by: Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney
I love the phrase “Reach for the Stars!” It conjures up images for me of magic and seems to open the doorway to amazing possibilities. We typically are not taught to reach for the stars. We are not encouraged to dream big dreams. We are for the most part taught to instead keep our dreams small and contained—following the typical societal roadmap for success: go to college in an area that you can make money, maybe in an area you enjoy—and then pursue this career path, find a life partner, possibly have a family. This is not bad—it may even lead to an enjoyable life—but what if there was more?
What if there was a door beyond your current thinking that took you to a place that was a life you thought you could only dream about? What if the only way you could get there was to first believe it is even there to begin with? Could you open up to this idea—or does a negative voice shoot this down “Yeah, right—me living a big dream—fat chance!”
We all have conditioned thought patterns that dictate how we perceive the world around us and what possibilities are open to us and which are not. These thought patterns are handed down to us from generation to generation. If your parents lived their dreams and were filled with joy and fulfillment, then you probably inherited some thought patterns that will lead to the same experience for you. But if your parents were unhappy and struggled with fear, addictions, lack of purpose, lack of deep connection with others than watch out—your inherited conditioned thought patterns may be hazardous to your Life!
The interesting thing about these thought patterns are that they are invisible to us. They are so much a part of us that they feel normal and we don’t even notice the ways they are limiting our life. You are probably even shaking your head right now wondering “What is she talking about?”
The signs that you are under the influence of these limiting patterns can be one or more of the following:
* a sense that there is something more to life, that there is something missing
* feelings of depression and hopelessness about life—what is the point
* feelings of envy or jealousy about the lives of other people “I wish my life could be more like that”
* lack of Joy and excitement
* lack of deep fulfillment and satisfaction with life
* lack of deep connection with yourself and others
* lack of a sense of a larger purpose for your life
* lack of a sense of spirituality and feeling of spiritual connection
What is sad is that there is amazing potential that lies in each and every one of us—but so little of it is fully realized because of these limiting thought patterns. If you are feeling some of the things I listed above it is a signal that there is more in life awaiting you. These feelings are indicating that conditioned thought patterns are holding you back from more that is wanting to be expressed inside of you.
Your essential self, your authentic self came into the world to fully express it’s unique creativity and gifts. Imagine the incredible, vital energy of your authentic self hitting the conditioned thoughts of your family –bumping up against thoughts like “You aren’t talented” “Just get a good job and build security—that is what is important” “Don’t rock the boat—keep safe—don’t upset anyone” “Be a good girl/boy and do what I expect and want you to do” “You’re not anyone special” or thoughts about life in general like “Life is struggle—work hard and maybe you will have some enjoyment in retirement” “Life is not meant to be fun—just get through it” “Don’t expect so much, be happy with what you have” “You can’t pursue your dreams AND make money”.
Do you notice any of these messages from your own life? Some of these messages are given directly and some are conveyed through what you saw your parents experience in life and the choices they made. An example could be “Dad stayed at the same job for 40 years even though he hated every minute of it.” Let’s look at all of the messages you would receive if you observed your parent doing this:1. It is OK to stay in a job that you don’t like for the security 2. It’s not OK to take risks—don’t rock the boat—don’t risk 3. Your happiness is not important 4. How you spend the majority of your time doesn’t matter—as long as you are making money 5. Life is not about being happy 6. It is good to sacrifice your happiness for others. These messages can have an impact on you that you are aware of like “My Dad was stuck in a job he didn’t like—I will never let that happen to me.” So you make a conscious choice to break out of that pattern. But what about the unconscious impact?
What I think is most interesting is the messages that we have absorbed that we are NOT conscious of and how these affect our everyday life and choices. We need to watch for this the most—because these unconscious thought patterns will affect us and limit all that we are capabable of accomplishing in our life. Use the signals above as a guide to let you know if these unconscious patterns are limiting you. If you are feeling incredibly happy, joyful, on purpose and are feeling vibrantly alive -than you are fine—these limiting patterns are probably not operating in your life. If you are feeling some of the feelings listed above than the following tips to break out of these patterns will be helpful.
How to Break Free from Limiting Patterns and Reach for the Stars:
Realize that your Limiting Thinking is NOT true- Those limitations and negative thinking has no basis in reality, even though it feels very real. The reason it feels real is because you have been saying these things to yourself for a long time and as a child you probably got this message over and over as well. Remember just because the voice is LOUD does not mean it is TRUE. So your inner message of “I could never do that (your dream), I don’t have what it takes”—is absolutely false. The interesting thing is that what is really true is usually the exact opposite of your limiting thinking. So if you reverse your thought—you will get closer to what is really true. Taking the previous example—if you reversed it—it would be “I could do that (your dream), I absolutely have what it takes!”
If you have the Dream, You have What it Takes to Manifest the Dream- Your dreams are in your heart for a reason-they would not be there if they were not something you were meant to have. They are there to be a beacon, a guide for you to move towards and pursue. Your dreams are not wishful thinking, but important images to pay attention to because they are the guides to the incredible possibilities of your life. If you didn’t have the capability to achieve your dream it would not be in your consciousnesses to begin with. Trust that because it is there, all of the necessary things for its manifestation are present as well. Taking steps towards your dream and trusting that as you do you will get information and inspiration that will lead you to your next step. You don’t need to know the whole outline of how you will achieve the dream before you begin—actually you won’t know the steps until you begin. It is like the information and the steps to manifest the dream are contained in the essence of the dream and will not be revealed until the dream is believed and pursued.
