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What are your self-limiting beliefs?

No matter how successful we become, how much we achieve, how happy we appear, for many of us there is a thought, a feeling a belief, that tells us we are not enough, that one day we will be found out.

I’ve overcome such limiting beliefs in many aspects of my life but there are always more layers to uncover – I write poetry but ‘you’re not a real poet’, I play music but ‘you’re not a real musician’, I have a PhD but ‘you’re not an academic’, I’ve been running a business for over 10 years but ‘you’re not a businesswoman’. If I listen to such thoughts and let them dominate, then I deny myself the pleasure of writing poems or playing music, I deny my clients the value that I bring them, I deny myself the opportunity to step up and make a positive contribution to the world around me.

Tea vs Coffee?

When I was 17, I started college in University College Dublin, away from my home in Donegal, to the unfamiliar and untrodden surroundings of university life. On our induction day, two words which were to send me into a panic that stays with me to this day were “Coffee Break” – the problem being that I didn’t drink coffee, only tea! How could I navigate such a social chasm on my first day?

The sociologist in me now looks back and sees a first-generation college student from a background where coffee was a middle-class beverage, experiencing her first feeling of exclusion in these hallowed halls. My good friends from those early days look back with me through a nostalgic lens at the innocence and naivety of youth, alongside my lifelong love of tea and dislike of coffee!

What do you feel that is Real but not True?

My body remembers and holds that belief of not belonging, of being an imposter in a world that I ‘accidentally’ gained access to. I recently heard Tara Brach use the phrase coined by Tsoknyi Rinpoche “Real but Not True”. Those first days in university and many after in social meeting places, I held the real feeling that I was an imposter, that I didn’t really deserve to be there, that I did not belong. My mind and body felt the reality of that, despite it not being true. There have been many situations in my life where that feeling re-emerges.

How to move on?

That simple ‘Coffee Break’ experience, allows me to challenge the Imposter Syndrome feeling with ease for myself and for others. Always challenge with compassion the truth of self-limiting beliefs. Whatever, the root or the cause – and generally they are manifold – the key to overcoming these limits is to really feel them and recognize them when they pop up. It can be useful to have a ‘go to experience’ (for me the coffee break) to help us overcome the next one, and the next, and the next. I now enjoy sharing skills and strategies to overcome limiting beliefs with clients. When we continue to practice those skills and strategies, then we can move on and purposefully inhabit our rightful place in this wonderful world. Contact me if you would like to explore further through Mentorship, Group Facilitation or Creative Inspiration.