We all develop beliefs about ourselves, often from a very early age. Beliefs come from a variety of places and our experiences either validate or negate beliefs. The ones that are validated end up carrying forward through our lives until (and if) they are challenged.
In yoga, these sorts of beliefs are referred to as samskaras, and are described as the record player running on a loop in our minds. These samskaras can be very damaging to our ego and self-esteem. One of the beliefs I carried for a very long time came from when I was 10 years old. My father (biological that is) had stopped by my house to tell me he couldn’t see me anymore. He said “your mother is making me pay too much money, so I can’t see you anymore”. I remember that day, although I don’t have many recollections of my childhood. I can’t swear it, but in my mind this happened in my 10th birthday. Many, many years later I was taking a tapping course (EFT) that was around money. I finally uncovered this memory and related it to my feeling of having no value. Once uncovered, though, I didn’t work with it at all. I just kind of left it with that.
When we do uncover the beliefs that are limiting use some way, it’s important then to start challenging them. In neurolinguistic programming, certain questions are asked:
- What is the evidence that this belief is true?
- Is the belief always true?
- Does the belief take into account the entirety of the situation?
- Is this belief helpful to well-being?
- Did I choose this belief?
The “evidence” I have of my value (or lack there of) is pretty slim. It likely isn’t at all what he was even thinking. The truth is, he was always trying to undermine my mother and this was likely a stab at her. I just happened to be quite unshakeable in my belief of her. And that answers the second question- my belief did not take into account the other crucial information. This belief is absolutely unhelpful. It has limited my earning potential, the amount I charge for work, the feeling of never being qualified enough. And finally, I didn’t choose the belief, I interpreted it.
After answering those questions, I need to remake the situation in my mind for what it really is. My father, a very active alcoholic, was in no way healthy enough to see the impact of his statements and behaviours. He wasn’t a reliable source even if he was trying to tell me I wasn’t worth it, which I always established was not likely. I need to look for evidence of my worth. I need to consider the people who have told me I’m not charging enough, that have told me how much I’ve helped them, those who have believed in me even when I haven’t believed in myself. I need to look at the situations in which my worth was proven: graduating with distinction or receiving accolades for a job well done. This all becomes the evidence to support the new belief.
The truth is, we all have beliefs that limit us in some way and when we take responsibility for them we can change them. What beliefs do you have that are holding you back? Are you ready to take responsibility? It is through taking responsibility that you’re u will be empowered to change your life for the better.