Why Your Limiting Beliefs are Keeping You Stuck
I had a great conversation recently with my friend Sarah about the benefits of positive thinking in the healing process. We spoke about how our limiting beliefs and stories we tell ourselves every day really affect our ability to heal. These are beliefs like, “Something is inherently wrong with me,” “I’ll never be able to do the things I used to do,” “I’m not worthy of health and happiness,” or “I’m just a sick person and I’ll never get better.”
I was thinking about one of my limiting beliefs when I was first diagnosed with autoimmune disease. I felt like I was broken, or sick or incomplete. I felt like I couldn't do what everyone else could do, and I started to let the limiting belief of "I'm not enough" take over. Even throughout my healing journey I've always been searching for ways to "fix" myself.
My healing journey has been a challenging but great one. I've been able to come off medications, improve symptoms, skyrocket my energy and feel really amazing in my body, but I still find these "I'm not enough" thoughts sneaking in and try to stop them in their tracks and tell myself another story. Instead of staying stuck in my head and allowing myself to believe the story that, “I’m sick, I’m less than, these limitations define me,” I just choose again to think, “I’m strong, I’m brave, I’m powerful and my body is doing so much for me.”
I know living with a chronic disease (or let’s be real, just living) can be exhausting, and we're constantly trying to monitor, assess, test, diagnose and improve. It can be really easy to get stuck in these stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. I want to emphasize that they are just that, stories.
Yes there are the facts of having an illness and experiencing pain, fatigue and disability that are real and undeniable. I have autoimmune disease. It runs in my family. At times it’s caused me extreme suffering and limitations. I have to think a lot more about my diet and monitor my stress because I have it.
The point is though, that where our attention and thoughts go, energy flows. So, if we are constantly running through the story in our head of how we are sick and broken and unfixable, then we give a lot of energy and life to the ideas that we are indeed sick, broken and unfixable and they inevitably become our reality. I don’t mean to say that we can easily meditate away illness, or that all we need to heal disease is love and positive thinking because that’s not reality and it’s not the whole story. It’s not always rainbows and good vibes only.
I mean to say that we have the ability to choose the stories that we tell ourselves every single day and every single moment. We have the ability to stop thinking of ourselves as the victim, unworthy and unable to change, and starting thinking of ourselves as humans capable of healing and joy no matter where we are at right now.
So how do you do this? Even when you are feeling low, stuck, hopeless and frustrated?
I take my cue from Gabby Bernstein on this one. She says that when you find yourself feeling like a victim and telling yourself the same story over and over again and it’s making you feel awful, take these 2 steps to let it go and reclaim your confidence instantly. I’ve been using this technique and I have to say, it works for me!
Step 1: Say “WAIT: Why Am I Talking?”
When you find yourself repeating your victim story or hashing out a situation with a friend for the millionth time, take a beat and ask yourself, “Why Am I Talking?” Give yourself a moment to notice what you’re doing and say, “Okay, I’m in fear. I’m trying to control.” Are you telling yourself over and over about how everything is going wrong, or how you are never going to heal? Why are you doing this? How is it serving you? Allow yourself to witness the story so you can shift it.
Step 2: Go General
This is a beautiful tool from Abraham-Hicks. When you start going into a negative story, you create momentum and more fear picks up, and you start feeling totally out of control of your thoughts. So once you’ve said “WAIT,” you can go general. The concept of going general is to reach for thoughts that are general thoughts that you believe in so that you can start to shift your energy and shift out of that story.
General thoughts can be ones like, “I am good enough,” or “I have resources,” or “I have people who want to support me.” You can begin with neutral thoughts and gradually make them more positive. As you start to reach for these general thoughts you create momentum in the other direction. It puts you on a new path that feels energized, supported and more powerful.
To get out of the victim story, we have to be proactive because it’s easy to get sucked back in. You say, “WAIT: Why Am I Talking?” Then you pivot and go general. Deliberately and consciously begin choosing more general thoughts. When you begin to change your stories, you change your experiences. The stories we tell are the experiences we live — so as you refocus your energy and tell new stories about what’s working and what’s thriving, you’ll begin to awaken a different presence within you .
Gabby says to, “Stop rehearsing the role of victim so you can claim the happiness that is your birthright,” and oh man do I agree with this.
Let me ask you, what comes up when you read this? Do you get angry or scared to let go of your story or see it from a new light? Do you feel so sick, wronged, or singled out that you don’t want to let go of your victim story because it gives you comfort or relief? If you do that’s ok, you are human. It can be really comfortable to be the victim (I’ve been there many times myself not only with illness but in relationships too) because you don’t have to do anything. Life is happening to you and you are a mere product of your circumstances. It’s easy and doesn’t demand anything of us and we constantly find evidence to prove our case that we have been wronged, aren’t capable of healing, or are unable to change.
When we begin to shift out of this mentality and own up to the role we play in our own lives, we begin to powerfully shift how we feel and act on a daily basis and amazing things happen. This technique has really helped me, and I hope it helps you too. What are some of your limiting beliefs that have come up while reading this? Ask yourself, are they true? And go from there. Remember, don’t believe everything you think ;)
If you want to talk more about your struggle with chronic illness and cultivating a healing mindset, I offer free 30-minute discovery sessions. Schedule yours by clicking on the button below!