Most of my pregnancy with my first daughter was spent in a quiet panic attack that crescendo at 6 months. As my belly grew in diameter, so did my anxiety level about becoming a mother. To some people, this life changing event is exciting and much anticipated. But anyone who’s ever approached a lifechanging event like this understands how exhausting and scary it can be: I felt unsettled in what my future would look like, uncomfortable in my own body, and completely alone in the pregnancy 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 care for another human being. When I brainstormed about what was preventing me from taking action, this is the list I came up with:
- I worry about what others think.
- I’m not good enough
- I don’t have time
- I don’t have control, (but I’ll pretend like I do because I don’t want anyone to know how I’m truly feeling.)
- I don’t have enough resources.
- It’s too late to change.
- 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.
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
- Expressing ourselves creatively
- 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 bodies 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.
So let’s explore how these nine limiting beliefs keep you (and me!) stuck:
1. I worry about what others think.
In my case, I kept quiet. I never had the courage to speak my mind. I was so worried that others wouldn’t like me if they really knew what I thought.
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’m not good enough.
I’m just getting good at being responsible for myself. I don’t know how to take care of someone else, never mind a baby.
For me, not feeling good enough was wrapped in a pretty package with fear. I feared stepping away from the freedom I thought I had in a lifestyle with minimal attachments. It was also the fear of failing, of not having all the answers, and of making the wrong decision.
What evidence do you have that undermines your limiting belief?
You might feel a certain way about yourself, but that doesn’t make it true. There are hundreds of reasons why you are good enough …..you are smart, lovable, attractive, 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 having so little responsibility. I loved running, but being pregnant slowed me down. I didn’t have time to have a baby in my life. 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 life?
How has this limiting belief held you back from the fullness and joy of life? Write down all of the possible situations you can think of.
How does it make you feel to have missed engaging in life 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. I don’t have control, (but I’ll pretend like I do because I don’t want anyone to know how I’m truly feeling.)
I was six months pregnant and the evidence that I had a child growing in me was now more tangible than ever. My belly protruded, my gait became slower and more methodical. There were times where I simply couldn’t catch my breath. I was losing control of my own body. This baby was taking me over.
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 you can do? What about your situation would you enjoy more?
5. I don’t have enough energy.
At the time, all of my internal resources were completely depleted. Physically my body was working overtime to support my growing baby. Emotionally I was swimming in a whirlpool of not enough, and as a result, I wasn’t using my external resources effectively or efficiently. As I stepped closer and closer to my due date, I became more internally drained. I fell deeper and deeper into an energy deficit.
What leaves your internal environment feeling unenergized? Are you using your external resources effectively?
What would you do with your life if you no longer had this limiting belief?
Imagine the belief disappeared instantly. How would this change your perceptions of what you can do and how you can change your life? What goals would you set for yourself?
6. It’s too late to change.
Focusing on some arbitrary time and date by which you’re supposed to have accomplished X, Y, and Z means neglecting to enjoy the amazing journey unfolding right in front of your eyes. After all, who created this timeline by which you’re supposed to live your life anyway?
In my situation, seeing friends having children, traveling, and exploring the outdoors 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 it was too late to figure it out.
Is there any current truth to this limiting belief?
Do you hold yourself to an arbitrary timeline 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 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 being the mom I really wanted to be.
This belief that I had too many other things that required my attention left me feeling empty and lost. I was neglecting my own needs and I was neglecting my own desire to figure out how to be there for my child.
Who and what are consuming your time and energy?
Are these people and situations really your responsibility? 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.”
I believe every human being deserves the chance to experience the power of meaningful connection — regardless of the path that has led us to where we are today.
My mission is to do everything in my power to help as many women as possible improve the quality of their relationships.
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