10 Things to help grow beyond limiting beliefs & fear.
April 27, 2019 | RUTH STEEL
It would be ludicrous not to include Yoga which is now a huge part of my lifestyle. My Yoga practice helps me each an every day to continue to be curious with who I am, how I think, speak & act. I find it fascinating how our thoughts affect our abilities to connect to ourselves & others day to day, in this continuing realm of change and how they are directly linked to our self-confidence, beliefs & abilities.
Let’s take an example - Downward Facing Dog. I still remember how hard it felt the first time, how my thoughts tried to convince me that I couldn’t hold it for more than 10 breaths & when the teacher first said it would become a resting pose, wait WHAT, they’ve got to be kidding right!? In the beginning of my practice, my body was capable, but it was my mind I had to convince. Take this same principle into any practice or situation be it, meditation, inversions, applying for a new job, speaking publicly at an event, taking that risk to start up that new business you’ve always wanted to – what ever it is, the same rules apply. If you think you can not do it, then you will not be successful. If you train your mind to believe you can, then you most certainly will. Essentially, you are right either way. Your body has not sense of humour, it believes whatever your mind tells it, so feed it with positive fuel, kind loving words & a shit ton of self-belief!
REPEAT Every Damn Day!
I remember my first trip to Thailand. Fresh faced at 18, chuffed with having spent my hard-earned money on exciting life experiences of the world. Some way along the journey I bought a dairy. I was the joke of my friends, whom of which, several were experienced diary keepers, linguists & writers themselves. You see, this little book I’d bought was no bigger than the palm of my hand, in fact I’d chosen it as a sort of keep-sake, each sustainable sheet, recycled from Elephant dung I believe & it became a memory, perhaps a grocery list type of booklet.
Why am I telling you this?
Well because I like that memory of my friends mocking me, although I’m sure it would have benefitted me hugely to make sacred time to journal. It wasn’t until 10 years later having experienced trauma in an abusive relationship & the death of my mother, that I truly found the benefit of purchasing my first real journal, ‘Letters to Mum’.
There’s an amazing book that I would recommend to anyone experiencing grief called,
Julia explains that journaling is part of the eight pillars of strength a person can create to help with the new reality of living with grief. Without me even knowing, I had started this journal of mine as a tool to express grief & nurture my relationship with my Mother who died.
Who cares if you’re not a writer, even if you don’t feel compelled to start a daily journal now, remember it’s a great option for the future – to get all those jumbled thoughts and feelings onto paper, for your eyes only, to lighten the load on your shoulders and create new room for all those positive thoughts, beliefs & peace that is coming your way.
I first tried wakeboarding the summer of 2014. I had never done anything like it before. I was a strong swimmer with zero water sport experience, many limiting beliefs and a tendency to put myself down. (My inner fat child who was bullied at school never forgets that self-deprecating humour is always an easy way out) But from this point onwards, I didn’t want to feel like that anymore. All of us are our own worst critics & comics but when you put yourself down about absolutely anything, even if others laugh, the only one who loses out is you. So, to hell with it, I thought, I’ll give it my best shot. I face-planted, naturally still plagued with devil on my shoulder doubts, but slowly following many more falls, I started to find my feet - the sea wind blowin’ in my hair, huge smile on my face & a new confidence growing. Who Am I!? This new optimistic & opportunistic chic had some soul searching to do.
Never in a million years did I think I would have the chance let alone be capable of wakeboarding!
When we learn any new skill, sure it’s scary as hell and we might let that get in the way at first or even knock ourselves back with many a relapse of self-doubt. I think the key here is awareness.
No matter what it is that you’re doing, learning or scared of – becoming aware of those thoughts, what they make your body feel like (shakes, ascending heart rate, tingles) is such a huge achievement. Once we are aware, we can start to dig a little deeper and question WHY we feel like that, what is the actual reality of ‘the worst possible outcome’ which our mind tends to exaggerate and most importantly, HOW can we reframe our thoughts to help us learn faster from mistakes, build more courage & self-belief!
