Most of my pregnancy with my first daughter was spent in a quiet panic attack that crescendod at 6 months. As my belly grew in diameter, so did my anxiety level about her success in the world. To some people, having a daughter is exciting and easy peasy. But anyone who’s ever peered into the world of life with a girl understands how exhausting and scary it can be: I felt unsettled in what my daughter's future would look like, uncomfortable in the world we lived in, and completely alone in the parenting experience.
While I had a caring husband by my side supporting me every step of the way I was overwhelmed and sad that I didn’t have a female figure in my life to guide me. The truth is I felt completely stuck and unaware of how I would nurture the best in another human being. When I brainstormed about what was preventing me from taking action, this is the list I came up with:
- I worry how others will see her.
- I worry that she's not going to be able to stand up for herself.
- I don’t have time.
- Others will tear her down. She won't be strong enough.
- She won’t have enough inner resources.
- I don't know how to help her.
- I have too many responsibilities.
- I have no clue who I am.
- I have no clue where to start.
It was then that I realized the only thing preventing me from making a change was a long list of limiting beliefs.
These limiting beliefs have a REAL impact on how we feel and live our lives. These beliefs are how humans categorize the world and try to make sense of things. The problem is, these limiting beliefs keep us stuck. They lock us into a smaller version of ourselves.
"We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience." -Louise L. Hay
They keep us from expanding into the fullness of our brilliance!
This can play out in lots of different ways. It can stop us from:
- Having fun doing things we might otherwise enjoy with our daughter
- Expressing ourselves creatively alongside our daughter
- Being seen and understood and loved by others
- Asking for what we want if we think no one really cares anyway
- Experiencing the beautiful bliss our relationships are capable of
- Doing what we’re here for
It can keep us stuck in a vicious cycle going around in circles and feeling like something is ‘missing’ from our lives even if we don’t know what it is.
If you grew up in a typical home, it is almost certain your parents or siblings behaved and spoke in such a way as to instill some limiting beliefs in you. Maybe they were excellent parents with great intentions, but they probably still had unresolved fears or doubts that they inadvertently passed on to you. Limiting beliefs get stuck in our minds and impact us, sometimes for years to come. Here are some common examples and some examples from my own life: “We don't talk about private matters.” “I'm not good enough.” “Relationships are about power struggles,” “People don't care about what I have to say.”
These thoughts are like weeds that drain us emotionally. Or sometimes they motivate us, but there is a high price to pay. For example, a friend of mine says she has felt anxious and driven her entire life to succeed because her family motto was “Keep your nose to the grindstone.”
So let’s explore how the following nine limiting beliefs keep you, your daughter (and me!) stuck:
1. I worry how others will see her.
In my case, I spoke over my daughter too much. I never had the patience to stay quiet. I was so worried that others wouldn’t see her true beauty if I didn't speak up when she didn't. I never wanted her to look shy. Until I realized - if I continued to be her voice, how would I teach my girl to value and use her own? How would I teach her that her voice is her power and she needs to use it when facing life's toughest challenges?
Why do you have this limiting belief?
This is a question you should ask until you run out of answers. Write down every reason you can think of, starting with the main one that probably occurred when you were small. Write these reasons down so you don’t forget them.
2. I worry that she's not going to be able to stand up for herself.
I’m just getting good at taking a stand for myself. I'm an adult, so how in the world is this young girl going to stand up for herself?
For me, not feeling good enough was wrapped in a pretty package with fear. I feared her stepping away from my protection - a protection that required me to be within earshot of anything potentially harmful that could happen to her. It was also the fear of failing, of not having done enough to ensure her safety and well-being.
What evidence do you have that undermines your limiting belief?
You might feel a certain way about your daughter, but that doesn’t make it true. There are hundreds of reasons why she is good enough …..she IS smart, lovable, funny, strong, etc. Write all of these down.
3. I don’t have time.
A quote by Lao Tzu says, “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’” Perhaps the real issue is that you don’t really want to change.
There was certainly a part of me that didn’t want to change; there is something very freeing about giving her more freedom. I loved being with her, but spending time with her took away from my "me time." I didn’t have time to keep watch over her. But once I clarified what I could and couldn’t do with my current situation, I was clearer about why I’d actually take the time to make changes.
