So, you’ve just realized something about yourself. Something BIG. Something life-changing.
You’ve tapped into a ‘limiting belief’. One that has kept you stuck, or stopped your progress in some area of your life. Or perhaps it has kept you stuck in all areas of your life.
And now you’re ready to remove it. Blast it out of there. You’re doing everything right – you’ve been reading up on everything ‘manifesting’. You’ve created your positive statements and beliefs, set reminders on our phone so that you remember to affirm and reaffirm the positive belief. You’re all set.
But you’re stuck. You so desperately want to believe. But you find yourself going in circles. Waves of positivity followed by slumps back to ‘I just can’t do this’.
You’re not alone. There is nothing wrong with you.
You are simply fighting some pretty strong attachment bonds. Just like babies form almost unbreakable emotional bonds with our caregivers, we also form extremely strong bonds to our beliefs about things and ideas. Attachment is one of the strongest primal drives that helps us survive as an infant, which explains why when we are attached to a belief, it is so very difficult to let it go.
As well, our brains are programmed to be biased to information that supports the beliefs it holds. If you think about primal attachment bonds, it can feel almost as if our very life depends on keeping the beliefs we hold true about ourselves.
And if we do not challenge these bonds and biases, it is not just easy but likely that we will stay stuck spinning our wheels, unable to let go of the beliefs that no longer serve us.
There are two main types of bias that our brains operate by:
Confirmation bias programs our brains to look for and be attracted to information that supports our belief,
Disconfirmation bias which causes us to actively challenge or refute any information that suggests our belief is not true.
Let’s understand how these biases might work with the example: ‘I’m not capable of __________’.
Perhaps you identify yourself as having that belief. If not, we all know at least one person who obviously holds that belief.
As a person who believes they are ‘not capable’ you would easily attach to information and situations that feeds that belief (“Yesterday I couldn’t figure out how to remove the batteries from the TV remote”), and actively challenge anything that in direct contradiction of that belief (“yes I know I managed to fix that dripping faucet – but it took me four hours” or “I know I did it quickly that time, but it was a fluke – I bet I couldn’t do it again”).
We often get so attached to our beliefs, they become part of our ‘identity’. We might use humor to cover it up and make it ‘okay’, but deep down it informs everything we know to be true about ourselves.
“I’m just not handy” or “I’m terrible at fixing stuff” or “I just don’t ‘do’ crafts because I’m terrible with a glue gun”.
And when our belief about ourself informs who we believe we are in the world, we end up limiting ourselves and our experiences. We get more and more ‘stuck’ into a picture of who we are and how we show ourselves in the world.
Beliefs are simply ideas about ourselves that inform what we do, say and think. Some of these beliefs we are aware of and are relatively harmless (“I’m an animal lover”), others are more harmful but are still at the front of our awareness (“I just can’t do anything right”) and still others operate at the subconscious level but may have an even greater impact on our daily lives than we are even aware of (“I’m powerless”).
Hanging onto limiting and negative beliefs about ourselves is similar to being in a dysfunctional relationship that we know is not healthy for us, but we're afraid of letting go because the idea of being alone - the unknown - seems scary.
Think about the beliefs that inform your own life. Do you know what they are? Have they become attached to your sense of self?
More importantly, what beliefs are you ready to break up with?
Tanya Tinney is a mom of three beautiful girls (including fraternal twins), wife of an amazing entrepreneurial man, nature lover, wrangler of two large dogs and chaser of three bad cats. She is equally good at baking banana bread and whipping up a killer margarita.
Her passion is helping fabulous people get unstuck from their past so they can blast through current challenges and get really stuck into achieving their dreams.
With three University degrees and 14 years experience working as a psychologist, most of the time she knows what she’s talking about. The rest of the time she ‘wings it’ based on her own messy life experiences. Her approach is one of laser focus, empathy and intuition with a healthy dose of humor – along with a kick-in-the-you-know-what when necessary (and it often is!).