Hello magical souls and welcome to another episode of The Soul’s Human Experience Podcast.
In today’s show I want to talk about limiting beliefs, or ego stories. Which are all those thoughts and narratives in your head that don’t serve you. We’ll discuss what they are, the impact they have on you, and if you want to know how to get rid of them be sure to stick around until the end of the episode because I’m going to be sharing with you my favorite way to eliminate limiting beliefs where you can follow along and try it for yourself. Let’s get into it.
What are limiting beliefs or ego stories? First of all, your ego-the voice in your head-CAN be thought of as a companion. There’s a lot of talk about ego death and the idea that the ego must be killed or suppressed in order to overcome it. Why would we want to overcome it? Well, it does have quite a bad reputation and maybe rightfully so, for feeding you an often constant stream of negative thoughts. In my book, The Soul’s Human Experience, I compare the ego to that one person around the campfire or at the sleepover who wants to tell scary stories but no one else wants to hear them, but it can’t help itself and does it anyway. And you’re like la la la I’m trying not to listen but I can still hear you, and then those stories are also heard by the subconscious mind and if repeated enough times, well now that scary story has imprinted in your brain, affecting you emotionally and maybe even physically as it manifests in your life. So it’s pretty easy to see why our ego is generally thought of as an enemy and not a friend. It’s also responsible for defining a sense of personal identity, as in a separate entity—a separate sense of self. That’s a double-edged sword because there’s a good side and a not-as-good side to it. The good side is your individuality as a person. Your preferences, style, and opinions, are all unique expressions of you—thanks to your ego! The downside to the individual sense of self is separateness. Feeling separated, meaning separated from oneness—oneness with the universe and everyone and everything in it—is pretty much the cause of all suffering, in a nutshell. This is very present and reinforced in society as well. The pressure to stand out from the crowd, you know, what makes you different from everyone else? I love something Brene Brown wrote in her recent book Atlas of The Heart, it was something to the effect of we all want to stand out while still fitting in. So we have this idea of oneness, yet being an individuated piece of that oneness, and the ego fits in nicely to that part. And on the very ego end of the spectrum, the feelings of separateness, we find pain. And that’s because feeling separate from others or our greater power leads us to comparison and judgment of ourselves and others, worry, sadness, and fear. Really all of those are different manifestations of fear, but those are all likely going to cause you some level of pain. And that is thanks to the ego’s need to feel different and independent. It’s not your fault, it just comes with the territory of being a human. And when we can recognize that, then we can take a step back and offer ourselves compassion.
Honestly, I personally think it is entirely unhelpful advice to try and eliminate your ego, because as long as you are alive, you will have an ego, period. So constantly putting energy behind trying to eliminate something that will never go away is a fruitless endeavor. You might be thinking, ok but what about people who have become enlightened? They don’t have an ego. If they are still in a living human body, they still have an ego. The difference is they’ve just trained it in such a way that it isn’t reactive in the same way that it often is for the average person. And when I think of people with highly highly trained egos, I can’t help but wonder if they are suppressing part of their humanness that they’re supposed to be experiencing. That’s their choice of course and I respect it but I think the ego is such an integral part of what makes this human experience what it is, that life would be a lot less exciting without it. Sure, there would be less pain, but it would also mean less fun, because it would just always kind of be one more or less flat level of feeling or presence. I believe we’re here to experience the highs and lows and have a whole spectrum of emotions to feel and of course there are infinite situations- challenges and joys here for us.
