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October 26, 2015

Unlearning: 3 Steps to Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs.

limiting beliefs

I write to give you a window into my soul.

Are you there?

I write this morning to tell you that love is here now.

Love is here now. Peace is here now.

Or, if they aren’t, they never will be.

There is always going to be a problem, an issue, a challenge, an excuse.

There is nothing to attain.

We are life living.

The birds singing their songs in the trees, the black cat bathing in the sunlight, the distant sounds of voices and the lapping of water in the lake—all these are life, just as we are life.

Only none of them are striving for self-improvement, as we humans often tend to do. We tell ourselves that we could and should grow, transform, heal and become whole (not to mention have flat abs, amazing orgasms, a perfect family and powerful career).

Religion tells us we need to seek and find god and repent our sins.

Media tells us we need to look made-up, skinny, and fashionable, because these things equal beauty.

There is much unlearning to be done.

Primarily, we need to unlearn the learned notion that we are somehow incomplete, lacking or separate from nature and the rest of the beings in the universe.

We need to unlearn disconnection and relearn community.

Unlearn repression of our emotions; relearn their acceptance and healthy expression.

Unlearn isolation and relearn interdependence.

Secondarily, each and every one of us seriously needs to unlearn our conditioned, limiting beliefs and belief systems and explore the myriad ways in which we have been conditioned by our circumstances, genes and culture.

But, how to unlearn?

Keep it simple.

1. Identify the beliefs that are holding you back.

Write them down. Focus on a specific area of life. For example, setting boundaries. This is something I’ve been working with a lot lately: the importance of setting boundaries and knowing when to say “no.” I wrote in my journal this list of limiting beliefs that I not-so-consciously hold:

I am flexible and open—I don’t need to set strict boundaries. If I set boundaries, I lose opportunities.

I am too nice. People won’t like me if I set boundaries.

2. See the falseness of these limiting beliefs.

Looking deeply, I see that boundaries are not bad but necessary. Parameters are the limits within which we can safely explore. When I don’t set healthy boundaries, I fall into my unhealthy habit-pattern of taking on too much, getting too busy and involved in too many projects at once, and then experiencing some level of burnout and not being able to do a great job at anything.

3. Relearn the empowering truth.

There is no such thing as failure. Life is in constant flux. These limiting beliefs that we’ve identified and seen as false now can be replaced with truth. We can relearn. In my boundaries example, it would go something like:

I am flexible and open and I know and express my boundaries clearly. By setting boundaries, I protect my health, happiness and freedom. I can be kind and set boundaries. Freedom is only possible within the context of functional boundaries.

Conditioning is inevitable; it’s a result of our human condition. But by shining a light into the darkest shadows of our conditioning, we can bring awareness to our un-helpful beliefs and expectations and eventually let them go, opting instead to open to the glorious simple perfection that is this, here and now.

We can open to the love and peace that are only (and always) available in the present.

~

Relephant:

Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr/Daniela Brown

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Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a heart-centered writer, teacher and creator of Yoga Freedom. She has been a columnist on Elephant Journal since 2010 and has self-published inspiring books. She incorporates dharma, hatha, yin, mindfulness, chakras, chanting, and pranayama into her teachings and practice. A former advertising copywriter and elementary school teacher, she is now a freelance writer and translator. Michelle learned yoga from a book at age 12 and started teaching at 22. She met the Buddha in California at 23 and has been a student of the dharma ever since. Michelle is now approaching her forties with grace and gratitude.

Join Michelle for a writing and yoga retreat this summer at magical Lake Atitlan in the western highlands of Guatemala!