Personal Development

Dream BIG: Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

“I wish I could…”

“That would be nice, BUT…”

“If only…”

“Someday…maybe…when we win the lottery (insert half-hearted chuckles here)”

How many times have phrases like these crossed your lips? How many times have you had a glimpse, thought or vision of the future that you wanted, only to stop yourself short, back yourself down and remind yourself that your dreams, wishes and hopes are probably only pipe dreams? How many times has this left you chuckling on the outside, but crushed on the inside?

Well STOP IT.

I am here to tell you that it is OKAY to DREAM BIG.

If you are like most people, you have probably been told at some point in your life by someone, or many someones, that you…

“Need to be realistic” “Need to live in the real world” “Need to do XYZ to be successful” “Need to stop daydreaming” or any other variation of these gems that, as time marches forward, tend to grab hold of our little kid ankles and drag us back down to earth, planting us firmly on the ground of expectation, duty, and practicality. This is fine. There is nothing wrong with reality or practicality. These are the things that keep us grounded and move us forward. The problem lies in the fact that somewhere, behind all of that, in the recesses of our minds, lies that realm of dreams and wishes and hopes, and over time it builds into a vast city of untapped potential just waiting to burst out. We forget how to allow ourselves to dream and imagine. We shoot ideas down before they are even formed, in favor of the sure thing. We are afraid. We are doubtful. Once in a while, those dreams rear their heads and that’s when we come at them with the “I wish”es and the “Yeah, right…in my dreams” commentary. Maybe you go a step further…maybe you will even entertain a dream, but at the end of the day, you stop yourself from taking action because you convince yourself it’s just too risky.

This is where I stand on my chair and yell: POPPYCOCK!!!! (Mostly just because I like to say poppycock).

I am here today to tell you: DREAM BIG.

It’s okay. It’s alright. I officially give you permission to give yourself permission to DREAM BIG. Yes…I will keep doing that annoying blog thing of writing a phrase in all caps, because it’s THAT IMPORTANT (okay, I’ll stop now).

In all honesty, though, and getting back to the point: You need to get back to that place where you allow yourself to dream without limits…where you imagine what life could be like, what you could do for a living, what you could accomplish, who you could connect with, where you could go, what you could do with your money, what you could give to others…without interrupting yourself (after all, it’s rude to interrupt). You need to do this in a big way. You need to do this unapologetically. You need to do this daily. Now, I’m not saying it’s okay to completely check out of life and become a daydreaming potato. You need to take action to turn those “coulds” into “cans” and “wills” and “ams”…but that’s another post for another day.

Today…I want you to focus on realizing that the only thing limiting you is YOU.

Realize that the only one keeping you from achieving your dreams is YOU. The walls you’ve built up. The self-doubt. The self-limitation. The “reality checks”. It all leads to:

  • Dreaming SMALL
  • Interrupting your dreams
  • Not taking action toward achieving your dream

Allow yourself, instead to think “What if there were nothing holding me back?” Because, in reality…there isn’t. I know, right about now, you are all sitting there immediately thinking of 100+ reasons to argue me on this point; most of which include finances, family obligation, work, etc…that’s fine, but those are self-limiting beliefs. The WHOLE POINT of this point is to learn how to dream WITHOUT self-limiting.

Even if you 100 percent think that you will never achieve a particular dream…even if you think there is NO WAY…let yourself envision it anyway. Dream it anyway. ALLOW yourself to DREAM it.

So, why the focus on dreaming? Wishing? Hoping? Why am I encouraging you to dream without limits? What is the purpose of picturing an ideal, optimal situation? Because: that is the FIRST step in making those dreams a reality. If you can’t dream it, you can’t do it and if you won’t dream it, you won’t do it. Simple as that.

If you truly WANT those dreams, you WILL dream them. You will allow yourself to dream, and dream as big as you possibly can, because any reality exists FIRST in the mind.