If you’ve ever listened to Abraham Hicks, you may have heard that they say a belief is a just a thought you keep thinking. When you have your ego spewing scary thoughts over and over, then it becomes a belief-something you hold to be true. Typically limiting beliefs revolve around several general themes of which I would say the most common are around money, worthiness, relationships, career, and success, and some examples of how those might manifest more specifically could look something like: I am unworthy or not good enough, money is limited, hard to come by, and I don’t have enough of it, I am unlovable or undeserving of love, I’ll never have the career or relationship I want, everything is difficult for me, or I’ll never be successful or achieve my goals and dreams. Like I said, those are just a few of the most common and everyone’s limiting beliefs are going to vary by the human experience that you’ve had. Which brings me to where limiting beliefs come from in the first place. Up until about the age of eight, your subconscious mind is pretty much your only mind. And the subconscious mind doesn’t understand logic, which means it takes everything as truth. Which makes sense if you stop to consider your limiting beliefs, or fears, and especially when it comes to phobias. These all come from the subconscious mind and often they don’t make any sense. I’ve watched Colleen Ballinger’s youtube videos for years and she has a phobia of the stickers on fruit. I would love to do a session with her and dive into that one. Anyway, so as a kid, everything you hear and are told goes straight to your subconscious mind and imprints as truth. The collection of those imprints becomes your programming. One of my mentors, Ali Campbel, has a really great analogy of a cell phone to explain this. So when you’re born, you’re like a brand new cell phone. You’ve got the most basic apps pre-installed so that you can perform your basic human functions. Then, over time, in the first 8-ish years of your life, you receive these imprints or programming which is like installing an app on your phone. For example, say you’re 7 and another kid at school makes fun of your food at lunch. I’m using that example because that was one of mine. My feelings were hurt and I thought there must be something wrong with me, it got downloaded and installed as an app. So you can see how the analogy works right? You start collecting all these apps the first decade of your life, and that’s not to say all of them are bad, there’s good imprinting and programming too. Like if someone said you were really smart and that created an app or belief that you are a smart person. But I don’t think there’s a person on this earth, who hasn’t had some kind of negative imprinting. It’s near impossible just because of the nature of this world. Humans are imperfect beings. So even IF you had the most loving and supportive home, school, or friends, or other outside influences open up a whole space of possibility to receive programming. Everyone has had stuff that has impacted them. And at some point, often many many years later as adults, many of us realize we are running apps or beliefs that don’t serve us. Some can be very detrimental. It’s tricky because what we believe becomes our reality. If you believe that you are unworthy of money for example, that is the reality you’re going to experience-one without money or not much of it.
The good news is that your limiting beliefs, ego stories, fears, and phobias, do not have to be permanent. If we take the cell phone analogy again, at any time you can go into settings and wipe your whole phone. One tap and it’s back to the default, factory settings. You could do that with your beliefs too, it’s possible, but I think it’s important to preserve the positive and empowering ones, you probably don’t want to delete those. But you can go in and select one by one which ones to get rid of. The question is then, how do you do that? How to delete the unworthiness app, the “I’m not as good as” app, and so on. There are many approaches to working with limiting beliefs. If you are new to this kind of work, and maybe you’re just starting to identify what yours are, then a really good starting point is simple reframing journaling. And what you would do is list out all of your limiting beliefs that you can identify. Then next to them, write either the opposite or what you would rather believe. So if we take the example again of feeling unworthy of having money. You would first write the belief in your own words in the way that it shows up for you. That could be money is evil, I’ll never be wealthy, I don’t deserve money, however it specifically shows up for you, what is the story, the repeating narrative that you hear in your mind about the specific belief? That is what you want to write down. Then, on the opposite side of the page, you would write the opposite or what you would rather believe. So instead of money is evil, maybe it’s money is a neutral energy that can do good in the world. It’s important that what you write in this step feels aligned for you. Because if it doesn’t then it’s going to be difficult to get your mind on board with it. If you don’t feel aligned with what you’d rather believe, then you can preface it by writing I am open to the idea, or I see it might be possible that…money is a neutral energy that can do good in the world. If instead, you wrote I believe I’m a billionaire, neither your conscious mind nor subconscious mind is going to buy into that. Your body might not either. Pay attention to the physical responses you have writing these. If you twitch or energetically cringe or slightly shudder at the thought, that’s a sign of resistance and a good way to know which ones are particularly triggering to you.
