Everyone has beliefs: both good and bad. They shape your life and your decisions, for the better and the worse. The more aware of them you are, the more able you are to control them. So, how do you go about identifying your limiting beliefs around love? Well, some of them you may already know of, but others, you might have to do a little digging around to get clear on them.
It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion. Because so often we will act and not even know why we’re doing the things we do. But once you explore it further, you can start to see patterns which reveal the ways you think, and – arguably – more importantly, why.
See, your beliefs are based on your personal history, life experiences, the messages you’ve been exposed to, the things you’ve been told and the assumptions you’ve made through the journey of life. Some remain consistent and engraved in your mind, others can change and evolve, particularly as you develop and grow as a person.
Step 1 To Challenging Your Limiting Beliefs Around Love
To discover your limiting beliefs around love, I want you to simply ask yourself:
“What do I believe about love and relationships?”
Write down every statement that comes to mind. If you’re struggling, ask yourself, what MIGHT I believe – then when something comes to mind, ask yourself if you think that’s true. If it is, pop it in the notebook. With every statement, see if you can explore it any further.
For example, you might think something like, “true love is rare…” so then ask yourself, “why do I think that?” Maybe because “it’s very difficult to trust someone” or “there is too much deception” or perhaps even “it’s hard to let people in.” You see what I mean? Keep digging! Get everything out on paper. That will then make it a lot easier when it comes to breaking them down and analysing them later. This list doesn’t have to be complete or perfect. You can add to it, change things, decide you no longer agree with something.
The important thing is to simply start thinking about it. We need to increase our awareness of the thoughts that go through out mind, otherwise we won’t think to challenge whether or not they are actually true. We just treat them like they are and as a result – can make poor decisions.
You’ll find both positive and negative ones in there. The positive ones you can highlight in green. These can stay. The negative ones are what we’ll be working on as these are most likely your limiting beliefs around love. It’s important to remember that with all of these, they are just assumptions. They’re not necessarily true. Which is why we’re going to explore them further.
So what next? Well once you’ve done this exercise and you have this list, I want you to feel damn proud for doing on it. For now, celebrate that by doing something good for yourself! Then, I want you to sit on it for a few days, a week even, but make a note in your calendar for when you’re going to re-visit the list (otherwise it’s easy to forget about!)
You just need a short break so that you can then go back to it and re-assess whether what you wrote down you really believe to be true, if there’s anything you want to add to it, or anything you’re missing off.
This will be an ongoing process so it’s good to get into the habit of working through your thoughts like this, more regularly – in all aspects of your life actually. It’s great for personal development.
Step 2 To Challenging Your Limiting Beliefs Around Love
So once you have your list, I then want you to start by circling the top statements that influence your life the most. With every belief that you have, I want you to then break them down a little to establish:
- How accurate the belief is.
– Both in terms of how true it is, and the best way to define it.
- Where you might have gotten the belief from.
- The impact of the belief and what it means for your life.
- Whether you want to keep it, change it, or replace it.
It sounds like a lot of work, but this is where the changes are going to come and to begin with, just tackle them one at a time, at your own pace. Unsure where to start? Let me give you an example of one that I previously worked through.
The Belief: Love creates happiness in your life.
How accurate is this?
Well, I think it is pretty accurate to some degree, because love is powerful and who you choose to spend your life with will almost certainly have an impact on how happy you are. If I was to get more specific with this, I was definitely referring to love and relationships – the romantic kind of love.
The issue I have with this statement, in hindsight, is that it’s not phrased properly. I think it should be more that love can create happiness in your life. Not that it automatically does. Nor that you NEED it in order to be happy. This was a fundamental error for me.
Where did you get the belief from?
Well, I guess it would be past experiences. I’d always told myself that I was happiest when I was in a relationship. I craved the sense of security, the love, the intimacy. And my relationships were only potentially my happiest times prior to that because I didn’t know how to deal with break-ups and spent a lot of my single-life being miserable as I hadn’t adopted the right frame of mind – nor had I removed the negative beliefs that were holding me back. I think I also told myself I was happiest in relationships, when, if I actually looked at the pain the toxic relationships had created – I wasn’t completely happy a lot of the time anyway.
If you think about it however, that’s not where the belief originated from. I already believed relationships and love meant happiness before I went into them. So further back from that, I think being assaulted certainly had an impact. After that my self-worth was so low, I craved the love and acceptance even more. I took this into adulthood with me and felt like love would be the answer to all of my problems. It would make me feel whole, because I’d been broken so badly as a result of it before. When you have issues like this, they can be difficult to accept or acknowledge. But it’s only by doing so that you’ll be able to move forward.
What is the impact of this belief?
The belief that I need love in order to be happy was not a healthy one. In fact, it really screwed me over! It was the reason why I jumped into relationships too quickly in the past, craved the constant reassurance of love and security, and why I stayed in such a toxic relationship for so long. Ultimately, I thought I would be broken without the relationship and the ‘love’ that came with it. (Which was not true, evidently!)
I used my relationships as a way to validate my worth, which fundamentally meant that when I didn’t feel loved – even in the relationship – I would feel incredibly low. This is no way to live your life and won’t result in long-lasting happiness.
So, what’s the verdict? Keep It, Change It Or Replace It?
With this one, it’s an obvious decision to change it. And not just to, love can create happiness in your life… it needs to be more than that. Because love is so broad. You can receive love from friends, family, animals, but that’s different to romantic love. So, I would change to,
‘Romantic love can bring huge happiness in your life, but ultimately, you are in control of how you feel… You don’t need it to be happy.”
Statements like that can also become affirmations or mantras – which is actually a great way to get them re-installed in your head.
When you challenge your limiting beliefs around love and relationships, it will have a huge impact on the way you feel and the way you live… not necessarily instantly of course. It still takes some time to get these new beliefs properly installed in your mind. But stick with it because slowly but surely, you’ll be able to make the shift.
“Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily…”
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