Friday Philosophy: Self Limiting Beliefs

I’d like to introduce a new regular feature in the blog:

Today I want to talk about the thing that most holds us back from success – ourselves.

No, I’m not gonna go all Gala on you (great as she is) and tell you that anything in the entire universe you want, just tell the universe and it’ll serve it right up. Cosmic Room Service, life aint.

However, it IS still true that the thing that most limits you in this life, is you.

I was watching Any Dream Will Do last night (male singers vying for the part of Joseph in the next Andrew Lloyd Webber production in the West End), and realised what a wondrous thing it its to really want something, so much that you go balls-out all-out for it.

How often do we not acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we want something really bad. Because to acknowledge it, might:
– make us bad people (in our minds),
– jinx it,
– open ourselves to hurt or embarrassment or the thing we most fear (which differs for each of us).

How wonderful to want something so much that you expose yourself even to being hurt, in order to achieve it. THAT is being human, and overcoming your fears, even moreso.

Wanting something badly is OK – if you are willing to put the hard work in to achieve it. (Setting aside things which are immoral or unethical in and of themselves).  But I, most often, fail to allow myself to acknowledge what I really want, and therefore, I do not achieve it.

We humans put ourselves in boxes far more captivating (in a bad sense) than any prison made by others. What self-devised dungeon do you keep yourself locked in? In what way do you keep “shooting yourself in the foot” so that success always eludes you, because the game you play in your head impels you?

20 years ago I started studying Transactional Analysis and Gestalt Therapy, and they taught me a lot about how I myself work, as well as how others work and interrelate. Life scripts, games, injunctions…it all made so much sense.

TA identifies twelve key injunctions which people commonly build into their scripts. These are injunctions in the sense of being powerful “I can’t/mustn’t …” messages that embed into a child’s belief and life-script:* Don’t be (don’t exist)
* Don’t be who you are
* Don’t be a child
* Don’t grow up
* Don’t make it in your life
* Don’t do anything!
* Don’t be important
* Don’t belong
* Don’t be close
* Don’t be well (don’t be sane!)
* Don’t think
* Don’t feel.

 In addition there is the so-called episcript:
“You should (or deserve to) have this happen in your life, so it doesn’t have to happen to me.” (Magical thinking on the part of the parent/s)
Against these, a child is often told other things he or she must do. There is debate as to whether there are five or six of these ‘drivers’:

* Please (me/others)!
* Be perfect!
* Be Strong!
* Try Hard!
* Hurry Up!
* Be Careful! (is in dispute)

Thus in creating his script, a child will often attempt to juggle these, example: “It’s okay for me to go on living (ignore don’t exist) so long as I try hard”.
It was insightful and freeing, and I wished I’d kept up with the TA counselling sessions because I’d probably be farther down the path of my evolution if I had.

Question: which of the above injunctions and drivers resonate with you? It’s worth spending some time on this.

I italicised some of the ones most powerful for me. If I am a people pleaser, and think that I should not be important…how will I ever allow myself to be successful? If even opening up a Facebook page or a Formspring for my blog terrifies me, because it means I’m an awful person who wants fame, what hope do I have, unless I determine to overcome my script?

Some books that opened my eyes about life and people, that I’d like to recommend:

This book demands a post all on its own, one day. It changed my life. Sections on discipline of the self, love & grace just blew my mind. It opens with the statement:
“Life wasn’t meant to be easy. Only once we accept this fact, can we do something about it”, or words to that effect.

Taking responsibility for our problems is perhaps the most difficult. Only by accepting the fact that we have problems can we solve them. An attitude of ‘It’s not my problem!’ will not take us anywhere.

You are all you’ve got!

I’m not going to say ‘be all you can be’, because I acknowledge there are great stumbling blocks in the way for each of us. But why not be, as Grinspoon says, ‘More Than You Are now’?


What are the books or concepts that you’ve found most enlightening in your path to growth? Recommend to me some of your favourite books or sites, as I have shared with you.

The other sizeism

There was a bit of a hubbub yesterday about Fashion Hayley’s post and her comparing size-ism to homophobia, racism and sexism.

I don’t think I need to point out that it’s not the same at all.  While she asked someone on twitter: “have you ever been kicked because of your size?” I had to stop myself typing: “have you ever been KILLED because you were queer, a female, or the wrong race?”   People are still being murdered around the world for these other things…but I’ll move on.

What really gets my goat is a different type of size-ism. How is it now that we can have large models, but we still can’t have short but perfectly proportioned petite ones? 

So, America’s Next Top Model was thinking about casting models under 5’7″ – pffft!! well that’s only a slight come down from those who are 6ft. What about those of us who are only 5’1″ or 5’2″ (ie 155 -157 cm for the rest of the world who know metric)

You can only be really short and model if you’re already famous first – hello Lily Allen.

Or Kelly Osbourne (5’3″) who looks great btw – ok she did slim down a lot first (which just goes to show if you want something badly enough…) but she’d never get on the catwalk if she wasn’t a celeb.
There are so many gorgeous petite women who are healthy, have killer curves in the right places…and can’t even get print modelling because of being so short.
And unlike some other size issues, there is not one damn thing a short person can do to change their height, apart from adding a few inches with platforms or stilletos.
THAT’s what gets MY goat. It’s never gonna change (and I was never fit/pretty enough to be a model anyway 🙂
Off to the hairdressers now, because that is one thing I CAN change – my hair colour. And I frequently do 😉

Look back in love

Instead of my usual fashion or travel related posts, I wanted to share a moment I had the other night.

I was at the Spandau Ballet gig in Sydney with my husband. Now, Spandau Ballet last played in Australia 25 years ago, when we were all way younger and prettier. As I watched one particular song, where they played the accompanying clip from all those years ago, I saw how gorgeous they all were, and how time has ravaged them all to some extent. But Tony Hadley’s voice still soared and was better than ever, and they all played so well.

It was a bittersweet reminder that while we all grow and mature internally (and that’s the good thing about getting older), none of us can escape our external features submitting to gravity and age.

But it was when “True” came on that I teared up. Yes, it was partly because I loved the song so much when I was young, and have never seen it played live before.

The big reason I cried though was that I found myself looking back at the 20 year old girl I was back then, riddled with insecurities, unhappy living at home, unsure how her life would go or if she would ever find love.

I looked back as an older sister to my younger self, put my arm around her and said,
“See?  It all worked out”.

How lovely it would have been to have known then what I know now.

I showed myself the wonderful life I would have 25 years from thence: the gorgeous, fantastic husband who loves me to bits, the top friends, the great apartment in a cool neighbourhood, the well-paying job, the creative pursuits, the awesome wardrobe of clothes and shoes, the frequent travelling, my health…everything that adds up to my life being so fulfilling.

It was a moment of great gravity, and of joy.

It all worked out in the end. Your life turned out better than you could have hoped or dreamed, (except you never did get into professional acting or musicals). You need not worry about your future, nor kick yourself when you make mistakes, nor feel dashed to bits when your boyfriend walks away, nor doubt that you’ll ever make a decent living, nor fret about ever having a nice place to live or friends or whatever else you think you now lack…

A great wave of thankfulness and contentedness washed over me, and I felt all was right with the world.

I guess I just want to say this to people who are now going through hard times –
This too will pass. These times are not forever. Walk towards the future with hope.

One day your older self will look back at you too, and tell you it was all OK.