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Limited Loop of Beliefs

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 Jackie Bastin

Winter 2015

Breaking the Loop

At the Mind Studio in Amersham we provide our clients with Cognitive Hypnotherapy for a better life. If you think well you live well. We work with our clients’ limiting beliefs to achieve a positive, healthy foundation of unconscious beliefs.

As we approach Christmas and the New Year many of us will be reflecting on the year, the good times and the challenging times. We shall be making promises to ourselves to make changes, give up smoking, go on that long awaited diet, train harder, pay more attention to our loved ones or get out of a situation that is making us miserable, and so on. But how many people are making the same promises as last year and finding that nothing has changed? Why is that?

When you look at the examples above, they are all promises of changing our behaviour so that we can feel better. However, in order to change our behaviour we need to consider where our behaviour manifests from. Let’s look at an example:

Mavis is putting up the Christmas tree, as she reaches out to put the last bauble on she is startled by a spider running out from under the tree, she feels fear, screams and leaps off the chair (behaviour), pulling the tree down on top of the cat! Once the cat has recovered and Mavis calms down she berates herself, tells herself how stupid she was and promises that next time she sees a spider she will behave more rationally. Guess what, nothing changes! Let’s look at this unwanted behaviour, for Mavis to feel her fear she is attaching a meaning to the spider. She has an unconscious belief that the spider = danger and as a result of this belief she has an emotional response of fear, which gives rise to her behaviour of screaming and running away. So why can’t she update this belief to something more rational so that she can respond better in the future? The reason is that her particular belief is a limiting belief.

So why can we change some beliefs and not others? The answer is all to do with survival. As young children our unconscious mind has an important role to play in determining our threats, protecting us and ensuring that we get the love and nurture required to survive. Moment by moment it is filtering information, applying cause and effect in order to gather the data required so it can navigate us through life safely. If any belief formed has a positive intention then no matter how negative the behaviour and emotions it generates, it will remain closed to reprogramming.

Let’s look at the opposite of a limited belief, an open belief, one that can be easily updated and modified with new information, experience and awareness.

I believe in Father Christmas…..

When I was 5 years old this was an open belief of mine, I had learnt that this was a good thing to believe in order to get presents under the tree. I could not ever imagine changing my belief and it felt like absolute truth. Over the years I gained new insight, knowledge and awareness, which I applied to this belief and it was modified bit by bit until now at the age of 52, the belief has dissolved completely. (I still get presents under the tree though!)

It was not necessary for me to continue to believe in Father Christmas in order to survive in the world and therefore the belief I formed remained open to change and modification. There are many things that we used to believe and no longer do and things that we now believe that we did not use to. However, there are also many things that we still believe as adults, beliefs that were formed as young children and that we struggle to update and change, despite what we now know and these are our limiting beliefs. But why limiting?

The Three Limitations

The first limitation…. At the point at which the belief was formed the unconscious mind was limited in its’ ability to interpret the situation accurately. As the young minds of children are developing, they are limited in their ability to rationalise and perceive situations. Their unconscious mind is filtering information but those filters are immature and beliefs are formed based on the limited amount of information that could be applied at that time. If at the moment at which the belief was formed, the child experienced an intense negative emotion, such as fear or pain, this will also limit the filters of the unconscious mind, leading to an incorrect assessment of the cause and effect. Mavis will have had an experience involving a spider at some point in the past. At this point her unconscious mind was limited in its’ ability to make a rational assessment of what the spider meant, therefore a limited belief was formed.

The second limitation…. As a result of the limiting belief the ensuing behaviour and emotional response continues to limit our lives. Mavis’s life becomes limited by her limiting belief about spiders; she cannot go in to dark dusty places where she thinks spiders may be, she cannot go on holiday to countries where she may come across spiders, she embarrasses herself in many situations due to her irrational emotional response and her behaviour around spiders and even the cat suffers!

The third limitation…. We are limited in our ability to update the belief and apply new insight and awareness in order to modify our behaviour and emotional response. Remember that limiting beliefs are to do with survival. As the spider now represents a threat to Mavis, to help her survive and protect her, her unconscious mind will have closed this belief off to new interpretation. The unconscious will only filter in information that consolidates the belief and will filter out anything that contradicts it. Therefore, no matter what Mavis now wants to believe, she is limited in her own ability to update this belief. This in turn can lead to a new limiting belief being formed….

I am stupid
I am stuck the way I am
Change is not possible

.. and so the limited loop is formed and we keep on doing what we have done before and keep on feeling the way we used to feel. Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapists have the knowledge and skills to identify and open up what would otherwise be closed limiting beliefs, allowing the insight, knowledge and awareness to be programmed in at the unconscious level. The new re-programmed beliefs can then give rise to the changes you want in behaviour, emotional response and identity. We can give our clients something truly magical for Christmas through the power of Cognitive Hypnotherapy. So now review your year once more, ask yourself, which limiting beliefs would you like to change for a positive New Year?