In July, I hit rock bottom. I was depressed, I couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings, I was broke, and my marriage was suffering as a result of all the stress my husband and I had been through over the past year (think a cross-country move, countless house moves, financial troubles, work pressures, and more).
Life seemed really unfair and I was in a very dark place. I had no hope for the future, and I felt like a failure as a wife, as a mother, and as a business owner. I missed deadlines, I lost friendships, and I very nearly lost my marriage.
Fast forward just three months to October 2018, and life looked completely different: we had just moved into a beautiful little English-style cottage in Greyton, my marriage was better than ever, and we actually had enough money to cover all of our expenses, with a few treats thrown in for good measure. How did I go from feeling so utterly hopeless to feeling on top of the world in just a few, short months?
I don’t know that I‘ll ever be able to answer that question and, as a believer, I wholeheartedly believe that God is the one who pulled my family and I through it all. That said, I do think that the few steps I took towards changing my mindset helped a lot.
We all develop limiting beliefs as we grow older, and we tell ourselves ‘stories’ about certain aspects of our lives on a daily basis. Stories like, “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t deserve nice things”, “I’m not qualified enough”, “I’m an imposter who’s bound to be found out any day now”, or even “people with lots of money are selfish, and I’m not that.” We may not even notice that we have these limiting beliefs, as they’re so deeply ingrained in us and are often passed down to us from our parents and our grandparents, or from society in general.
For years (and long before I was married), I lived paycheck to paycheck and often ran out of money a good week or two before payday, which left me feeling worthless, irresponsible, and extremely stressed out as I scrambled to make the last few hundred Rands left in my bank account stretch until month end. Sure, I didn’t exactly choose the most high-flying career, but I made more than enough money to cover my basic expenses and a few luxuries too… so why could I never hold onto money?
After reading countless books and blog posts and listening to hundreds of podcasts over the past few months, I found myself becoming more and more aware of the limiting beliefs I had about money.
I’ll never be rich.
I’m too young to own a fancy, big house.
I chose the wrong career, so I’ll never make lots of money.
Who am I to have lots of money, when so many others are struggling?
I don’t have enough money.
Life is so expensive.
Wealthy people are selfish, arrogant, and mean.
Wealthy people don’t care about others; they only care about themselves.
How many of these beliefs resonate with you as you read through this list? What other beliefs come to mind? It’s a good idea to start jotting these and any others that come to mind down in your journal so that you start to become more aware of them.
Once you become aware of the stories you tell yourself, you’ll be able to identify them as they pop up during the day and you can then replace them with new beliefs or affirmations to help change your mindset over time.
For example, “I’ll never become rich” becomes “I am abundant. I have a roof over my head, a cosy bed to sleep in, food in my fridge, and lots of loyal, caring friends.”
“Wealthy people don’t care about others; they only care about themselves” becomes “I am abundant and I share freely with others. I give of my time, I share my food, and I give of my money.” Then actually follow that up with action – volunteer to walk dogs at the SPCA, bake cupcakes and take them to your local homeless shelter, give the beggar at the robot your loose change. Do some research and find examples of wealthy people who are doing good – think of Bono from U2, or Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher who founded THORN and are raising awareness surrounding human trafficking.
It certainly isn’t something that will happen overnight, but as you replace each negative thought with a more positive one, you’ll slowly start to rewire your brain and rewrite old, false beliefs. Before long, you’ll start to notice that your views about the world and about money begin to change, and with that, the things and the experiences you draw into your life will change as well.
It isn’t always easy and it requires action – you have to do the work, and even then, things won’t always be peachy. My bank account is verging on empty as I type this, thanks to a massive, unexpected vet bill. The old Chereen would’ve sunk into a funk and beat myself up about how bad I am at managing money, but the new me recognises that last month was my best financial month this year, but that shit happens. Instead of complaining about how unfair life is and how things always seem to fall apart just when I think that they’re getting better, I feel deep gratitude. I’m grateful for the fact that I could afford to pay the vet bill. I’m so grateful that my cat is ok. I’m grateful that I’ve already managed to buy most of our Christmas gifts, and that I could spoil Beanie with a gift that he’s been asking for all year. I’m grateful that I live in a beautiful house in a beautiful village. There truly is so much to be grateful for, and so much proof that I am, in fact, abundant.
I can bet that if you’re willing to look for it, you’ll find so many examples of your own abundance – and this simple act of feeling grateful for everything you already have will shift your mindset in such a way that you’ll start to see your life in a brand new light.
It seems a bit odd to be ending off a blog post with ‘homework’, but whenever I dig deep into my limiting beliefs or work on shifting my mindset, I like to have a tangible list of tasks or exercises to work through, so I thought I’d share a few of the things I did when I started doing this work for those who are interested.
- Write down your stories. ALL of your stories and your limiting beliefs, until you can’t write anything anymore. (See my examples of limiting beliefs surrounding money earlier in this post).
- Once you’ve done this, pick one of the limiting beliefs on your list and sit with it for a while. Really tap into it, and notice what feelings come up, and where. Do you feel it in your solar plexus? In your throat? Do tears well up in your eyes?
- Go even deeper into this feeling – what does it look like? What colour is it? What shape is it? Does it have a face? What is it telling you? For me, most of my beliefs come down to not feeling good enough. It might be the same for you, or it could be completely different. There is no right or wrong answer.
- Make a few notes in your journal if you want to.
- Once you’ve tapped into this particular belief and felt all the feelings, find another, more positive belief to replace it with. So, for example, “I’m not good enough” becomes “I am so worthy. I am alive. The mere fact of my existence means that I am enough.” Write this down and repeat it to yourself every time it’s counterpart limiting belief comes up. Pretty soon – with consistent practice – you’ll replace that limiting belief with this new one.
- Once you’ve worked through this specific limiting belief, pick another one from your list and follow these same steps. This is how you work on changing your mindset; simply by sitting with each limiting belief or story you tell yourself and shifting it by following the steps outlined above.
Commit to the shift, and then claim it!