As human beings in the 21st century, we very much dwell in the realm of thought. We harness the power of our minds to evaluate, analyse and make complex decisions. The human mind is an incredible gift, yet it can deceive us with limiting beliefs if we are not careful.
How we live our lives in the present is very much driven by a complex web of influences that we have been exposed to from birth. These include influences from our parents, schooling, religion, friends and popular culture.
Overtime, our influences begin to mould our belief systems — by this I mean how we view and relate to ourselves and the world around us. While our belief systems will naturally evolve over time, certain influences can leave a very powerful imprint on us, particularly those from our younger years.
Sometimes, we can find ourselves becoming victims of our own beliefs — beliefs that may be unconsciously present and whose origins are sometimes forgotten in the distant past. Perhaps we were told we shouldn’t or couldn’t do certain things. Perhaps we learnt that following our dreams is not an option.
There is a danger then that some of our beliefs can cause recurring thought patterns that limit us from making the best of ourselves.
Beliefs —> Thinking —> Action/Inaction
None of us is dealt a perfect hand in life. We will all have obstacles to face that are beyond our control. Limiting ourselves with our own minds is not one of them however. So, how might we deal with this?
Increasing awareness of our thoughts is the gateway to overcoming our limiting beliefs. By first noticing our thought patterns and then deeply investigating them, we can understand where they come from and what beliefs underlie them. We can begin to see what stories we might be telling ourselves about what we can and cannot do. We can also begin to uncover where these stories might have originated.
It is this investigative process of introspection that allows us to see through the deception of our limiting beliefs.
Awareness is both the beginning and the end here. It is the beginning because awareness shines the light on what lies beneath our surface thoughts. It is the end because the very act of shining the light, by allowing us to know ourselves better, is what serves as the catalyst for personal change.