Some things are possible, and some things are not possible, but the boundary between them isn't always as easy to determine as we might imagine. We often set the boundary ourselves, decreeing that "I can't do that" when there is no objective rational reason why 'that' is impossible. We just believe that it's impossible. And that means that we often don't do things we might want to do, or might like to do, and are perfectly capable of doing, because they're on the other side of the imaginary boundary.
You might have a specific goal in mind, something positive you’d like to be able to achieve or experience in the future, but you feel like a part of you doesn’t yet believe it’s really possible for you. Maybe you’d like to have a more loving, fulfilling relationship, or perhaps you want to be more financially successful. Perhaps you want to be healthier, fitter or slimmer, or you’d just like to feel more content and happy in yourself, but somehow you keep getting in your own way. It’s as if at some level of your mind you have an unhelpful, limiting belief that stops you from having – or feeling – what you want.
Limiting beliefs have a lot in common with phobias, because they also work at an emotional, subconscious level. Someone with a phobia of spiders might of course know rationally that house spiders are perfectly harmless, but, at a subconscious level, a part of their mind reacts as if spiders are incredibly dangerous. In the same way, a person who was repeatedly betrayed by their ex-partner might rationally know that all people are not like their ex, and they might tell their friends how much they want to find love again, but at an emotional, subconscious level, they keep treating any potential partner they get close to with suspicion, driving potential partners away, because a part of their mind has formed a limiting belief that all people are untrustworthy.
Some people pick up limiting beliefs during childhood. For example, a child can pick up unhealthy attitudes towards food or about money from their parents, or they can have their confidence knocked by an overly critical teacher. I once treated a man who had never properly learned to read, and he told me that his whole life he’d felt anxious and confused whenever he opened a book. It emerged that he had a vivid emotional memory of a teacher shouting into his face as a child that he was useless at reading and would never learn to do it. Once we had hypnotically calmed down the emotion attached to that old memory, so that he could view it in a detached, dispassionate way, the man was able to update his beliefs about himself and his capabilities, and he quickly began to progress with his reading.
Limiting beliefs are held in place at an emotional, subconscious level, and trying to use rationality and reason to change them is a bit like giving someone who’s afraid of spiders a list of facts about why most spiders are safe. It doesn’t work that well. Changing a limiting belief becomes much easier when you learn to calm down the emotion attached to it, and view the belief from a relaxed detached perspective, just like that man did with his memory of the critical teacher. And that’s exactly what therapeutic hypnosis helps you to do.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to be absolutely certain that you can do something in order to do it. It’s often more useful to have a sense of relaxed curiosity and openness about doing something new. That man I treated didn’t need to feel a hundred per cent certain that he was going to be the fastest reader in the world, he just needed to let go of the old anxiety, and to be open and curious about learning to read with confidence.
Hypnotherapy helps you to tackle and let go of any unhelpful beliefs that were limiting you, so that you can be more relaxed and curious about the possibilities opening up for you, so that you can free yourself to be who you're truly meant to be and begin doing a variety of new things in your life that you once might not have thought were possible for you.