‘I’m fat’, ‘I’m stupid’, ‘I’ll never be anything in my life’ and on and on the audio in my head plays. We all have some version of this audio playing in our heads all the time. It’s like the background or ambient music we observe as we eat dinner out at our favorite restaurant with a friend. Only for most of us it is not so innocent as background music.
The audio that we hear in our heads contains a lifetime of negative messaging that we have internalized as our personality with all of our quirks and limitations. These messages contain limiting beliefs formed throughout life in our attempts to make sense of experiences that caused us to feel negative emotions. Limiting beliefs also contain the programing we downloaded as young children when our brains acted as sponges taking in the constant barrage of input from our parents, preschool experiences and our environment. Our bodies and minds store a visceral record of our experiences and surroundings beginning in the womb at the time of conception. Most of these memories are implicit meaning they were stored without conscious awareness. Implicit memories remain in our subconscious mind influencing how we feel and experience life without us knowing of them.
While we are not conscious of our limiting beliefs most of the time, this does not make them any less powerful. The subconscious mind is our autopilot, or our programing enabling us to respond instantaneously to input from the environment in precisely the way in which it was programmed during our youth without us ever thinking about it. That’s right, all of this done without conscious thought or awareness. This accounts for our “buttons” and why every time one of our buttons is pushed we respond the same way. These buttons or triggers touch upon our early wiring and thus elicit the same visceral feelings, emotions and reactions we had the first time we experienced a similar situation earlier in life.
The power of the subconscious mind cannot be underestimated. Our brains were specifically wired to learn and adapt quickly to the environment. What we call the subconscious mind is largely responsible for our adaptability as it processes information at a much quicker rate than even the conscious mind and all without our even asking it do so. Our subconscious mind is also “in charge” most of the time. Essentially, if we are not completely conscious and aware in any given moment then we are operating on autopilot under the guidance of our subconscious and we are completely at the whim of its hardwired programming.
Our limiting beliefs exert a tremendous influence in our lives and largely without our awareness. This is because ultimately our beliefs, conscious or not, guide our actions. Limiting beliefs, like ‘I’m not worthy’ or ‘I am not lovable’ lead to self-sabotage in friendships, intimate relationships, job opportunities, and on and on the list goes. If all of this is new to you, you can rest at ease knowing that this is new to most of us. Many of us lead lives that do not resemble the lives that we truly desire, lives that are filled with constant pain and disappointment. Is there a solution? Yes, there is a way to come to resolution with subconscious limiting beliefs.
The answer lies in awareness, awareness that comes as a result of the open and curious mind we so often observe in young children. Strong feelings and emotions are the clues to where this detective work needs to begin. This is the unsettled residue from our past begging first for our awareness and then to be released. As we shine a light on what we are carrying from our past we are free to look at it consciously and decide whether or not the beliefs we carry under these feelings are actually serving us. As we become aware of what no longer serves us and we are willing to acknowledge that it truly no longer serves us, space is created to receive new beliefs that are in alignment with our higher purpose and deepest desires. This is the process of transmutation. We have the power to take all of our pain and suffering and transform into the fuel that bestows our greatest gift, self-actualization. In many ways our children are the greatest recipients of our awareness. When we are aware of our early programing and patterning we can choose to parent consciously giving our children the love, patience and emotional support needed for them to develop to their highest potentials free of many of the burdens we were saddled with during our own childhoods.
So if you are anything like me, this may seem airy-fairy or downright impossible. I can tell you from experience it is a bit on the airy-fairy side but it’s far from impossible. In fact the more that you delve into your feelings, really lean into them while staying open and curious about what is inside those feelings, the easier the process becomes. I am at a point now that when painful memories and/or strong emotions surface, I immediately pause and offer myself gratitude and then I listen quietly and intently to whatever surfaces. I approach these experiences almost as if I am speaking to myself as the young scared child that experienced pain and suffering. I want to be open, kind, with no hint of judgment in the transaction. I want her to know that she is safe and that I can help her to internalize a new message around these experiences. I see it as an opportunity to re-parent myself in a supportive and loving way.
Everyday I feel a little safer and little more willing to explore what I previously deemed a very terrifying and unsafe world. Bit by bit I feel myself growing more resilient to my triggers. When previously I would have remained silent, I am finding a new sense of self-confidence to speak up for my self and my child. I am starting to recognize that everyone truly is fighting their own battle rather than taking things personally or as just another confirmation that people are unkind or that I am not worthy of loving. I get to choose which lenses to peer out of. I choose dignity, love, trust and joy. This process has not been instant, rather it has taken me years to evolve to the point I am today and there are moments or days or weeks even when I “regress” back to my old limiting beliefs. Overall, I can say without a doubt that I have experienced a forward progression toward awareness. I can also say without a doubt that I anticipate exponentially more growth as I continue on this journey.
Our brain is completely magnificent. With continual practice and the redirection we are empowered with through awareness, we have the capacity to rewire our brains over-riding early negative programming with whatever we choose to replace it with. The limiting belief, ‘I am stupid’, can be replaced with ‘I possess wisdom and creativity that are unique to my being’. Any negative belief can be transformed into a belief that serves one’s higher good. The key is practicing new empowering beliefs until eventually these neuropathways become so strong that the old negative ones fall away from disuse. Awareness is power. It is the key to unlocking your higher self and accessing deep presence, the kind of presence that allows you to show up unencumbered for all your loved ones. This is the ultimate gift every one of us is capable of giving to our children.