Limitations are self-imposed attachments to other people's perceptions.
We consume people's beliefs like potato chips, beer, and hamburgers without considering whether they are healthy or not. Often people have the best intentions in giving information, judgement, criticism, and advice as a way to protect us from ourselves. As if we would endanger our own lives without their prized opinions. Yet, experience shapes our lives. It's how we learn and grow. And our experiences may be contrary to the beliefs others have about us, themselves, or society. If other people's beliefs continue to shape our lives, then we are living in a limited world where only tinned tuna sandwiches and water are served, over and over again.
One trick in taking in information is to ask oneself: Is this advice serving me in this moment? Is this piece of wisdom from this person's experience enhancing my life? If the answer is yes, then continue listening. If the answer is no, simply acknowledge it's not working by telling yourself and/or them, "It's not working for me," and decide whether to continue to listen or to go for a walk.
Often, other people's perceptions become ingrained in our minds and bodies like deep grooves in a dirt road created from continual use. These perceptions become habits, beliefs, and patterns. Then emotions arise from these perceptions, and control our lives through triggers that occur from life situations. Sabotaging joyful and successful life experiences as a way to confirm these limiting beliefs.
Self-Sabotaging Limitations keep you 'safe' rather than allowing you to experience the joy of who you are.
To alleviate suffering from limiting self-sabotaging patterns, it's best to go to the core of their existence. When working through any challenge, remember to come back to the breath, breathe, release any judgement, and continue forth. (Going to the core of any aspect of the self, takes perseverance, practice, and tenacity. Often, when dealing with very challenging and triggering patterns, it's best to seek help from a professional.)
1. Identify the Limitation. Choose a current life situation or emotion that feels limiting. One that has been bothering you in the past week or month. Biting at you like a mosquito, and keeping you from experiencing joy. Once, you've identified the limitation, sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed. You will need five to fifteen minutes. Communicate with your wife/husband/beloved, children, dog, and cat to let you be in silence for 5 to 15 minutes. (If this seems like a long time to do a practice, simply bring to mind how long you've had this limitation, perhaps 10 - 20 years. You may not completely release the entire limitation within 5 - 15 minutes; however, you will loosen the grip it has over your life to allow more joy and peace of mind.)
2. Journey to Your Sacred Safe Place. Take three deep breaths through your nose and from your belly. Allowing your belly to extend out while breathing in, and to collapse in while breathing out. Imagine your Sacred Safe Place — a place that brings you comfort, support, and love. Next, allow your Sacred Safe Place to be inside of your body, and notice where it resides at this moment.
3. Locate the Limitation Within the Body. With your eyes closed, state your intention to go to the core of the limitation, to the life experience that started the pattern long ago. Breathe naturally and locate the limiting belief, pattern, habit or emotion inside your body. Where is it living right now? In your stomach, intestines, kidneys, heart?
4. Receive a Picture, Voice, or Sensation of the Limitation. Now, get a clear picture, color, sensation, or voice of this limitation. What does it look like or who does it sound like? For example, does it look like the Balrog from Lord of the Rings? Or does it sound like your father when he was angry and critical about the way you took out the trash? Or does it feel like judgement from a teacher about being a bum, and never amounting to anything in life? Or does it feel like prickly sensations in your heart?
5. Dialogue with the Limitation. This step is crucial in learning more about the limitation. From your Sacred Safe Place, ask this limitation: "What does it need?" Wait, to receive a response such as: acceptance, to be heard, to be understood. If the limitation ignores you or brings in other thoughts to sabotage the process, simply bring your awareness back to your Sacred Safe Place, and begin again.
6. Fulfill the Need. Once you learn what this limitation needs, then notice if you can provide it what it needs. You can do this by imagining a color or energy associated with the need then surround the self-sabotaging limitation with this color or energy. Or perhaps there are practical steps that will fulfill the need of the limitation, ultimately dissolving it over time such as taking baths at night to release the limitation of "not good enough to take care of oneself."
Whether the self-sabotaging limitation began with a parent, friend, or from society, you're the one that lives with it, day in and day out. And you don't have too. There's no reason to keep a rat in the basement of your house simply because it's been there for awhile. By following these steps, you begin to release the attachments to these patterns, emotions, and beliefs. Allowing freedom and joy to flow more easily into your life.