide to play it safe and avoid dating and relationships all together, convincing yourself that you prefer the company of your dog and NCIS on CBS.
#4 – My Situation Isn’t My Fault
If only YOU were different, I could be happy. If YOU changed, my problems would go away. When you blame others for your problems, you keep yourself stuck in victim mode. By not taking responsibility for your part in creating the discomfort you are experiencing, you may feel that you’re “in the right” but you’re essentially handing over your power. If you’re quick to blame someone else for what’s wrong in your life, you reinforce your own helplessness. When we blame, we make the other person wrong and we make ourselves right… a surefire way to destroy intimacy and empathy in your relationships.
#5 – I’ll Be Happy When I’m in a Relationship
This is possibly the biggest lie out there and arguably the one that most of us believe. Surely if there’s someone who thinks we’re special, who wants to be with us and spend time with us, that’s a surefire recipe for bliss, right? Wrong. Somebody, anybody is not better than nobody. Don’t get me wrong, a relationship with the right person is a wonderful experience well worth the effort. But if you’re looking for someone to fill an empty spot in your heart, you’re asking for the impossible and will end up disappointed.
The truth is that no partner, no matter how perfect or charming, can make you happy all on his or her own. Happiness is individual sport. How you see yourself, the kinds of people you surround yourself with, the way you see you job and your place in society – all of these will impact your happiness in a way that no partner ever could. And this is great news. It means that you don’t have to wait for anyone, you can start working toward being happier right now.
#6 – Relationships Happen When I’m Not Really Looking
Most people hold the belief that true love should just show up when you’re least expecting it, and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for the love you want. It may seem that way to some happily married people because they never expected that the person who is now The One to be the one. That person didn’t come in to their lives with a business card saying “I’m The One — Happiness Guaranteed.” So, in retrospect, their meeting may seem on the surface serendipitous, as if it were all part of the mysterious workings of fate. But they were looking and they were open — if they weren’t, they would have never given The One a chance.
I don’t believe it’s possible to not be looking. To not look is to give up any hope of finding love.
If you have ever said I’d be open to a relationship if the right person came along, realize that statement doesn’t make any sense. How can you meet someone if you never put yourself out there (in an intelligent way, of course)? The One doesn’t magically show up on your door step, or at your office, or even in your yoga class, and decide to breakdown all the walls you’ve put up because you’re “not looking.”
If you were unemployed, would you sit around and magically hope that a job was going to fall in your lap while you were “doing something you loved,” like painting watercolors or watching Harry Potter marathons?
Now that you know how to identify limiting beliefs, you may want to take steps to eliminate them. My coaching programs offer many ways to free you from the constraints of negative thinking that block you from finding and connecting to the love you truly deserve. Don’t stay stuck with limiting beliefs that keep you unhappy, separate and disconnected from others.
Keep reading to discover the various ways you can take the next step.