In winter 2016 I learned to snowboard. I’d given skiing a shot and managed to break my thumb and nearly send my husband who was so kindly instructing me, hurling down the mountain. It was a difficult time, my Mothers cancer progressing was having a knock-on effect of my confidence, patience & self-belief.
On the one hand I’d learned to wakeboard, they couldn’t be much different right? On the other hand, unable to emotionally handle the falls & bruises externally which would match how I was feeling on the inside at that time.
So, my journey with snowboarding was over a few years and what a difference I now notice when I strap in and prepare curiously connect with whatever thoughts come up. Sure, there’s still doubts when learning something new, there’s still falls but there’s also more self-belief to my skills and a huge amount of help from breathing techniques I have learned in Yoga.
TIP – be patient with yourself. In our minds, bodies & in life we seek to find a balance of Yin & Yang. If you have a highly stressful job, life or are experiencing trauma of any kind, you will be seeking more Yin, peaceful elements to your life & it may not be a good time to learn something new, challenging and more high stress. Come back to it or at least be aware of shifting thought patterns when you feel more at peace & are ready to bring back the balance of that exciting Yang part of life.
In 2018 I learned to skateboard in Mallorca.
Unfortunately, I never saw one girl skate when I was growing up. We would have bikes or scooters, but Avril Lavigne told us explicitly in her noughties hit classic, that he was a skater boy, not skater girl. Fortunately, we’re more progressive it being 2019 and all but still, learning to skateboard at 28 was another one of those things that I never thought would happen. YES, let’s get penny boards and kick things up a notch by taking the dogs walking on them. Standing on a tiny moving board, my mind was going crazy with the worst-case scenario - being tearing up my flesh and wearing the road across my face. Knees trembling, breath held, the force of this limiting belief in my head from Avril and many others was strong!
Truth Bomb! Skateboarding is SO much Fun!
I WISH I’d have learned to skate as a kid, it would have been so much fun, uninhibited, wild child that I was. No doubt I’d have had more options to get around, to enjoy the great outdoors and to break all the rules of being that unconventional skater girl, treading into forbidden territory, seemingly by sex.
Lessons Learned: No activity, practice or skill is limited to a single sex. We as adults, regardless of whether we are parents or not, need to me mindful of what we belief and pass on as an example to all the children in the world who see, listen & replicate our own limiting beliefs.
In 2019 aged 29, I was lucky enough to Surf for the first time in beautiful Bali. With some background in board sports now & lots more experience teaching & practicing Yoga as a mindset and lifestyle, I felt optimistic and enjoyed every second of it.
I went with a friend & fellow warrior goddess I had met out there and we booked an instructor for a 2-hour lesson.
Having learned the basics of pushing up & popping to a sturdy standing position (feeling grateful for the repetition of Chaturanga at this point) we head out to hit the waves.
Let me tell you, that feeling of gliding on top of a wave, is sensational. It turns out that the other skills I had learned in wakeboarding, skating & snowboarding did come in handy!
I picked it up quickly and even managed to start turning in our first lesson!
Of course there are other challenges, like bruises on your hips and ribs (a solid cobra & upward facing dog come in handy here) making sure you don’t get hit on the head with your own surf board & getting caught in many ‘washing machine’ moments which certainly aren’t for the faint hearted or incompetent swimmer.
Lessons Learned: I can do anything I put my mind to, If I can dream it, I can do it, and so can you!
Whilst meditation might seem at the opposite end of the scale from board, snow & water sports. Essentially, the same curious open-mind is needed as well as an abundance of self-belief. I hear so many people say, I can’t Meditate, I can’t sit still for that long, I get bored etc
These people are right, they can’t meditate in that current mindset but that doesn’t mean they can not meditate at all or learn to develop and hone a skill which is very much already within us all.
Remember back to when you were a child, around the time you are learning to walk & talk. Soaking up all the new knowledge like a sponge and forever curious about who you were, what this body of yours could do and not even stopping to think about giving up or saying I can’t.
When we first learn to walk, we fall, a lot! But we don’t give up because the adults all around us are walking so we know it’s possible and we must do what it takes.