To live the life you want, you must first acknowledge what’s holding you back
A belief is an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially without proof. Beliefs are powerful. We look through them like they’re a clean window — not always noticing them, but they’re there, nonetheless.
These beliefs give us hope, meaning, and safety in an unpredictable world.
But they can also sabotage us.
Four years ago, I was a successful sales executive living comfortably in suburbia. I had engaging hobbies, traveled to exciting places for my job, had good friends, and was quite satisfied with most of my life. In my marriage, however, I knew something was missing.
The relationship had gone flat years before: Tolerance and convenience crept in, replacing real caring and genuine love. My unhappiness would leak out in criticism and complaints. Hers came out in bursts of anger and “I can’t take this anymore!”
During this time, I went to a cryotherapy office for treatment for my injured knee. A man overheard my conversation with the therapist about my knee; he stopped and asked if he could speak to me. He said, “From a mind-body connection point of view, your knees represent your ability to move forward. Here’s my card. If you’d like to discuss it more, give me a call.”
In that moment, I realized there was more going on with my body, my life, than a simple knee injury. The man was right. I was stuck. I was not moving forward. It was time to listen to what my body was telling me.
Brian, a health and wellness coach, carefully listened as I told him that I was afraid to have an honest conversation with my wife. I was afraid of what undoing a 10-year relationship would mean.
He asked me to write down three beliefs about my current situation, to listen to my body and mind. This is what I wrote: “I don’t deserve everything. I’m afraid of what might happen. I’m content with it’s good enough.”
When I looked at what I had written on that scrap of paper, I realized that those beliefs were running my life.
I don’t deserve everything. Well, that’s a real deal-killer. I won’t ever have what I want if I continue with that attitude. I concluded that I do deserve everything — everything that is possible for me, everything that will allow me to have a great life. That means living peacefully and happily, a loving relationship, good health, engaging, meaningful work, and secure finances.
I’m afraid of what might happen. I had convinced myself to believe that only negative circumstances would arise from ending my marriage: My wife will get upset. A divorce will be messy. I won’t have enough money. But not one of those false beliefs ever happened. I had only convinced myself that they would because of fear.
I’m content with “it’s good enough.” I’d given up on the possibility of having a loving and connected relationship. I’ve never been a person who settles, but there I was, accepting what I had even when I knew it wasn’t what I wanted.
I knew I had to make a change and stop letting those limiting beliefs dictate my life.
The conversation with my wife wasn’t nearly as difficult as I imagined it to be. She understood and supported me. Even if we weren’t meant to be together, we still both cared for each other and wanted each other to have full, meaningful lives. We separated, began a mediation process, and soon divorced.
I learned a great deal from that experience, and I’ve taken that knowledge and used it in my life ever since.
Do the inner work
Acknowledging my beliefs brought them out of my subconscious into my everyday awareness. I paid attention to the “window” I’d been looking through but not seeing. That began the transformation process. I found the raw humility and thirst within me to ask for help, which led me to the threshold of significant change. I took long reflective walks and spent time with a therapist.
I had to face the dark side to my personality, a part I didn’t want to admit was there. I’d kept it at a distance, a secret guilt-ridden existence, saying to myself, I’m better than that. I’ll ignore it and it will go away. Just beginning this work of acceptance had a significant impact on my feeling of self-worth and dignity.
The power of visualization and affirmations
Visualization and affirmations are recognized practices that help manifest intentions and goals. Athletes and other successful people have been using visualization techniques for years to improve performance. I have practiced both visualization and affirmations for a few years, and I have seen the results. My life is filled with more richness and peace than ever before.
During my 10-year marriage, I learned what I actually wanted in a relationship and what I didn’t. I want a strong, powerful, loving woman who knows herself and is connected to spirit. I was visualizing what I wanted, without being fully aware of it.
Know and live your values
I’ve identified my four core values as integrity (being proud of my behavior), responsibility (owning the choices I make), humility (having a curious mindset), and respect for others (kindness).
When I was overlooking my values, my inner peace suffered greatly. Living fully in alignment with my values brought me much needed satisfaction and contentment. No matter what happens, my values are my foundation and anchor.
The importance of connection
The fundamental breakdown in my marriage was a lack of connection. While my wife and I enjoyed many things together, like cooking, sex, socializing, and traveling, we didn’t share spiritual camaraderie. For many couples, this might not be an issue. For me, it was an essential part of connection. I overlooked its importance when we got married, and that was my mistake.
What developed in the absence of a meaningful connection were addictive behaviors that didn’t serve me well. To overcome those behaviors, I needed to find the connection I wanted in life.
Timing is everything
For a while, I was frustrated with myself for not doing anything to change my situation. But I realize now that I couldn’t have made a change until I was ready. I had to hit bottom. I had to find the motivation within me to do something. When I accepted the reality, instead of rationalizing it all away, I opened myself to the possibility of making the change.
Recognizing my false beliefs, acknowledging the power they were having over my life, and working to change them was not easy. But I had to trust myself that I was ready, and with a little nudge from Brian and my body, I was.
Not long after my divorce, I traveled to Scotland on business. At a company meeting, I sat at a table with four other people, one of whom was a woman I did not know. During a break, she and I struck up a conversation. I told her my story, and she smiled. I learned that she had been on her own journey since her divorce and had just completed a women’s ceremony two days prior, asking her guides, spirits, and angels to send her the man she needed.
As she spoke, I found myself gazing into the eyes of a powerful, loving woman grounded in self-knowledge and spirit.
I was home.
We’re now married, living in a small village in northeast Scotland, continuing to learn how to be better lovers and better humans with each other and with the world around us.
While the journey wasn’t easy, I’m deeply thankful I was able to let go of my limiting beliefs and have the life I had once thought was impossible.
You can do this too.
Reference: Don Johnson via Medium