Trash Limiting Beliefs
Author: Beth Flory, Co-Owner of Pole Kisses LLC
Over the last six months, I’ve embarked on an intense journey of self-discovery and healing. This transformative process has involved delving into various books, maintaining a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and participating in energy work sessions. While I’ve been involved in some of these practices for years, my current deep dive was prompted by a challenging experience in my personal life. Unlike previous instances where I instinctively fled discomfort, I made a conscious decision to confront it head-on this time. As a result, I’ve been addressing the roots of anxiety, persistent rumination, and negative self-talk as part of this intentional process. I decided it was time to trash limiting beliefs!
My attention span can be similar to that of a 1-year-old Golden Retriever, so I have found that reading short segments from books work best for my easily distracted brain. I like reading in this way, because it also helps me ponder the lesson for the day. Most recently, I have started reading You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. I won’t deny it— the title of this book played a significant role in my decision to make it my next literary venture. For those of you who’ve experienced one of my bungee fitness classes at Pole Kisses you’re aware that I tend to liberally express myself with colorful language. I make a conscious effort to curb it when there’s a youngster in the class, though. Anyway, the initial chapter dives headfirst into the concept of limiting beliefs, which served as the inspiration for this blog post on the eve of the New Year. If we genuinely want to achieve our ambitious resolutions in 2024, we must confront the underlying issues that hold us back.
Within us, we carry many beliefs about ourselves—some positive, some negative. Having been immersed in the field of social work since 2001, I’ve listened to clients openly express beliefs about themselves that are truly cringe-worthy. Frequently, these are negative thoughts reverberating in their minds, echoing the voices of others, persisting since childhood. An unsupportive parent might say, “You will never amount to anything in life.” A stern coach might declare, “You will never be a professional dancer. You have no self-discipline.” An abusive partner may yell, “You are stupid, irrational, and overweight.” Words wield immense power, capable of causing enduring harm, often solidifying into limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs live up to their name. They hold you back from reaching your full potential. For instance, if you believe you’re not smart enough, you might not even try applying to college. Even if you love to dance, you might stop taking classes because of negative feedback. If you think you’ll fail at a new exercise routine, you might not even start it. One important thing to know about limiting beliefs is that they usually come from what others think. How much we like, look up to, or trust that person influences how much we believe their words. But it’s crucial to understand that opinions and facts are different. Just because we really like someone doesn’t mean what they say is always true.
We hear stories about overcoming adversity all the time from celebrities. It took until his junior year in High School for Michael Jordon to get on his Varsity Basketball team. Misty Copeland was told countless times that she did not fit the mold of a typical ballerina (Caucasian), and therefore would not succeed. During these interviews, successful individuals share the same sentiments, “I wanted to prove them wrong.” “I always knew deep inside I could do it, no matter what they said.” They trashed their limiting beliefs to become superstars.
So how do we overcome our own negative thoughts and trash limiting beliefs? There are a lot of opinions on this matter that could fill an entire novel. I am going to share some tips that I have witnessed be effective in myself and in others.
Identify Limiting Beliefs
The first and, admittedly, the most uncomfortable step is recognizing negative thoughts and beliefs. I understand it might not be pleasant, but you’ll need to jot them down on a piece of paper. I get it – dredging up everything you dislike about yourself doesn’t sound appealing. Personally, I’d rather keep those things tucked away in my subconscious. However, the truth is they don’t belong there. If we’re aiming for success, we have to yank them out, even if they resist fiercely. To initiate this process, reflect on something you’ve always desired but struggled to attain. Examine why you believe it’s out of reach and question whether that belief is based on fact or just an opinion. Did someone else influence that opinion? Identify who it was and the reasons you chose to trust them. As a fan of rituals, I recommend tearing up these written thoughts and literally throwing them in the trash can when you’re finished. Do this while verbally asserting their falsehood. It can be quite cathartic!
Confront the Uncomfortable
Stepping out of your comfort zone—yet another task that’s, well, uncomfortable! I’ve heard countless times, “I’d love to try pole dancing, but I don’t have any upper body strength.” First and foremost, that’s precisely why pole dance fitness classes exist! Plus, I’ve heard this from parents who carried their babies around in their arms for a year. Third, pole dancing provides a full-body workout, and I’d argue that core strength is probably more crucial. Anyway, getting back on track, this belief about lacking upper body strength prevents people from experiencing one of the most enjoyable and amazing workouts. If I were to delve deeper, I’m sure more limiting beliefs would surface—feeling uneasy in one’s body, fearing looking silly, feeling unsexy, and so on. However, once I convince someone to step outside their comfort zone and try a pole dance class despite these beliefs, they invariably want to come back for more. Gradually, as their confidence grows, these limiting beliefs begin to dissolve.
