Limiting Belief: Something I believe about myself that limits my ability to live up to my full potential.
Would you like an example? I’m about to get real honest, real fast.
… “I am a fat fraud.”
WHEW. Feels good to write it down. Now, it’s time to break it down.
I know that the ego can be tricky. And when I am disconnected from my body (not doing yoga or meditating regularly), my mind starts to manipulate situations and I essentially start lying to myself. My memory isn’t as sharp, the present is somewhat distorted and dull, and the future is not only unknown, it is something I often fear. I am susceptible to more anxiety.
In these moments of disconnect, it makes sense that the ego prefers to keep things the way that they are since my feelings are familiar, safe territory (even if they’re unhealthy and unhelpful). Kurt Cobain said, “There is a comfort in being sad.” Our minds get used to turning negative thoughts over again and again.
Years ago, I once thought to myself, ‘I don’t have a typical yoga body so I am unworthy of being influential.’ And my mind began to reinforce an even simpler phrase (that I would never dream of saying about another person) to carry around to describe myself regularly:
“I Am a Fat Fraud.”
My logical brain understands that this belief is not true, but in times of doubt, my ego gives this belief power, keeping me safe and in check. The ego would prefer that I daydream about who I would be with a different body, and blame the problems I perceive in my life on my lack of physical discipline and my mental weakness. This is truly my biggest obstacle.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of people can relate to this.
We all have unique limiting beliefs. These beliefs can run and eventually ruin our lives.
They are reinforced by our samskara, the Sanskrit word for ‘latent tendencies.” Our habits may have served us well at some point and may have even served a real purpose in the past, but likely no longer serve us today. If the way we speak to ourselves is cruel, this is a samskara that we must break and replace with a new, helpful thought process. The physical yoga practice can help us with this process by allowing us to see our normal reactions to challenges in a controlled, safe environment and start to make different choices when necessary.
Daily, I make it my mission to empower others to overcome and conquer their own limiting beliefs on the mat so they can start embracing life at their full potential. But I do not always practice what I preach. Now, when I know I’m sliding back into an old samskara, I stop everything I am doing and often say, OUTLOUD, to myself, “Stop that.” And invite in my new mantra:
“I forgive myself. I am a beautiful soul with so much to offer.”
And then I go breathe deep in downward facing dog.
When we can sit in our own skin, in our own minds, and whole-heartedly believe that *we are perfect* just as we are, and that we will be worthy no matter what we do or don’t do, humankind can begin to heal. Yoga can help restore the connection between the mind and the body and free us from the ego’s powerful control, destroying limiting beliefs with every mindful breath.
What are some of your present or past limiting beliefs? We would love to hear from you in the comments!