Why is it so hard to recognize our limiting beliefs while they are in play? What is it that keeps them hidden from our consciousness?
Our ego, which is ultimately trying to protect us from pain, will defend our beliefs as sacred truths that we have to be right about. This is why we often defend our position so intensely. The ego looks to keep those beliefs unchallenged since it helped create those beliefs (sacred truths) as a form of protection from feelings that were too painful to handle as a child. Challenging those beliefs opens you up to feeling that pain from the past, and the ego works hard to keep that from happening.
When my mother was neglectful and my father abandoned us, the pain of those losses was too great for my five-year-old mind and emotions to handle. If my parents were hurtful or uncaring, I couldn’t make them wrong at five-years-old when my parents were essential to my survival. Instead of making them wrong, I made up beliefs about myself (I’m unworthy, I’m unlovable, I’m not enough), to avoid the idea and feelings of my parents being the problem.
The biggest barrier to seeing through our past limiting beliefs is the stored emotions that come with revealing those beliefs to ourselves.
Our culture has not done a good job helping us to identify, allow, and responsibly express our emotions. The feelings that are attached to our oldest beliefs include the terror we felt as children. This makes the emotions feel much bigger than they actually are in the present moment, and we are afraid they will overwhelm us and we’ll never find our way out again. We have also been collecting evidence of these experiences our whole lives and each one adds to the well of emotions we have stored within. We may allow ourselves glimpses of those emotions, but push them back down again when they start bubbling up.
Now, as an adult, I no longer need my parents, or my limiting beliefs, in order to survive. I am the adult in my life and perfectly capable of supporting and loving that lovable and worthy little girl inside of me. In fact, until I release the hurt, fear, and anger that I have stored up around those old beliefs, they will keep driving my thoughts and behavior—and ultimately my experience of being unlovable and unworthy. I can do that in a responsible way with those beings who can be fully present with me.
One of my favorite teachers, Leonard Jacobson, has a powerful meditation he calls the ‘anger’ meditation. It’s not a quiet meditation—you allow yourself to tell-off everyone in your life starting with your parents and working all the way up to those currently in your life. Cursing helps. This does NOT mean expressing these feelings directly to those people…but instead expressing them with a present person/being that can be with you in a way you feel fully heard and seen. If you can’t find a person, try a tree or flower. Nature is wonderful at being present with you. If nature is not in your life, try driving around in your car with the music blaring so you can say everything you ever wanted to say to those that have hurt you or made you angry or scared. Allowing yourself to fully feel and responsibly express your emotions in the moment, empties the well of stored energy and helps you see the truth of who you are.
Are you ready to become aware of the beliefs that no longer serve you?