I want you to do this exercise with me (I promise it doesn’t involve crunches or numbers).  If at any point during this exercise you notice yourself imposing a self-limiting belief, statement or mindset, just tell yourself “poppycock!” (again, just because it’s fun…and feel free to add a Victorian English flourish to it):

Take a deep breath. Open your mind and allow yourself to visualize what life would be like if:

  • You are experiencing optimal health: mind, body and spirit (what would your body feel like, what would your mind feel like, how would your energy be, what could you physically do?)
  • You are working doing what you LOVE (Where are you, what are you doing, who are you working with, are you creating and what are you creating, are you helping and who are you helping, who are you influencing, what are you changing?)
  • You have financial freedom (What can you afford to do, where can you afford to go, what can you pay off, how does it feel?)
  • You have time (What can you now fit into your schedule, What hobbies can you adopt, what can you do for yourself, what can you  do for others?)
  • You have the knowledge and confidence you need (how do you feel, what do you know, how did you find it or figure it out, what does this change, how do people see you?)
  • You are connected to others in the way you want to be connected (What does this look like for you, who are you connected to, how are you connected, how deep is your connection, how do you make others feel and how do they make you feel, what are your relationships like, do you have more or less connections, how do these connections support you?)
  • You have no obstacles (What has been removed from your life, what have you let go of, what have you stopped resisting, what walls have you torn down)

As you do this…do it sensually: What things do you see? What do you hear? What and who is around you? Where are you? What do you smell and taste? What are you doing? What are people saying? How do you feel?

Okay, so be honest: How many times did you have to say poppycock? I would put money on at least once. It’s hard to let your mind open up and think this way, especially if you have spent years practicing the “shut up and stand in line” dance.

Now do this:

  • What self-limiting belief made you shout “poppycock” just now? (I could never earn enough money to do that, I don’t have enough money, I don’t have enough time, I’m too busy, I need a real job, I’m not talented enough, I’m too old for that, I am too shy, I don’t know enough…etc…etc…etc…)
  • Hold onto that belief and envision your life a year from now…is your life the same? Different? How so? Are you happier or less happy? Any closer to your dreams? Have you given up on them all together?
  • Now remove that belief…imagine your life if you took that hurdle away…what would be possible if you had enough money/time/confidence/knowledge/etc…What does your life look like now? How does it feel?

Just in the past few years, I, myself, have taken the difficult road out of self-limitation town. For as long as I can remember, I had a dream to work in holistic health, to be my own boss, to own my own business, to travel and see the world, to do all of this while having a family. I spent many a frustrating year pushing my square self into a round world, trying to blend my tie-dyed wool into a sea of black and white. Then someone said something to be that really hit home. I don’t remember the exact phrase that was said, but it amounted to something like this:

We are given ambitions, dreams and a purpose in this life. We are born with it. It eats us alive until we do it. The funny thing is, though, that the purpose isn’t for US, it’s for the WORLD. We were given the particular drive that we were given because we are the best person for the job…but truthfully, it doesn’t HAVE to be you that accomplishes the purpose. So you have to decide…how much do you want that dream…because the harsh reality is…if you don’t want it, if you don’t take it…it will be given to someone else who wants it more.

That conversation changed my life. Since then, I have allowed myself to dream bigger than I ever have in my life. I have envisioned my life as I saw fit. I have woken up to the real me and let go of the person I tried to construct for others. In the past few years I have achieved some of the smaller dreams I have dreamed…dreams that I never thought would come true. Dreams that, at the time, I considered BIG dreams. Dreams that I limited myself into believing would never happen…and they HAVE. Now, I’m looking to the future with even bigger dreams…and I have NO doubt I will reach them.

How much do you want those dreams inside your head? What do you lie away at night wishing for? What do you pray for? What do you hope for? What are the deepest desires of your heart? DREAM THEM. Dream them every single day. Envision them. Put them in the front of your mind. This is the first step…

Go ahead…allow yourself to DREAM BIG.

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