If you are already well aware of your beliefs and you want to go a level deeper, then I highly recommend either Hypnosis, EFT, NLP, or a combination of those. In hypnosis, you’re talking directly to the subconscious mind and therefore going straight into the settings for change at the source. It’s super effective, can be used for tons of different things, and has been approved by the american medical association since 1959, but it’s probably the least accessible method of these three methods because i think for the most optimal results it’s best to work 1:1 with a hypnotherapist. Earlier this year I took a hypnotherapy course partly because of that, I wanted to learn self-hypnosis, and so I do self-hypnosis on myself now regularly and I think it’s such a fantastic tool if hypnosis is something you feel called to try. You can also find plenty of free hypnosis sessions on youtube. Another modality is EFT, or emotional freedom technique, or simply known as tapping. And all it is, is tapping on specific meridian points of the body while saying how you feel, what you’d rather feel, etc. And it’s a way of moving stuck energy in the body to get it out. I love tapping because I think it’s the most accessible of these three methods. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and you don’t need a practitioner to do it. Of course that can help, or you can find lots of great tapping videos on youtube as well, but you can also totally diy. It took me a while to get into tapping but it has really grown on me and I think it’s phenomenal. I was first introduced to it years ago by another reiki master who swears by it as part of energy practice and at the time I was more interested in Reiki so it didn’t really resonate with me at the time, but I kept trying it here and there and now it’s one of my go-tos in my toolbelt of practices. Brad Yates on Youtube is phenomenal and he has a tapping video for pretty much anything you could think of. Lastly is NLP, and if you’ve seen any of my TikToks on NLP or visited my coaching page of my website, then you already know this is my favorite method. Definitely go watch my NLP tiktoks if you haven’t seen them. NLP stands for neuro linguistic programming and in the future I’ll do a dedicated episode all about NLP so I won’t go too much into here. But basically, it’s a method of producing a response based on the information your mind takes in from your five senses. So if in the past you produced a negative response to a negative experience and that has since become a limiting belief, NLP can actually go in and produce a different response. It is seriously so cool. Like you can remove the negative emotion attached to a past painful memory. I did this with the memory I mentioned earlier where another kid made fun of my lunch, and now when I think about it I can no longer access the sadness that was attached to it. The emotion is the glue that keeps the limiting belief stuck, so when you remove the emotion, the belief falls away. This honestly blew my mind when I learned about it and I learned about it by accident because I was more interested in learning hypnosis, but they sort of overlap in a way so therefore I was led to it. But there are no accidents so there you go.
I thought it would be fun to do a little NLP follow along and you could try it for yourself. Just a disclaimer you will need to close your eyes for this and I also recommend being somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed, so come back to this later and try it if you aren’t able to do it now. First I’d like you to identify one of your limiting beliefs. And please practice discretion when choosing, please don’t choose a level ten trauma because that might not be appropriate and I have no way of knowing that from here. So choose something that’s around a level 6 or 7 for you. And if it’s safe for you to do so, once you’ve got it, close your eyes. Hear this limiting belief playing in your head, go ahead and let it play. And just notice if you see any images associated with this belief. Perhaps memory flashbacks, or single images, and if there’s any feelings attached to it that you can feel in your body. If there are any images in your mind’s eye, go ahead and turn them black and white. Then see them getting hazy, pixelated, and shrinking. Shrinking until they’re the size of a stamp. Then go ahead and turn down the volume of the belief that’s playing until you can’t hear it anymore. Silence, stamp-sized blurry black and white images, and if there’s any feelings in the body just pop them right out in front of you now. See them fall to the floor and get sucked into the earth to be recycled into goodness. Go ahead and give yourself a big hug, and with your arms squeezing yourself tightly take a deep breath. Maybe even let a smile come across your face. And then open your eyes. Notice what rating you have now versus starting with a 6 or 7. There is no right or wrong answer but hopefully you’re feeling a bit lighter.
So that is a brief intro to NLP. And I want to end this episode with this question, what would you do if you no longer had limiting beliefs? How would your life be different? Where would you go, what would you do, how would you act, what would you have? Just some food for thought on the impact that working on your beliefs can have. I’d encourage you to reflect on that and maybe journal about it. Try rewriting your stories, go to youtube for hypnosis and eft, come back to this episode for quick nlp, or check out my website for personalized sessions, annaschlinghoff.com. I hope this has served you in some way, and if it has I would be so grateful if you left a review for the show. This episode will also go live in the initial launch of the podcast so as I said in the last episode I would love to answer your questions, offer you guidance, or if you have a story you’d like to share related to one of the episodes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see you in the next episode.