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Stop Arguing for Your Limitations

Aug 17, 2007
Now and then I come across someone who really excels at arguing for his or her limitations. This happened recently, when I had lunch with a group of my workshop attendees and listened as they shared about their professional lives. One especially bright and attractive woman, Sara, began by telling the rest of us about her dream of becoming an executive coach. After recounting the many important steps she has taken to prepare to enter that career field, Sara went on to detail all of the reasons why she cannot and will not find work.

As I listened, I felt sad for her--because I know that she is right. Sara cannot and will not get hired, as long as she continues to hold that is true. Why? Because we always make ourselves right! As they say, "Argue for your limitations, and they are yours!"

I also know that if Sara was to stop focusing on her liabilities, and instead, focus on her assets and aspirations, that life would begin to show her a way to make her dream come true. The perfect path for her career evolution would be revealed to her, if only she would change her attitude and open to the possibility that there is a way for her to fulfill her professional goals. It may not be a conventional pathway, or one that she has ever considered. But it would be perfect for her.

Often when, like Sara, we focus on all of the reasons why we can't be, do, or have something we desire, we are acting out of a negative spell from our past. These spells are cast during the traumatic moments of our lives, when we derive limiting conclusions about ourselves and our lives. In effect, we place imaginary limits on ourselves that don't have to be there. We decide we just aren't good enough in some way. Or that we don't deserve good things in life. And then we go through life reinforcing those early decisions, which I call thought traps.

Since our experience always matches our attitudes and beliefs, we tend to attract people and situations that validate our self-imposed limitations. We can spend a lifetime waiting for evidence that our beliefs about ourselves are false. But that evidence won't show up until we first change our prevailing way of thinking and feeling.

Remove Your Self-Imposed Limitations

Is there an area of your life in which you would like to stop arguing for your limitations? Here are some steps to take:

1. Write down one area of your life in which you would like to liberate yourself from habitual ways of thinking and feeling that are self-limiting. Describe on paper what you really desire in this area of your life.

2. Consider what the payoff has been for limiting yourself in this area of your life. For example, perhaps it has kept you safe from having to change. Ask yourself what you are afraid would happen if your dreams became a reality. Acknowledge those fears to yourself. Write them down.

3. List all of the reasons why you would like to create a shift in this area of your life. How do you see this change benefiting you? What are all of the advantages of allowing this dream to become a reality?

4. Make a list of all of the reasons why it should be possible or even likely for you to create this change in your life.

5. Close your eyes, and create a movie in your mind in which you are living your dream. Get excited about it. Make it as real as possible. Play with it. Have fun with your movie. This is your production--it can be any way you want it to be.

6. Stop yourself anytime you are about to argue for your limitations--either out loud or in your head. Instead, recall your list of all of the reasons why it should be possible or even likely for you to fulfill your goals.

7. Tune into your inner guidance. You will be guided to take those actions that are on the path of your highest good.
About the Author
Eve Delunas, Ph.D., psychotherapist, author, speaker, trainer.
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