Get to the Bottom of Your Limiting Beliefs
In November 2020 I developed frozen shoulder. If you’ve ever had frozen shoulder, you’ll know that it restricts your range of motion, renders you unable to use the injured arm, and can even result in radiating pain, numbness and tingling in the hand, wrist and arm.
YUP! It was painful.
For 6 months I couldn’t lift or carry anything including my loaded down purse. I couldn’t even pull the car door shut with my right arm. I’d brace myself and reach across to the passenger seat with my left arm to put my purse down. Even walking and sleeping were painful.
For 6 months I adapted how I did chores, used the computer, brushed my teeth, and styled my hair. Yup flat hair on the right for 6 months. I was slowly becoming ambidextrous.
I thought my shoulder would never thaw.
After a few months of physio and massage therapy, things started to loosen.
Then just last week I caught myself bracing and reaching across my seat again, to grab my purse from the passenger seat. I thought, wait a minute, I didn’t even consider trying to use my right arm.
I gave it a shot and voila. I could actually use my right arm with no pain!
When did this even become possible? How long was I actually capable of using my arm, but instead I was holding on to limiting beliefs and babying it?
We all get stuck in limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are the thoughts that you repeat over and over again until they become a patterned habit. Repeated thoughts become beliefs and rehearsed beliefs become so automatic that that you fall victim to them, without even thinking about it. They become your truth. Shaping your behaviours. And your whole life.
Next thing you know you’re doing things that may or may not serve you. Like reaching for your purse with your left hand when the right arm works perfectly fine.
How can you tell if you’re stuck in limiting beliefs? Here’s a fun activity. Take 1-minute and count all of the ways that you can think to use a trash can? And, GO!
How many uses did you come up with?
Research shows that children come up with more than double the number of uses, compared to adults. Why? Because as adults you have become entrenched in how you look at things and how you think about things.
Your limiting beliefs at one point in time probably served a purpose. That’s why you may have repeated the pattern so many times.
If you grew up in a home where you were constantly scolded for interrupting, teased about your ideas, or ignored. Or, if every time you where asked what you wanted, it was followed up with “are you sure”. You probably learned to stay quiet, or refrain from sharing your opinions.
If this pattern was repeated time and again in your home and maybe reinforced at school, or in other environments, you might still believe to this day that your opinions and feelings don’t matter or that no one listens or you don’t want to be humiliated or that no one cares.
The longer you hold these beliefs, the harder it is to stand up for yourself or speak your mind. Once upon a time, it might have saved you grief to stay quiet. But today it probably works against you. It’s likely that you might feel stuck or like you never get what you want or need.
If you want to know which beliefs are keeping you stuck, try this CBT (cognitive-behavioural) technique.
Every time you feel hurt, stuck, overwhelmed, upset, or any big feelings, especially if you feel “triggered”, explore where it all comes from. Get to the thing behind the thing.
Give yourself some empathy. Identify how you’re feeling. And name it to tame it.
Now explore the thoughts and beliefs behind that feeling.
This feeling ___________ makes me think ____________.
Follow the spiral. Discover the other feelings that come from this thought.
This thought ____________ makes me feel _____________.
Now, keep going.
This feeling __________ makes me think ____________.
I feel scared to use my frozen arm.
This feeling of fear makes me think I’m going to wrench it .
This thought about wrenching my arm makes me feel cautious.
This feeling of caution makes me think I can’t take chances.
This thought I can’t take chances makes me feel anxious.
This feeling of anxiety makes me think ………
You get the picture.
The further you follow this down the chain, the more you can get to the limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck in unhealthy patterns.
The next time any of the thoughts or feelings in this chain are present, your core limiting belief is likely triggered and running the show.
Now that you have awareness of your spiral, you can now start to challenge the thoughts and beliefs and create new behaviours and patterns.
Leave a note and let me know what limiting beliefs came up for you.
If you would like a hand to explore this pattern or support to break the chain of limiting beliefs, call or email to book an appointment today.