We sabotage ourselves in subtle ways. A long-held belief or an unnoticed habit may lead us in the wrong direction. A personal interpretation of something we heard may be incorrect. There are many ways we stop ourselves from success. These are our limiting, restrictive ways and we have to become aware of them in order to change them.
We shape our own life
We are responsible for our thoughts, our words and our actions. Our choices shape our life experience. We limit ourselves in subtle ways by our expectations, our judgments, our desires, or our response to an action taken. Self-restrictive ways keep us from making that small shift within ourselves that will change our lives. When we become aware of our restrictive ways, we are free to alter them in order to achieve a different outcome of our life. The first step to freedom is to learn to identify some of the beliefs and habits that are holding you back.
Move your boundaries
“Restrict” means to keep something within strict limits. Unless we allow our imagination to move outside the boundaries and limitations we have set for ourselves, we will not know what else is possible. How can I expand my boundaries? I can let things unfold. I can take events as they come and mindfully shape them in the moment. I can spend more time exploring, examining and rethinking my options. I can go exploring, following my curiosity wherever it takes me. I can be open to the lessons and experiences that are present in every aspect in my life. I can identify my boundaries and give them a hefty shove toward expansion!
Become aware of your unconscious habits
We have many damaging concepts in our unconscious. Old beliefs we adopted as a child that we failed to question as an adult. A habit we have fallen into and have failed to consciously change. A circumstance we find ourselves in that looks and feels restrictive but can be a powerful learning experience if we alter how we approach it. An unconscious habit or belief can restrict you. A circumstance may appear to block you when in fact it is simply offering you a new choice of direction. Once you recognize your restrictive ways, you can choose to change them.
Identify your restrictive ways
Look at what stops you from doing something you would like to do. How does your persona affect others? Observe yourself though the eyes of others, at work, at home, in the world. What belief or judgment is holding you back? We may restrict ourselves because our expectations of what is possible are too low. What narrow expectation is preventing you from trying something new? What are your restrictive ways? Which ones are you willing and ready to change?
Work through this exercise in one uninterrupted session. That will allow answers to emerge from deep within. To begin to change your restrictive ways answer these questions:
My Restrictive Way
How to Move Out Of It
What That Will Feel Like
My Restrictive Way. This can be a physical condition, a personality trait, an old belief or an emotional restriction. Look at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes to list some of your restrictive ways.
How to Move Out Of It. Make this a doable step, something you can achieve, specific accomplishments that can identify your progress. Start with a small goal. Take steps that fit your willingness, your time and your desire.
Key Word. Find one word that will remind you to change your restrictive way. Use it to keep aware of the choices you are making.
What That Will Feel Like? The degree of emotion you experience about a choice or action is key to your ability to move and break through boundaries. Can you actually feel yourself on the other side of the change? If you are shy and decide you want to be more sociable, how will it feel to walk into a gathering and simple be comfortably present? What are the new experiences that await you on the other side of the boundary you want to cross? How will you recognize that you have changed? What will you feel when you expand that boundary?
Key Change. Your life will look and feel different after you move through a boundary. Will you have more time, more friends, more money? Will life be more loving, peaceful or exciting? What is it you want and how will releasing this restriction free you? Describe the change you expect to happen when you release your restrictive way.
Begin the exercise. Find something you feel is restrictive in your life and begin to explore it.
Here are some of my restrictive ways
One of my main restrictive ways comes from my constant curiosity and desire to learn. Not everyone has that. My restrictive way is that I too often become impatient around cautious or un-inquisitive people. There is judgment thrown in there too. One of my restrictive ways then is impatience with people who are not inquisitive.
Another of my restrictive ways comes from being an introvert. It is so much simpler to hang out by myself. I did learn that as an introvert, if I have a job to do in an environment I feel great. So one of the steps I can take to move out of my restrictive introvert behavior is to volunteer and get to know others through service.
I can change my restrictive tendency to be alone by following my enthusiasm for going deeper within myself for understanding, writing about what I discover for personal clarity and searching for like-minded people on the internet to help me continue my exploration. I write with the purpose of connecting with others.
I change my restrictive intensity by being mindful of the manner in which it shows up and consciously modifying it for the circumstance.
Here’s an example of the exercise applied to one of my restrictive ways:
My Restrictive Way: I sometimes contribute to detrimental gossip by adding my version or opinion.
How to Move Out Of It: Consciously keep my mouth shut. Look at why I feel I need to add fuel to the fire and find a way to understand why I even feel the needs to contribute to judgmental observations.
Key Word – diversity. I will begin to appreciate the diversity that surrounds me and look for its beauty and purpose.
What That Will Feel Like. A huge difference as I let go of judgment and impatience, and any need I have to feel I am “right.”
Key Change: I will begin to look for and see the contributions every person makes and begin to appreciate them.
Use your key words to release your self-imposed restrictions.
As you move into a situation that needs to be expanded, take your keyword with you and use it during the experience. I could take the word “mindfulness” into any situation and find that I have a different experience. Think what “unfolding” will do for an assertive personality.
Adjust these steps as you push away your restrictive ways
As you create change, as you become more aware of how your presence is perceived, the words you use and the actions you take, revisit this exercise to continue to expand your boundaries.
Release your restrictive ways and allow change to unfold
Stop limiting yourself! Look hard at what you allow to restrict you. Restrictive ways don’t come from the outside. They come from an inner, subtle restriction you have created for yourself and one that you can easily release. Look for the concepts, judgments, desires, and expectations that obscure and narrows reality. Become aware of the times you restrict your thinking or your action and make a choice that allows you to push the boundaries and release your restrictive ways. When you are willing to move out of you restrictive ways, your thoughts and ideas, and be transformed
What restrictive ways are you ready to change?