“Give me the boy until he is seven and I will show you the man” – Aristotle
Would it be fair to say that your life is a lie? Is it possible that most of the beliefs you have about who you are and what you can achieve are false? Unless you have done the inner work and understand the internal workings of your mind, these statements could probably be true for you. Aristotle believed that the most crucial milestones in a person’s life happened before the age of seven. He once said “Give me the boy until he is seven, and I will show you the man”. The meaning of which is that for the most part, your character is formed by the age of seven and you live out your adult life, based on the dominant thoughts and beliefs of this character. They form the foundation upon which you build your adult life. It is a little unsettling isn’t it that your success or failure in life could possibly be based on your experience of life before you had even developed reasoning ability.
I believe that we were all born with the ability to do, be and have anything that we want. At birth we had a perfect body and mind and were tiny balls of pure potential, waiting to be formed. We were full of confidence that we were totally lovable and that all of our needs would be met. However, life rarely works out like this and when our needs are not met, we as children take full responsibility for that. We internalise beliefs about ourselves that are based on our experience and have nothing to do with our true nature.
I am different. I am not enough. What I want is not available to me.
There is no such thing as a perfect childhood and everyone of us has a crushing memory that is imprinted on our minds, whether it was bullying on the schoolyard, something said by a parent, a disappointment that cut deep within us and each time something like this happens, we internalise a belief about ourselves that goes something like this – “I am bad”, “I am not lovable”, “I don’t deserve or I am not worthy of attention, love, good things” and so on. Marisa Peer would distil all of those limiting beliefs down to three that she believes underpins all of our challenges in life. The first is “I am not enough”, the second is “I am different” and the third is “What I want is not available to me”.
We cannot change that which we are not aware of
Our experiences teach us how to relate to ourselves and reflects our perception of how our parents, teachers, friends and siblings related to us. So, it is easy to see how most people have internalised one or all of those limiting beliefs in their childhood. We cannot change that which we are not aware of so it is important that you look at your life and see what are the underlying beliefs that are influencing your life today. Are you a people pleaser, doing everything you can for others because you need their approval to feel good about yourself? Do you stop short of going after what you want because you believe that it is not available to you, whether it’s the perfect weight, the loving relationship, the business or job or following your passion? Or are you on the outside looking in at others living to their potential, because deep down you feel that this is not available to you. You fill this void within you with sabotaging behaviour or substances such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, so that you can distract yourself from the truth and numb the pain.
Reclaim your power today and retrain your mind to support you
So, my invitation to you today is to look at those areas of your life that you feel are underperforming and spend some time exploring the reasons behind this. Explore these questions through writing.
- What was your experience of childhood, all the way from conception to 7 years and beyond to early adult. Explore with parents, guardians, siblings, friends etc.
- Do you have any stand out memories that may be holding you hostage today? If so, you can explore them through writing. Ask yourself is the belief you formed at that time supporting or sabotaging your life today? Is this belief still relevant?
- Explore the impact those experiences had on you and identify the repeating patterns of behaviour you have developed because of this experience. You can only change that which you are aware of so honesty is key. If you are in and out of relationships for example, look at the belief you may be holding about yourself that is sabotaging your ability to forge deep meaningful relationships. If you do not love yourself or feel you deserve love, you will constantly unconsciously project this belief onto your partner until they have no option but to leave you.
- Once you have identified them and realise that they are not you, let them go. A great way to do this is though writing letters to yourself at the significant age you were when you created those beliefs. Understand that everything you did was age appropriate and forgive yourself for you have done nothing wrong. Put all your thoughts down onto the page and when finished burn safely. Watch the paper burn as this helps to dissolve all the negative emotions around it.
- You created those beliefs and you can just as easily create new more empowering beliefs to take their place. “I am good enough”, “I have what it takes to be successful”, I deserve the loving family, good friends, success in my career or business” and so on. “Everything I want is available to me”. Reclaim your power today and retrain your mind to work for you and not against you.
- I know for many these memories may be too difficult to work through on your own, so seek out a trusted friend or a professional to help you to release and let go of the past. You deserve to experience the intrinsic joys of life and love and I assure you this is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and those you love. When your energy changes, you become a role model for those around you, your partner, children, friends and work colleagues.
With love & gratitude,