Something that my travels into the self-love, body-love, body-acceptance community have taught me is that more often than not our actions, our fears, our anxieties, are rooted in beliefs we’re not even aware of.
These beliefs are created in many ways: sometimes it’s something we’ve been directly told (like you’d be so much more attractive if you were thinner), sometimes it’s something you subconsciously picked up (like you can’t be a creative and an engineer simultaneously – a lot of stereotyping happens this way), and sometimes they’re rooted in your own past experiences (like that one time I tried to stay friends with my ex it totally backfired, so obviously I can’t stay friends with an ex).
I mentioned in a post way back when about releasing limiting beliefs, and how much that has helped me to accept my body and fear food less.
But what I’m realizing now is the true power comes from recognizing these beliefs in the first place. The real power comes from finding yourself in a state of panic and realizing that your panic is a result of beliefs NOT FACTS.
Sure, releasing the beliefs is powerful, but the true testament is being able to recognize those beliefs on your own.
So how do you recognize beliefs, here’s an exercise to try:
Journal (or if that’s not your thing, talk to/email/text a friend) about one of your fears. Just start blabbering about it. Talk about what really scares you. What outcomes make you want to cry. What potential results make your stomach churn. You can prescribe an amount of time to this exercise or just go until you’re tired. Now (and this is why I recommend journaling or writing – even if you don’t send the letter or text), go back and look through your text and start picking out statements that you are taking to be facts. Think about them. How many of them are actually facts and how many of them are things that you just believe to be true. This is hard at first. Obviously we are where we are because we’ve always taken these statements are given realities of our lives, but with time you’ll start being able to recognize these. Then, if you want, you can start slowly releasing them – helping yourself process these beliefs.
So now you can start realizing “Wait, when I’m not skinny I’m actually really hot!” or “Of course I can be an engineer during the day and an artist/maker/painter/writer at night” or “Staying friends with my ex doesn’t mean I’m hung up on him.” And all of the sudden everything feels lighter and easier.
For a much more thought out and different explanation of limiting beliefs check out Caroline Dooner’s post on the subject from several months ago.
Until next time!