Recently, I had a conversation with a friend and private yoga client about tattoo ideas. We bonded over design ideas, placement and meaningful symbols. It’s interesting to me that though I already have three tattoos, my next one has me really thinking and contemplating. Granted, maybe I’m more “adult” than my very first tattoo at 18-years-old that my ex-boyfriend drew for me – but none the less, I wonder what’s holding me back.
As we discussed placement of the art on our bodies, we agreed that the middle of our back is meaningful, right behind our heart… not to mention it would look pretty dope. Imagine a quote going up my spine or an intricately feathered piece right in the center. Then, it me like falling out of crow pose and right into a bloody nose (for non yogis – a simple face plant is an adequate substitute).
I said out loud, “I love the idea, but I think I should wait until after I’m married.”
What the hell does that even mean? As soon as I said it, I wondered. Who do those words belong to? Where did that come from? Since when do I care? This simple statement kind of shook me to my core. It made me question myself and dig into why I was stuck on this.
Limiting belief: A way, concept, or idea that comes from your community, family or culture that is not necessarily yours, but you believe it is.
Let that sink in.
If you know me personally, you know I usually take into consideration others’ wants or needs for my life and if need be, like slipping off a silk robe, let them easily and smoothly fall away if they don’t fit. I began to ask myself, “Is it true?” Then sparked hundreds of questions whirling around my head like a Saturday morning cartoon was just bonked on the head.
The thing about limiting beliefs is they often hold us back from deciding for our selves what we really want. We get so caught up in the “shoulds” that we forget to even question it. We forget we have options because the belief is ground into our media, family or culture and we take it on as our own.
Why should I wait until after I’m married to get a tattoo that means a lot to me? The short, on-the-surface, might-be-a-limiting-belief answer is because of wedding photos. (Mind you, I’m not even engaged and it could be years before that’s on the table.) And, I’m still exploring if that belief is my own or one that is attached to my brain like gum to the bottom of a middle school desk. You know it’s there, it’s pretty of dirty, it’s been there getting hard and stale for years and years, people who are nothing like you put it there, and yet you just accept it.
So, maybe this is a small example. But I urge you to pay attention to the phrases spewing out of your mouth and examine them. Some examples may be:
- “I’m so busy, I can’t do blah blah blah.”
- “I’m too old to learn blah blah blah.”
- “I’m married so I can’t do blah blah blah.”
- “I had a long week, I deserve (insert fattening food or multiple cocktails).”
- “I’m not supposed to do that because blah blah blah.”
Pay attention. Does it actually work for you? Does it fit into your “ideal” view of yourself? If not, leave it.
Do no harm to yourself or others – but take no shit. This is your life, you have thousands of options. Use them.