You'd be amazed at how your life is actually shaped by others rather than by you. 'Nope, I consciously think through all my major life decisions' we hear you say. If you really do, then you're a rarity. But it's highly likely that you don't, you're just not aware of it. We all love to think that all decisions we make are fully conscious, logical and in our own best interest. But the simple truth is they're not. In fact studies show that most of our decisions are made by our subconscious, even when we believe we are really thinking things through. This is just how evolution works.
See, humans are one hell of a complex species and we've got to where we are by being able to pass things and knowledge down from generation to generation instead of having to reinvent the wheel each time. Imagine what it would be like if we had to figure out how to generate electricity everytime. Knowledge is passed down through generations, and that's a good thing. But sometimes it's not. Because we not only pass down knowledge, beliefs, ideas, constructs that genuinely move us forward, we also pass down outdated beliefs that stunt our individual, and therefore, collective progress.
The tricky thing about beliefs though is that they are so ingrained in us from the moment we're kids by our parents, our culture, our peers etc. that they become subconscious. Think driving. That was something you had to deliberately do when you were learning how to drive, until it became automatic (to the point where sometimes you drive yourself home when you wanted to go to the supermarket first and go 'how on earth did I get here?'). Well beliefs work the same way, and they drive our worldview and most of our decisions.
Enter work life balance. What does that have to do with limiting beliefs? Turns out that work life balance is a set of several limiting beliefs all nicely layered in one tight sandwich that we gobble up everyday: that we HAVE to work super hard AND long hours to 'make it' in the workplace (no you don't, and here's some simple tricks to actually work less and be more effective), that to have the life that we want we somehow need to sacrifice something (something HAS to give, otherwise it would be too good to be true right?), life is meant to be hard, we are either good mothers OR good professionals ... you catch the drift.
How about flipping the switch on this for a second. What if all of those beliefs were simply not true, but just a set of beliefs imposed on us by society ? What if *gasp* we could be amazing at our job AND be a great mother AND have time for ourselves? WHAT IF? What if we started questioning all those beliefs that hold us back from living life on our terms ? What if we realised where those beliefs were actually coming from ? Maybe we saw our parents work long hours and associated a comfortable life with having to slog away for instance.
But just by asking WHAT IF _(insert belief)_ WASN'T TRUE, our brain starts looking for solutions or supporting evidence for the new, upgraded belief instead of remaining stuck in the old, limiting one. Doing something from the perspective of believing you CAN achieve it is an entirely different energy than going at that same thing thinking you can't have it. You're bound to sabotage yourself before you even got there.
So is your life really shaped by you, or by others? Some limiting beliefs are surprisingly easy to replace; all it takes is being aware of where they come from and the moment we do that, we're set free. Others require a deeper rewiring of our brain.
How about starting with asking yourself what you really want in life, and then listing all the reasons why you think you can't have those things. Then try to figure out the beliefs underlying those reasons and flip the switch on them (think WHAT IF). Easier said than done, but identifying and upgrading your limiting beliefs are perhaps the most profound thing you can do towards living a more authentic life, a life that YOU really choose.