What do you see here? Are the orchids bursting out of their jail-like window, free at last? Or are they held back by the bars, unable to experience anything more than a fleeting glimpse of freedom? What you see in the world is guided by your beliefs – and many of them are limiting beliefs.
In fact this whole image is an illusion. It was constructed from two separate photos: one of the orchids I found in a hotel lobby, and the other of a street level window along an interesting graffiti –filled lane I visited one day. The marriage of the two photos took place in Photoshop. I erased the background around the orchid photo, and copied it into the window image, manipulating the layers so that it looked like the flowers were peeking out from behind the bars. Once this was done, I played with the lighting, so that the two parts of the image looked like they blended more naturally and belonged together. The result is what you see above: a believable image created entirely by my imagination
Do you do that in your life?
Do you create images of the future or memories of the past that are figments of your imagination? Believable, but not true? What are the bars in your life? Are you putting yourself in a jail that isn’t really there? Here are some techniques for getting out of jail free.
Identify your limiting beliefs.
These are the bars in front of you. These are the beliefs or reasons underlying your behavior or situation you find yourself in. You assume they’re factual, and uncontestable. Most often, they come from something in the past that you misinterpreted, and your inner child keeps alive. Other times, a limiting belief comes from a “should” that someone taught you that in fact is his/her limiting belief that you don’t have to buy into.
How do you identify your limiting beliefs?
Start by stating an issue in your life that troubles you or something you’d like to do that you’re not doing. It could be “I know I should exercise more” or “I wish I could go to that belly dancing class”. Then continue the sentence with, “but… and fill in the answer. That’s your start. Now dig deeper and continue with “because….” as many times as is necessary to get at what the real limitation is. Respect the fears and insecurities that come out of this. Listen compassionately and allow your inner child to talk.
Take out your dream team.
What you’ve done so far is identify your jail bars, so now you can start dealing with them. What if it weren’t true? What would your world look like? Now is the time to imagine, to visualize and to dream. Identify very clearly what you really do want. If it’s really big, you don’t have to do it all at once – you can break it down into smaller, doable dreams.
Put on your producer hat.
Get practical. How could you make this happen? Don’t say can’t. Put away your inner critic and your inner child. Stop dreaming as well. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and make plans. Make it happen! If it were someone else, not you that you were planning for, what would you tell them? Plan realistic, doable steps.
Yes, this is the hardest step, but the most important. Make a commitment to follow your plan. Get past the barriers of limiting beliefs. It may feel safer behind the bars, but is safe all you want out of life?