We hear so much about the importance of identifying our negative, limiting beliefs. But we rarely talk about what to do after you find a negative belief. In truth, being aware of your negative beliefs doesn't always make them disappear.
After months of doing some pretty intense shadow work to uncover my negative beliefs, I came to a bummer of a realization - I had simply gained awareness - that's it. I had hoped that by uncovering the beliefs, they would stop influencing me - but that wasn't always the case.
In a sense, this can feel even worse than not knowing your negative beliefs - Ignorance is bliss, right? It's like, "Crap, now I know all my awful limiting beliefs and I STILL feel controlled by them." In this stage, we can become what I call the "neurotic therapists" of the world - We know everything about what's wrong and nothing about how to change it.
So here I'm gonna list some things you can do AFTER you've recognized a negative belief, so that you can actually move on from it.
1. Interrupt the Neural Pathway
Neuroscientists have discovered that (in layman's terms), we have certain neural pathways in the brain that are familiar to us. This is simply because we've thought about those things so many times. For example, you no longer need to use your GPS to get to work - Your brain can get you there - It's basically on autopilot because going to that location is the norm for you. The same goes for negative beliefs and thought patterns - The more often we activate them, the more activated they stay.
So going forward, each time you slip into a negative thought pattern and you know what beliefs lie beneath it, remind yourself in that moment that the belief is not necessarily true. Take a step back and say, "Ok, we know where this is going. I do not have to act according to this belief being true, because I know it's probably not." This continuous interruption of the negative belief creates a NEW neural pathway - a tendency to question the negative belief. This alone is great progress.
It may not seem like a big, heroic leap, but it is. This is the not-so-glamorous work of truly changing a belief pattern. Don't worry about getting RID of the belief. Instead, repetition is gold - steadily step away from the belief over time.
2. Ask a Better Question
"What would I do IF I didn't believe this negative thing about myself/my life?"
This is a hugely powerful question because:
A. You can ask this question even while still 'stuck' in a negative belief. Answer the question hypothetically.
B. It gives you insight into what you'd be doing/thinking/feeling/saying if you didn't have the negative belief.
From here, if you're comfortable enough, you can actually follow through and do/think/feel/say whatever you would if you didn't have the negative belief. This process can help you create a new behavior pattern. Again, this is big progress!
3. Step Toward the New
Not surprisingly, it can be easier to release (not get rid of - release!) a negative belief if there is something more fulfilling and exciting to move toward. So if it feels right, imagine a new belief you'd like to have and consider actions you can take to make it your reality.
Now, keep in mind that replacing your negative belief with its exact opposite, positive belief may be too stressful. There may be too much resistance to such a big jump. It may seem far-fetched.
For example, if you believe, "I can't make money easily," it might be too big of a jump to switch to, "I can make money any way I want!" Based on your current thought pattern with money, this is too far from your norm. But if a belief like, "I can turn my hobby into a sidegig" seems plausible and exciting, start practicing that belief.
Don't focus on strictly replacing the negative belief with its opposite. Just choose something exciting and more positive, even if it doesn't seem directly related to the negative belief. The simple fact that you've shifted your attention to creating a new, positive neural pathway in itself is enough.
4. Enjoy the Belief
Yeppp, I'm goin there. The hardest thing about our negative beliefs is our resistance to them. Negative beliefs make us feel powerless, out of control, and like our lives are dictated by a negative fate.
So if all else fails, consider this: What would knock the power right out of your negative belief? What would obliterate your resistance to having this belief? Answer: If it had no negative impact! If it were inconsequential.
So if you can truly get into a state of mind - through meditation or any other practice - where you don't mind your negative belief, it loses it's power over you. That's the paradox. It literally stops having such a negative effect when you lose interest in hating it. (Bonus: if you can see the value in the belief, see what it taught you, and genuinely learn to appreciate that teaching. THIS is when you access your real power.)
Negative beliefs, in reality, are neutral beliefs. They have no innate meaning in nature, and they have no innate meaning about you. They are
creations of the human mind. The only thing that makes a belief negative is when it begins to stand in the way of what you want or cause degradation in some way.
So come back to your sovereignty - Your negative beliefs don't need to be gotten rid of. They can only be released when you are ready, in favor of a belief that is more useful to you personally. You're the creator, not the victim.