By Sheila Singam
Our beliefs are a powerful force on our behaviour. Henry Ford was spot on when he said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right”. People who soar ahead in their lives are very likely fuelled by empowering beliefs about themselves and their capabilities. On the flip side, those who fail again and again despite the best laid plans are probably hampered by limiting beliefs that hold them back from success.
This applies not only to areas such as relationships, career and prosperity but also to healing. What we believe definitely influences our bodies’ ability to heal. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said, “It’s far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has”, pointing to the fact that it is a person’s attitude to disease that could be a crucial factor in the healing process.
Many of our beliefs about disease and healing have been acquired from authority figures such as medical specialists, doctors, teachers, parents and those who have suffered from a particular disease.
I coached an Australian woman in her forties who was waiting for her child to be born through a surrogate mother. When I asked her why she had opted for surrogacy, she replied that she had miscarried thirteen times in the past fifteen years. The most heart-breaking pregnancy was one in which she had carried the baby for six months before losing it.
I asked her when she had formed the limiting belief that she could not carry a baby to full term. She was taken aback, saying she had not realised that she had that belief. Then she recollected that in her early twenties, she had gone for surgery to remove multiple fibroids from her womb. When she went for her post-operative check-up, the doctor said, “You had a huge number of fibroids. I would be amazed if you could ever carry a child to full term.” That proclamation from an authority figure became a powerful limiting belief that was self-fulfilling.
Many of our beliefs sit at the level of the Unconscious mind and exert a powerful force on our behaviour and our ability to achieve anything we want. If people really believe they can’t do something, they are going to find an unconscious way to stop themselves from doing it, even if they consciously want to. They will also find a way to interpret the results they get so as to conform with their existing belief.
There’s a humorous story about a man who claimed he was a corpse and refused to eat or walk. He was sent to a psychiatrist who tried again and again to convince him he wasn’t dead. They had many arguments back and forth and then the psychiatrist finally hit on a bright idea. ‘
“Do corpses bleed?” he asked the man.The man pondered on the question and replied, “No, because all bodily functions stop upon death.”The doctor told the man that he would prove to him that he was very much alive by pricking his finger with a needle. “You will bleed, therefore you are alive.”
The psychiatrist stuck the needle into the man and the latter began to bleed. He looked at the blood, then stared in amazement at the doctor, exclaiming, “Well, I’ll be damned! Corpses do bleed!”
The story illustrates the fact that our beliefs are not necessarily based upon a logical framework of ideas. They can be notoriously resistant to logic and are not intended to coincide with reality. Often they lie in the realm of our unconscious minds and we may not even be aware of them. As long as they are not identified and addressed, they cannot be confronted or changed and will continue to interfere with our ability to get what we want, including the ability to heal.
If you are facing a health crisis today, examine your past and ask yourself if you have limiting beliefs that helped trigger the crisis or are stopping you from healing. That’s the first step. The second is to dismantle the beliefs and replace them with empowering new beliefs that will assist in speeding up recovery.
Sheila Singam is The Agent of Change. She is a certified Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming and Time Line Therapy ®. She is the founder of The Human Equation, a coaching, training and communications consultancy dedicated to unleashing human potential in corporations and individuals. Sheila is deeply committed to helping people change their limiting beliefs. Go to www.human-equation.com for more information.