Are you a Las Vegas valley resident, or traveling to our beautiful neon city for a vacation? CLICK HERE if you would like to step out of your comfort zone and try one of our pole dance, bungee, or aerial classes. We also offer private parties! Perfect for a birthday celebration or bachelorette party.
Mindfulness and Meditation
I make a point to meditate and practice mindfulness each day because both can significantly benefit mental health. Now, my mind, resembling that of a Golden Retriever, struggles to meditate independently, so I take it for a walk with a harness and leash – in other words, I rely on guided meditations. What’s particularly exciting is that you can discover guided meditations tailored to address specific issues you’re dealing with! Whether its love, work success, or money, a simple search on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube yields endless lists with diverse themes and durations. There are even meditations designed for positive affirmations, which is another effective method for overcoming limiting beliefs.
Mindfulness used to feel distant and perplexing until the right yogi uttered the right words, and suddenly, it all made sense. Put simply, mindfulness is about being present. While I may not be a huge fan of the 2022 movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “Firestarter,” Zac Efron’s character teaches a perfect example of mindfulness exercises to his on-screen daughter as a preventive measure for unintended arson. The objective is to pull yourself out of your head and into your body by observing your surroundings, effectively disrupting those repetitive negative thoughts. Take a moment to notice and name what objects are around you. What does the air smell like? Is there a cool or warm breeze? What distant sounds do you hear? Are you clenching your jaw right now? Relax your jaw. Drop your shoulders. Interestingly, this is also why I appreciate pole dance classes. They demand my full attention on the choreography, so I don’t risk falling on my ass. No room for negative thoughts in pole dance class!
Journaling, journaling, and more journaling – it’s a practice worth embracing. You might harbor limiting beliefs about it, thinking it’s time-consuming or that your writing skills aren’t up to par. When I started gratitude journaling, I would jot down three sentences in about three minutes. Sometimes it was barely legible, expressing simple thoughts like, “I am grateful I made it through today without crying.” Remember, your journal is for you and no one else, so writing style and ability are irrelevant.
Gratitude journaling, in particular, has a remarkable way of reshaping your daily thoughts. I became attuned to positive aspects of my day as they unfolded. I’d think, “I’m going to write about this in my journal tonight!” Gradually, my days seemed less gloomy because my focus shifted from the negative to the positive. I’ll go so far as to say that I started subconsciously orchestrating positive experiences just so I could write about them in my journal – I call it sabotaging negativity. Not only did my outlook on the external world become more optimistic, but I also found a more positive perspective on my inner world. Interestingly, my gratitude journaling has evolved into paragraphs, and even my handwriting has improved.
It is okay to admit that you need help. Abusive parents and partners can significantly impact our mental health, and sometimes, we require the guidance of a professional counselor to navigate these challenging situations. Maybe your limiting beliefs are so severe, you can’t even find the trash can to throw away your limiting beliefs. A therapist can give you a road map. Personally, I’ve sought the assistance of a mental health therapist on at least three occasions, and I’m certain I’ll do so again in the future. Limiting beliefs can also be a barrier to seeking professional help for mental health, particularly for those influenced by cultural norms against the practice. Seeking counseling might be another step outside your comfort zone.
If you are in the Las Vegas area, I highly recommend The Healing Center. My dear friend Nicole is a co-founder, and all around excellent human being. They accept many kinds of insurance and employ lots of different healing techniques. Also, S.A.F.E. House in Henderson offers free counseling if you have ever been a victim of domestic violence. Otherwise, there are a number of quality online services available, such as BetterHelp, Cerebral, and Talkspace. I also encourage you to read my other blog about Aerial Fitness for Trauma Recovery.
Just to be clear, I am not an enlightened sage who has completely freed herself from negative thoughts. I am still overcoming many limiting beliefs just to write and publish these blog posts. I am a constant work in progress, which brings me to my final suggestion: continuous self-improvement. Read books, watch videos, and go to classes. This is a journey, not a destination. Some of my other favorite books include, The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin, Change your Thoughts – Change your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer, and The Four Agreements – 3 Box Set by Don Miguel Ruiz. Different teachers can share similar wisdom in different ways that resonates with different people. If you have an inspiring self-help book that you love, please email the title to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am particularly interested in literature from other cultures and would love to explore your suggestions!