You may talk about putting bricks on your children’s heads to keep them from growing but you won’t actually do it. You have no intention of stunting their growth. In fact, when their shoes and clothes are too small, you buy bigger ones to keep them from being in pain. When they finish a grade level at school you move them on to the next grade so that they will continue to be challenged.
You may joke about ways you wish your best friend would stop making progress because she’s making you look bad. But you would never intentionally impede her progress. In fact, you’re her biggest cheerleader. When she gets promoted, you take her out for a celebration dinner. When she meets her goals, you are the first to congratulate her.
Knowing this about yourself makes it hard to recognize that you are stunting your own growth. Many of us entertain beliefs that limit us in some way. You may not be limiting your children or your friends but the chances are high you’ve been limiting yourself for years.
The most common and damaging belief is the notion that somehow we are not capable. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, we still choose to say: I can’t do that. I don’t know how. There’s no way . . . What if you decided to say: I can do this. I am capable. Other people have done this. If I don’t know how, I can ask. This shift in thinking opens you up to new experiences and more competence. You’ve handled everything that’s come your way so far, so you’re perfectly capable of handling whatever comes next.
There are many beliefs that hold us hostage. I am not worthy of love. I’m not (good, wealthy, charming, old or young) enough. Life is hard. They’ll never pick me to . . . Nothing I do is ever . . .
Jack Canfield lays out a
simple, powerful four-step process for transforming your restrictive conclusions.
- Identify the limiting belief that you want to change. Make a full, long list.
- Determine how that belief limits you.
- Decide how you would rather be, act or feel.
- Create a U-turn statement that affirms or gives you permission to be, act, or feel this new way.
Here are some examples:
Belief or Conclusion — I can’t do anything right, so why even try?
Limits me because — I don’t even try it.
I would rather be — competent.
U-turn Statement — I can do many things right. Each time I try something new, I learn and get better.
Belief or Conclusion — I can’t ask for help. That makes me look weak.
Limits me because —I have to do everything.
I would rather be — helped by others.
U-turn Statement — I am worthy of receiving support, so I’ll ask for help.
Now make your own list and go through the four-step process that Canfield teaches in his book, The Success Principles. Getting rid of these statements that are constraining you will be truly liberating, so start today!