Believe in Your Dreams– When you were growing up, if your parents didn’t honor and pursue their own dreams- or discounted the dreams you shared with them—you may have learned to do the same thing with your own dreams. Pay attention to your dreams and treat them as beautiful and sacred—honoring them, valuing them and pursuing them. If you can think of the belief in your own dreams as a warm flame that you surround your dream with—warming it, nurturing it and fueling it. We all know people who have dreams in their hearts- but they don’t believe, honor or pursue these dreams. Belief is what activates a dream and acts as a catalyst for its manifestation. Remember the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their own dreams.” Believe in the beauty of your own dreams and take them seriously.
As You Move Towards Your Dream You Will Move Through Fear– Your conditioned thinking is your comfort zone—these thoughts feel “normal” and familiar to you. As you move towards your dream you will be bumping into your conditioned thinking, which will want to hold you back in your comfort zone. You are moving into new territory and it can be like an alarm goes off in your conditioned thinking saying “Red Alert—we are doing something different, out of our comfort zone, we are in DANGER—we need to stop and go back to safety.” Bob Proctor, a noted life coach, calls this the terror barrier. Many people when they get to this point feel that these uncomfortable feelings are an indicator that they are making a mistake and they stop pursuing their dream. This terror is actually a good thing— it is letting them know that they are moving out of their limited thinking patterns and into the freedom of living from their true self. When I work with clients I say to them they will probably feel uncomfortable, awkward and scared as they move out of operating from their limiting beliefs—so these feelings are a good thing. If they are feeling comfortable they are probably still in their old patterns and not much will be changing for them. So when you feel the fear or even terror—reassure yourself that this is part of the process and that you are right on track.
Pursuing Your Dream Help you to Grow and Expand– We are meant to move toward dreams that may initially feel out of our reach because these dreams cause us to stretch, grow and expand into the highest expression of our unique essence. To achieve our dreams we need to move through inner and outer barriers that have kept us living small. As you move through these barriers you will start to feel more energized and confident in all areas of your life. It has a ripple effect of freeing up the energy that was expended keeping you limited. Our fears and limiting thoughts take up a lot of our energy—once this energy is no longer being channeled into limitation—it is available for creativity, joy and achieving your dreams.
The more you feel your own essence and all of the gifts it has to express—you let go of fear even more because you trust that you are bigger, stronger at the level of your Spirit (essence) than you ever knew. When you are living in the walls of your limited conditioning—you feel small and incapable of doing a lot beyond what you have already been doing. Once you break free into a new, expanded experience of you —you have a greater sense of all that you are really capable of doing.
If You Are Going to Dream, Dream Big– The bigger the dream, the bigger the growth and expansion you will experience. What I find is that people set their initial dream and as they move towards it they begin to grow, expand and release their limited thinking. Then it is like they are in a new realm of open space and incredible possibilities. It is from this space that there can be even greater clarity about their dreams and oftentimes these dreams will expand and get bigger. It is like their initial dreaming was when they were in the constrictions of their limited thought patterns and they couldn’t access the bigger dream. It may be that the current dream may expand and get bigger or it may shift to a different dream that had never entered their mind before. Example: Audre had always wanted to write professionally—she even had gone to school for creative writing. When she began to dream her dream was to write for a local newspaper and write articles for magazines. As she beg an to move towards this—she worked through all of the fears and limited thinking that had held her back for years. She began writing every day and submitting her articles for publication. She also took a part-time job as a reporter for a local community newspaper. She felt fabulous and her confidence in her writing grew. She began to access a bigger dream which was to write and publish a novel and to have this become a best-seller. This had never crossed her mind before and it surprised her when it came up. She was able to embrace and honor this dream. She pursued it and felt herself move to a higher level of aliveness, joy and fulfillment than she knew was even possible.
Let Go of What Others Think and Get Positive Support– To pursue your deepest dreams it is important to let go of what others think of you. Because there are so many people walking around with unlived dreams in their hearts—it is easy for them to project their own limiting thinking on to you. It is important to notice this for what it is and to not take it seriously and buy into their concerns or negativity.
Find people who are dreamers, and more importantly people who are taking their dreams seriously and taking action to achieve these dreams. – Ongoing positive support is essential in reaching your dreams. Find your support through your friendships or through a structured support group. I feel so strongly about the importance of this kind of support that in my practice I have a whole range of services that give people lots of support. You are not meant to do this alone. You need lots of support and the right kind of support—from people who believe in the beauty and possibility of your dreams. You may have not been able to make progress towards your dream for the simple fact you have not had enough support around you.
So begin today to believe in the beauty of your dreams and the incredible possibilities for your life. Take action to move towards these dreams and watch doors open up for you, unique gifts of yours come out— all leading you to life, that until now you have only dreamed about. Believe and it is possible.