Mindfulness Based Life Coach, Michele Greco, CPC, says knowing what we believe about ourselves is the starting point for making positive changes. She stopped by to tell us more.
Why do we need to look closely at our belief systems?
Each and every one of us is ruled by our belief systems to varying degrees. Everything we do and don’t do, and every decision we make is, connected to a belief held in our belief system. Consider, that thing you really want to make happen for yourself but still haven’t? Quite possibly, some part of your belief system is involved in creating limitations within you and keeping that thing from happening. We call these beliefs, limiting beliefs. We all have limiting beliefs, many of which originated in childhood and have been a part of us for so long they have become very strong and can even lead to us creating life long habits around them. These are the limiting beliefs we want to go after, so that they don’t negatively impact our lives.
What are the steps we need to take to do this?
-Slow down, add pause and self-witnessing to your decision making process and take an honest look at what’s behind your choices and decisions. It is important to be gentle, non-judgmental in this process.
Example: Your supervisor at work is looking for a few people from your team to lead up various special projects and then present the new findings to the rest of the team. As you consider whether or not to volunteer, you notice that you are certain that you do not want to sign up for the most challenging role which involves being innovative.
-Next, notice if your decision is motivated by a negative belief or a limiting belief that you maybe holding. And ask yourself “why do I hold on to that belief?”
Example: So in this case, you would check in honestly with yourself and witness that you are stepping away from taking on the challenging role. Then ask yourself. “Why do I shy away from signing up for the inventive or innovative role here”? In this case the answer might be, because I don’t want to mess it up. “I always screw things up and have never been very good at taking the lead”. Right there you have identified the limiting belief that you hold, which is, “I always screw things up and have never been very good at taking the lead.”
-At this point, and as I said you want to be gentle with yourself, you’ll ask yourself “In what way do I benefit from holding this belief? Sometimes you have to really think outside of the box here to find this answer. It can even be counter-intuitive, but look closely, because however unreasonable it may be, there is always something you are getting out of your beliefs.
So for our Example: The answer may be, “Well, hanging back in the shadows and taking on only the simple projects keep me from messing up, it keeps me in my comfort zone and that makes me feel safe. And this may well seem like a real benefit.
-Next ask yourself what ‘life rules’ have I created for myself as a result of holding this belief? And what has holding this belief kept me from being or doing? In the case of our example: These answers maybe, that having this belief has created a rule within me that I only sign up for the easy stuff. Which has kept me from challenging myself, which has then lead to feeling bored and uninspired.
-After this process of examination you may well wish to re-write this belief, so next ask yourself, “What new positive belief would I like to hold instead? And also, what new ‘life rules’ would I like to make for myself instead?
So for our example case the new belief that this person might want may be something life, “It is important to me to do a good job, so I like to take care as I take on new challenges!”
-Then practice your new belief and remind yourself of it often.
Anything else we need to know?
Our belief system is wired into our brains, thereby creating an auto pilot scenario from which we can ‘safely’ take actions repeatedly, over and over, rooting a reaction, connected to a belief, turning it into a habit... So, as we’ve discussed, adding pause and mindful witnessing to our experiences and the beliefs they touch upon, will help us to stop and make different choices. Overtime as we become freer in our thinking and our choosing, we can have new experiences that support new positive beliefs. This shifts the whole pattern so that we can then, from our new beliefs, create new habits and eventually the new normal we desire.