Replacing Limiting Beliefs, People and Places with Empowering Ones

"No prisons are more confining than those we know not we are in." - William Shakespeare

"I watch my old programs playing out in my mind, and I realize whyI have had to work so hard in my life. In my old programs I see my own resistance to making changes in my life, my own unnecessary fears about my ability to survive and do well, and old programs that doubt the successes of my own future. They are all old, negative and unnecessary programs, and I choose to get rid of them. I no longer need them, and I will do much better without them." - Shad Helmstetter

"Your limiting beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies." - Mastin Kipp

"When we're attacked, fear puts us on guard. Even many years later we can find ourselves imprisoned by that fear, believing that we will be attacked like that again. Our egos tell us not to trust other people and even to expect them to attack us again. There's a part of us which lives in the fearful past, sure that it will repeat itself. There's a part of us which wants to adhere to the belief that the painful past can predict a painful future." - Joseph Murphy

"When you (consciously or unconsciously) resent money or cling to your limiting beliefs about money or refuse to participate in making money, it does not serve you, it does not make you more noble, it does not help you or anyone else. What it does is put you on a hunger strike by cutting you off from that which you need not only to survive, but to thrive. By embracing money and getting into the flow, you open yourself up to the abundance that is trying to reach you this very moment." - Jen Sincero

"A good friend understands that you don't kick the wounded when they are down, that when friends collapse, you have to revive them, not pounce on them in anger." - Esther Jungreis

Now that I've worked on my limiting thoughts and behaviors with a decent degree of success, I've decided to make one important experiment also recommended in a number of books I happen to have read in the last few weeks - an experiment to replace my limiting beliefs (as well as limiting people and places) with empowering ones. By limiting beliefs I mean those stories we have invented unconsciously for our survival and "deposited" in our subconscious mind. They stop serving their initial purpose of securing our survival and come to have a powerful negative impact on our thoughts and behaviors such that they can often become self-fulfilling prophesies, which I myself have witnessed again quite recently.

It took me some time to discover these limiting beliefs of mine in my subconscious mind. The first thing I did was to identify those life domains where I've been stuck for quite some time. They are partnership, career, and finance in my case. Then I tried to remember cases of self-fulfilling prophesies in these three areas, which are actually my limiting beliefs there. To my surprise, I could easily detect them, which, I confess here shamelessly, are as follows:

  • Partnership: I attract those women who aren't committed to the relationship they themselves initiated and don't hesitate to end it abruptly when I become inconvenient for them for whatever reason(s).
  • Career: I'm neither appreciated nor admired (enough) by others professionally.
  • Finance: I can neither plan my personal finance nor become wealthy.

Now I'm also fully aware why I had to invent these limiting beliefs in the first two life domains - to ease the pain of traumatic experiences by victimizing myself instead of facing my own problems as the reasons for these experiences.

In the area of partnership my first romantic relationship at the age of 19 was exactly like this, but it was not until I experienced the same trauma with my two ex-girlfriends several years ago that this limiting belief became solidified and unshakable. Recently I've seen right before my eyes that this disempowering belief of mine has become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

I invented the second limiting belief of mine in the area of career after I had two unforgettable traumatic experiences caused by some former students of mine and a few other, no less painful and humiliating, ones by a colleague of mine in public. Here again I continue to see how this belief of mine based on the past events often serves as a self-fulfilling prophesy in the present.

The survival pattern behind the third limiting belief of mine in the area of finance is totally different from those of the first two. My father, born and brought up in poverty, became quite successful professionally, hence also financially, and my schoolmates used to tease me for this seemingly out of jealousy, if not with malice. I gradually but steadily came to feel ashamed of being more affluent than my peers - a typical example of the result of peer-pressure in Japanese society. The next step I took unconsciously, which I'm fully aware of now, was to develop a negative association for money, which in turn made me belief that it's a virtue to be unable to plan my finance and become wealthy myself.

One severe "divine storm" that hit me recently in the first life domain served as a spiritual wake-up call and has made me decide to become aware of my limiting beliefs, first in this area of partnership, then in the other two areas, too, and to replace them with empowering ones to start claiming my power in life. I've come up with the following positive beliefs to replace my original limiting beliefs in the same three life domains:

  • Partnership: I attract my ideal woman, who is, among others, committed to the relationship in both sunny and rainy days.
  • Career: I'm both appreciated and admired (enough) by others professionally.
  • Finance: I can both plan my personal finance and become wealthy.

Naturally, it's not enough to invent these new empowering beliefs. I have to transfer them from my conscious mind to my subconscious mind, and this is the hardest part in this challenging but worthy experiment. Two efficient methods I've found so far are positive self-talk and creative visualization, which I've already started practicing daily (but it will take some time to start seeing the fruit of these mental workouts). Actually, this transformation is nothing but a process of neuroplasticity, or of rewiring my brain.

