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Do you think you suffer from old patterns or limiting beliefs? That's how you break them!

Do you think you suffer from old patterns or limiting beliefs? That's how you break them!

You probably know it, you have new resolutions to bring your own lunch to work, to exercise at least three times a week, or perhaps to stop smoking and drink alcohol. It will probably go well for two weeks and then you will fall back into old habits. Or you have set the goal to stand up for yourself more and not let yourself be walked over anymore. Many of us find it difficult to say 'no' and often say yes out of fear. For example, you are afraid to disappoint someone, appear in a bad light or worse, LOSE YOUR JOB. So you just keep going the same way. But how do you make sure that the good intentions and goals don't just last for two weeks? You will learn that in this blog!

How do old patterns and limiting beliefs arise?

Patterns are fixed behaviors that you often do unconsciously, also known as habits. A belief is a concluded thought with an additional feeling that arises from your experience of events or experiences. Beliefs ensure that a pattern is created and maintained.

Beliefs all have a purpose: Avoiding pain rather than healing. Sounds like a pretty good system, right?! Yes, certainly, but not if it prevents you from pursuing your dreams or living the life you want.

I will briefly explain something about the part of the brain that has to do with this: the prefrontal cortex (this is located in the front part of your brain just above your eyes). The prefrontal cortex determines the experience of your emotions and their expression during events.

Because you have experienced a similar situation in the past as in the example above, you experience a certain experience of emotions, for example anger or fear. This is how beliefs are created. Beliefs are the thoughts and additional feelings that arise from your experience of a certain situation. In short, your thoughts are the cause, not the situation. The situation is just a trigger that maintains the habit.

But how can we change this?

Stap 1: Write down any habits that bother you

What habit frustrates you and why does it bother you so much? At what moments do you notice that you easily keep repeating this habit?

Stap 2: Try to map out the situations where this habit emerges

Write down what happens in such situations (as much detail as possible), as if you were reliving them. What happened, who were there, what did they do, what was their state of mind? You may find out things you hadn't consciously learned when it happened.

Stap 3: Write down the feelings and sensations you got

Did you get a feeling of fear, anger or sadness? Did the sweat break out or did your heart palpitate? Did you get the feeling that you wanted to hide yourself or just really wanted to show yourself? Did you feel intimidated or heard?

Stap 4: What thoughts did this bring up?

Even if you don't know or are aware of your thoughts, you can always trace back from the feeling what kind of thoughts you had at the time. For example, if you were feeling anxious, a thought might be “I'm not good enough” or “my opinion doesn't matter”. But if you feel anger, for example, a thought could be: "I'm not going to let anyone walk over my boundaries anymore". These four steps may already help you to look at the habit and your behavior with more understanding. In step 5 we will find out if we can also change it.

Stap 5: Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings and accept them

It sounds very cliché, but these thoughts and feelings have the function to tell you something. Anger, sadness and fear, for example, want to tell you that you feel threatened or misunderstood. Happiness or feeling loved tells you that you are close to your own core. Once you recognize and accept your feelings and thoughts, you will be able to change them and become the person that has always been hidden within you (inner child).

Accepting doesn't mean leaving it as it is. No, accepting actually ensures that you bring about change. You will no longer punish yourself for your behavior, but listen to yourself with love and make a change.

Book tip (A scheme Therapy Self-Help and Support Book)

Breaking Negative Thinking Patterns by Hannie van Genderen and Gitta Jacob. If you have difficulty tackling persistent (thinking) patterns and keep making the same mistakes, this book is ideal for you! This book uses schema therapy to clarify how patterns of behavior, thoughts and feelings have arisen and how you can break them!

5 Tips to break old patterns and limiting beliefs


Patterns or habits are created by beliefs. Beliefs are the thoughts and additional feelings that have arisen from your experience of a specific situation or event. They ensure that mental and sometimes physical pain is avoided. In order to change habits, you will have to become aware of the thoughts and feelings in certain situations. You can do this by writing down the situation, your thoughts and feelings about this situation and the habit itself. Then there is room for acknowledgment and acceptance in order to change your habit from a loving approach.


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