"What is one area of your life that you have been limiting yourself in because of the past?"
At first, this was difficult, because I couldn't think of any one specific thing. Then after some thought, I realized there were actually so many things I've held back from doing because of the past that I didn't know which one to pick! Upon reflection, I've come to see that much of it is subconscious; after years of believing that things wouldn't work in my favour, I've tended toward the cautious side in order to avoid disappointment.
In being honest with myself, I admitted that the negative voice in my head was the dominant one, and for many years, after repeated disappointments in various areas of my life, I felt like there was no point in taking risks, trying new things or doing things I really wanted to do because the result would have been the same: it wouldn't have worked out anyway.
Since the task asked for something specific, I will use my career aspiration as an example. Currently, as a recent university graduate and on the job hunt, I am considering going abroad to teach English. I am very close to signing up for certification classes - in fact, there is an email in my inbox waiting for a confirmation response from me. However, I've let it sit there for several days now, and I have already missed the deadline previously some months ago.
Why? Despite having studied abroad for four and a half years, I am apprehensive about traveling again, and not being able to fit in with the host culture. My experience during my undergrad was a difficult one, socially, and I came away with my confidence battered, and very unsure of myself in social settings. Additionally, I am afraid that I will not be a competent teacher, and will not be able to make a difference in the lives of those I teach.
"Identify the specific beliefs limiting you."
- I am socially awkward and will not be able to fit in with the culture of any country I visit or live in, as evidenced by my time spent studying abroad.
- I have no teaching experience and therefore will not be able to make a positive impact or be a good teacher to my students.
"Now change this belief."
- Despite my experience at university being less than stellar socially, a new country, or new group of people will bring about a new opportunity to prove that not every situation will have the same outcome. I have made friends in the past, and therefore have the ability to make new friends regardless of culture.
- I may not currently have any teaching experience, but the certification classes are all about learning how to be a competent and effective teacher. Additionally, I will have the support of those teaching the course, as well as the main teacher to whom I will be an assistant when hired to teach abroad.
"Today is a brand new day. My past does not define me. The future is mine to create."
Being forced to articulate these limiting beliefs has really opened my eyes to the way I truly think about the situation and the true reasons for my fear. Now that I have explicit knowledge of the reasons behind my behaviour, I can choose whether to remain in fear, or to step out of it, and go after my dreams.
Let's choose to be brave.