As a continuation of this fascinating experiment I've also decided to leave limiting people and places. I've already dropped relationships with two old friends of mine after more than 20 years after they started rubbing salt in my wound when I was in a very difficult situation and forcing their narrow-minded opinions upon me, even by yelling at me emotionally, as well as one teacher of mine who showed no compassion for me when I was in the same difficult situation. Interestingly, three of them belong to the same branch of Judaism, which doesn't seem a coincidence to me as I've discovered disempowering elements in its teaching and practice. Another, no less limiting person is even doing me a "favor" of deciding to leave me, preceding me. An interesting thing is taking place there. After I left three limiting people, I got acquainted with three empowering people, who all happen to be hasidim, that is, these limiting people were replaced with empowering new friends without my conscious effort.

What I feel the most liberating step I've decided to take in this whole experiment is leaving, if not immediately, a certain place in both physical and figurative senses of the word that has come to drain my power. Having learned the important lesson of taking action, I've already started taking small sub-steps for this fateful, but hopefully prudent, step of mine by conquering fear of uncertainty. Unlike the limiting beliefs and people I don't have any place to replace this limiting place.


Belated Repentance

One of the books I've read recently about life transformation lists the following ten major life domains:

  • Spiritual: Your connection to God
  • Intellectual: Your engagement with significant ideas
  • Emotional: Your psychological health
  • Physical: Your bodily health
  • Marital: Your spouse or significant other
  • Parental: Your children if you have any
  • Social: Your friends and associates
  • Vocational: Your profession
  • Avocational: Your hobbies and pastime
  • Financial: Your personal or family finances

I've been witnessing my own fundamental life transformation in two of these domains. It all started when a severe "divine storm" struck me out of the blue several months ago in one of these two areas. It wasn't until I received this wake-up call that I fully woke up and took the significant first step of repentance of what I was told the main cause of this storm - my addiction to alcohol and anger outbursts under the influence of alcohol. Before this I tried many times in various ways to stop drinking in vain, but this time I successfully quit immediately and since then I haven't touched alcohol and have been breaking every day my personal record of remaining sober. Unfortunately, this repentance of mine couldn't subdue the storm.

My second (vain) act of repentance was my first serious attempt to alleviate my alleged obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), which, I was told, became the main cause of the storm, through my own self-work and psychotherapy by a new, Hebrew-speaking, psychotherapist as well as through life coaching by myself and a professional Jewish life coach. Thanks to all these efforts my alleged OCPD has subsided significantly, and my new psychotherapist even told me yesterday that in his opinion I don't suffer from OCPD in the first place. Unfortunately, this repentance of mine couldn't subdue the storm, either.

Though I fully understand now that I repented of two of my failures that weren't the true cause of this divine storm, this double repentance has awakened me spiritually and lead me to an unexpected new adventure of my awakened soul. As part of this spiritual awakening I started participating in a weekly lecture by a certain rabbi famous for his Torah knowledge, both theoretical and practical, in this life domain in which something which is holy to me and I've committed myself to is being threatened. The weekly lecture I attended, to which I also brought a new hasidic friend of mine also suffering from a serious problem in the same life domain, though less seriously than I, has awakened me completely to the full realization of the true cause of the storm.

Now I'm fully aware of the fatal mistakes I've made in this life domain. But I don't know how I can repent as these mistakes are, according to this rabbi, unpardonable in the first place, and my repentance from these mistakes doesn't seem to interest or affect the "intermediary" of this devastating divine storm. In short, I'm afraid I woke up too late. So what is left to me is never to forget the important lesson this divine storm has taught me and apply it next time I should have a chance to venture again in this important life domain.


Liberation from Bondage

Just as we are commemorating publicly the Jewish Holiday of Liberation now, I'm witnessing now the start of liberating someone against my will in one important domain of my personal life and liberating myself willingly in another, no less important, one from bond(age).

Though I and this someone whom I'm finding myself liberate against my will now consider this liberation differently (from bond and bondage respectively) and I see more fundamental differences than similarities, I have to admit that this has had a decisive effect on my final decision to liberate myself from what I've come to feel more and more as nothing but bondage. The former, which I consider a kind of "divine storm", has awakened me spiritually and made me question my very life, until I've come to realize so clearly without the shadow of doubt that actually I'm a prisoner in a "cave", which in turn has made me realize quite shockingly that I've been brainwashed to believe this "cave" is the life purpose itself.

Having realized these two things, I've started to see myself and other prisoners of the same "cave" even with compassion as what is nothing but a means seems to be mistaken for the life purpose by them (and even by myself until I recently started to experience spiritual awakening) and decided to leave this "comfort zone" for a spiritually more meaningful life that is also aligned with my new life vision.

The most difficult part in liberating myself from this bondage has been liberating myself from the fear of uncertainty, which seems as strong as gravity pulling a spaceship trying to leave the earth. Though I'm officially still like a satellite in orbit around this "comfortable" planet, I've already started preparing myself for the historic day when I'll leave it in the not distant future.

The power inside myself that has turned out to be much stronger than this gravity pulling me to stay in this "comfort zone" is the growing realization that the riskiest thing in life in general and at this specific crossroads of mine in particular is to take no risk and I'll bitterly regret for the rest of my life, especially on my last day in this specific incarnation of mine, if I take no action now to liberate myself from this bondage.

Having already started to take actions, albeit small ones so far, for this transformation of mine, I feel so liberated and full of joy as I'm finally listening to my heart for a spiritually more meaningful life instead of ignoring and silencing it for fear of uncertainty.