Even the Smallest Beliefs
Beliefs are everywhere. They’re in everything we do, from how we style our hair to how we go to sleep at night. They’re in the car we drive and the home we live in. They’re in how we approach a new problem and how we respond to crisis.
So with such a universal impact, what happens when we hold beliefs that don’t serve us?
While the notion of “limiting beliefs” (as they are typically referred to) has been something I’ve worked with in various forms for quite some time, recently I’ve begun to seek out the versions of those beliefs that are subtle and hidden; harder to distinguish. The things I’ve begun to find in such an exploration have proven really surprising.
For instance, there are several goals I have had that I was treading water around and not really seeing any progress with. But when I started to really take a look at those areas, I began to notice that in most cases I was stuck at a point in the process where I had encountered a task or an area of work where I was unfamiliar. The inner dialogue around these areas looked something like “I want to do X, but I don’t know how.” And in that space, I was both out of ideas, and unsure of how to proceed.
When I took a look at this, I tried a little experiment.
Instead of saying to myself “I want to do X, but I don’t know how” I simply reversed the statement and really fully let it in the same way I would meditate and relax around any new realization or new idea that I wanted to give space to and create. So instead I said “I want to do X, and I know how.” I repeated it like a mantra until I believed it. Surprisingly, my position began to change immediately. I began to get ideas, and I began to start working on those idea.
An actual example of this was the income I lost by walking away from my employer in an unplanned fashion mid-month this November. I signed a new full-time contract two-and-a-half weeks later, but that two-and-a-half weeks cost me money, and I also needed a bit of extra cushion for the monthly invoicing cycle I was about to move to. I had been saying to myself “I’d like to replace the income I lost this month, but I’m not sure how.”
The moment I identified this dialogue, I flipped it and simply took on (as fully as I could manage) that “I’d like to replace the income I lost this month and I know how.” I meditated on this and used it as a mantra until I had fully taken in the idea and believed it. Upon hitting that state, I immediately got multiple ideas for possible income streams, and literally two days later I was depositing roughly $15K dollars into my account (which was more than the income I had lost, for the record).
Not only did I achieve the goal that I had been stuck on for several weeks, I exceeded it.
Now, for many of you reading this, the process here probably sounds stupidly simplistic and unlikely to meet with results, but I cannot stress enough the importance of meditation in this process. One of the biggest keys here for me was being able to take on the new dialogue fully believing it, through and through, with all of my being. And for me, that would not be possible without the level of meditation that I pursue.
I’ve always believed that we create our lives and our environments at a level of depth that most are not even remotely willing to take on, let alone consider. When you consider every thought we engage—and I use this word intentionally, because experiencing a thought and engaging a thought are different scenarios, one is passive, the other is active—having this level of power and being a force of creation, you can begin to get an idea for why certain situations for people can feel so stuck and hopeless. Just look at the thoughts which are occurring around those situations and you are almost certain to find a dialogue that is disempowering or at least apathetic and neutral.
I’ve always felt like saying that we “create” these circumstances in our lives didn’t fully capture what exactly is going on, but for many years it was the best language I could find for it, and I merely illustrated the notion through example. However, I recently encountered a much more effective phrasing of this concept from Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life. In her words: “The universe totally supports us in every thought we choose to think and believe.”
This to me captures it perfectly. The fact is, we are not always aware that we are creating with the thoughts that we think, and yet, it shows up. Creation implies an active participation, but since we are not even aware of the activity, it is much clearer to consider that the universe is actively supporting us in everything we choose to think and believe, and through that support these concepts manifest, even when we least expect it.
This is an area of life that I could speak for weeks on, so in the interest of keeping this to a reasonable length, I would like to simply point out that in cases such as this, the level of precision you are willing to generate (or endure, depending on your perspective) when addressing your thought processes, is hugely connected to the level of the results that you will achieve.
I can’t tell you how often I have heard that I am “Too hard on myself.” or that my standards are “Unrealistic.” When someone says these words to me, it is clear to me that they are projecting their personal emotions into the situation. The sheer fact that they are not seeing how much I enjoy the discovery process that they are seeing as being grueling, and how achievable I see the ideas that they view as absurd and unrealistic shows me that they are seeing a different world than I am. These are projections of their beliefs, and these projections make clear the struggle that they are experiencing and how heavily they are resisting even being in the presence of the notion that their environment can be a different way. And in these cases, I always choose to politely agree to disagree.
So whatever you take from these words, I highly encourage taking stock of your beliefs and assessing which serve you and which are in your way. And don’t be afraid to experiment. Take on new positions and see what they provide. Try on a new perspective and see how it feels. You may find that you’ve been standing in your own way in a manner you hadn’t even noticed before.