In what ways are you not fully alive and engaged in your relationships?
How has this limiting belief held you back from the fullness and joy in your relationships? Write down all of the possible situations you can think of.
How does it make you feel to have missed engaging in relationships in the ways you listed above?
Pay attention to the feelings you have knowing what life should be like for you and the ways your belief has prevented you from experiencing it fully. Write down your feelings.
4. Others will tear her down. She won't be strong enough.
She was six years old and the evidence that she had stepped into a new season of life was now more tangible than ever. She clambered onto the big yellow bus without even turning back. There were times where I simply couldn’t catch my breath. I was losing control of my daughter. This girl was letting go.
What would your life look like if you no longer had this limiting belief?
Imagine the belief disappeared instantly. How would this change your perceptions of what is possible? What about your situation would you enjoy more?
5. She doesn't have enough inner resources.
At the time, all of my confidence in her was at an all time low. Physically my heart ached. Emotionally I was swimming in a whirlpool of she's not enough, and as a result, I lost all faith in her and the world. As she stepped more and more each day into the world on her own, I became more internally anxious. I fell deeper and deeper auto-pilot mode.
What leaves your internal environment feeling overloaded and out of control? Are you using your external resources effectively?
What would you do with your girl if you no longer had this limiting belief?
Imagine the belief disappeared instantly. How would this change your perceptions of what your girl can do and how she can be in her world? What goals would you set for her?
6. I don't know how to help her.
Focusing on some arbitrary time and date by which you’re supposed to have X, Y, and Z all figured out means neglecting to enjoy the amazing journey unfolding right in front of your eyes. After all, who created this map by which you’re supposed to live your life anyway?
In my situation, seeing friends having children, traveling, and exploring the outdoors with their girls left me feeling more and more trapped by my current situation. I wanted what my friends had, but I didn’t believe I could ever get to where they were, so I felt like I was just wasting time….like they knew something I didn't.
Is there any current truth to this limiting belief?
Do you hold yourself to an finish line by which you’re supposed to have it all figured out? Do you compare yourself to others? What do you really want to change in your daughter's life, and what small steps can you take in that direction?
7. I have too many responsibilities.
The excuses of “I’m too busy” and “I don’t have any time” have become socially accepted “reasons” why people can’t do what they really want. For me, I was too busy building my career, decorating a new home, and socializing, to spend time on helping my daughter build a social life.
This belief that I had too many other things that required my attention left me feeling unfulfilled and lost. I was neglecting her needs and I was neglecting my own desire to figure out how to be there for my daughter.
Who and what are consuming your time and energy?
Are these people and situations really your responsibility? What can I say How can you start to take responsibility for your own life?
8. I have no clue who I am.
If you feel like you don’t know who you are, then chances are you’ve been neglecting yourself for a very long time.
When I finally stopped long enough to ask myself why I felt stuck, I quickly realized I’d never taken the time to really figure out who I am or what I wanted in my relationship with my daughter; instead, I was just gliding through each day, hoping something would jump out at me.
How is your limiting belief impacting your relationships now or in the future?
Often, we compromise our relationships when we remain stuck in a false belief. Can you see how any of your close relationships are impacted?
9. I have no clue where to start.
Depending on how you chose to look at it, not knowing where to start can either be liberating or completely overwhelming. But it’s usually just an excuse.
I had no idea where to start when it came to figuring how to be a good mom. Throughout my life, I had glimpses of what having a mom was like – friends of mine had moms that baked with them, moms that did art projects with them, moms that taught them about the care of their body, but I didn’t fully experience the presence of a mom. Where would I start? I had no idea.
What is the situation or outcome you fear most tied to this limiting belief?
For example, you might fear being judged, rejected, unloved, etc. What is the worst thing that could happen if you take action to make change?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Your Turn: It's time to tackle your limiting beliefs head on. Email me at heather@gutsygirlclub. Tell me which one is THE one you're going to overcome today so you can enjoy the type of connection you've always dreamed of with your girl and be by her side while she becomes the kick-ass girl you know her to be.