By Sharon Rooke
How many of us have experienced fear? Well probably everyone at certain times in their life. It isn’t always a bad thing; it is natural and really useful, essential for survival. It is important to learn the right level of fear, that is appropriate for the circumstances, to feel it in the moment, to take action that lets it go.
So what’s the problem? Sometimes the fear can linger in the shadows. Staying with us long after the threat has gone. Sometimes we adapt the way we our life because of that fear we’ve kept hold of, long after the original event itself has passed. And holding onto it means it is more likely to spread into other areas of our lives. Impacting our lives in many ways, thinking of what might happen, living in fear.
One client remembered, with absolute clarity, how shopping trips to Birmingham stopped suddenly after the dreadful bombings. This happened in the ‘70s. They weren’t directly involved in any way, they hadn’t been near there that day, there were no plans for the near future, no-one they knew had been involved. Yet it became up close and personal. Maybe because it mirrored the fear from their parents, that remained just under the surface. Maybe because every news clip lead with the impending doom. Maybe because they identified with the stories from media coverage of the event. It became very personal. As a result, even after all this time, cities are dangerous places. So, they avoid them, with fear lurking in the shadows of the streets and their mind.
A survival strategy has turned into a Limiting Belief. A belief that we have decided to accept either about ourselves or the world we live in that limits the way we live our life. If you think of something that you would like to do, be or have that is currently impossible for you to conceive then the odds are it is a Limiting Belief that is lurking behind this barrier. Beliefs shape the world around us & our place in our world; who we are, what we can achieve and relationships with others. And then we ‘perform’ the behaviours that are aligned to this belief.
“Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t.You’re absolutely right!” said Henry Ford
The good news is that beliefs can and do change, they aren’t set in stone. Many beliefs that were once held as fact, or a truth have changed naturally over time. Were you, like me, told never to speak to strangers? Well that belief doesn’t work for networking or making friends. But it is important to learn who you can and can’t trust when you are younger. Perhaps that is the greater belief here!
Follow this exercise to bust a belief that currently limits how you live your life.
- Write down something you want but don’t have, currently. e.g. city breaks
- Next, what stops you from having this – really, e.g. they are dangerous
- What causes this, e.g. something will happen to my family, well, its really that I’m not in control
- When did you first decide to live this way, e.g. when I heard about a bomb going off in Birmingham
- What was the positive intention of deciding this, back then, e.g. Staying safe
- As an older, wiser you now; reframe the limiting behaviour, the positive intention and How? E.g. How can I stay safe and have a city break
- What do you now believe about yourself and your goal? E.g. I have wider choice about where I visit
A useful little analogy about limiting beliefs that I share with some of my clients is to consider how often you put the rubbish out. We are conditioned, aren’t we, to do this task or chore weekly, whether that’s household rubbish or recycling. The stuff that we no longer want that is no longer required that we have used and discarded; that is passed its best that is out of date. How many beliefs and their packages are stored in the cupboards of your mind that have passed their use by date?
Sharon Rooke is a registered psychotherapist and supervisor with UKCP & NLPtCA. She is the vice chair of UKCP Ethic committee and an Exec member of Constructivist & Existential College. Previously, she has been the Chair of NLPtCA. She is a guest lecturer at Worcester University for the Psychology department.
She is passionate about helping people be the best they can be; and has a private practice in Worcester and Edwyn Ralph; she also runs personal and professional development workshops. who specialises in NLP & Hypnotherapy. You can contact her on 07966 453 387 or Sharon@SharonRooke.co.uk . Visit www.SharonRooke.co.uk for more details.