Friends say I am among the most resilient women they know. That wasn’t always the case. For the better part of a twenty-six-year marriage, I projected strong, but deep down, my inner child believed my strength depended on having a man at my side.
Isn’t that what happens to many of us women? We feel incomplete if we aren’t a “we.” We don’t realize that we have a disempowering belief developed in childhood, buried deep in the psyche that casts us as one half of a whole. Mine was that I wasn’t safe alone.
When five, I put myself on fire playing with a lighter. I was hospitalized for a week but none of the burns left lasting scars and thus no overt reminder of the experience. My conscious mind, as I became an adult, didn’t pay much attention to what happened. But my subconscious mind harbored the belief that I wasn’t safe alone ever, even though that was untrue. While that might seem authentic for a child who put herself on fire, for an adult, it became a sabotaging belief, buried deep in the shadows of my psyche, and ruled my operating system my entire life.
Shadow beliefs are developed by an event usually occurring before the age of ten when we lack the emotional maturity to understand. We assign a meaning to it to help keep us safe. On some level, it does keep us safe, until over time it no longer does. My belief that I wasn’t safe alone drove me to collect many friends and try to stay in long-term relationships. Never alone kept my inner child safe and happy. As an adult, however, when my husband wanted out of the marriage after 26 years, it destroyed me. I was the victim in my story, and I tried to find one relationship after another to fix that broken image. Because I didn’t feel safe, I missed opportunities to enjoy and expand my life as a healthy, financially stable woman on my own terms.
Years later, shadow coaching helped me uncover that belief. Everything changed when I made the connection. I replaced the limiting belief with the empowering belief that I was safe and happy being alone. It also allowed me to be in or out of a relationship while maintaining happiness. I valued my alone time and developed unwavering self-love and self-trust.
At sixty-one, I flew alone to Tanzania and climbed Mt Kilimanjaro. I am a master coach, motivational speaker, and the author of a new international bestseller, Bigger Better Braver: Conquer your Fears, Embrace your Courage, and Transform your Life. Life doesn’t happen to us; it happens for us.
Recognize any of these beliefs?
- I’m not enough.
- I need to play small to stay safe.
- I’ll never fit in.
- I’m broken.
- No one will ever love me.
- My voice isn’t important.
- No one can fulfill my needs.
- If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.
- I need to control everything to be safe.
Although often hidden from us, these beliefs are powerful drivers of our behavior. For example, consider the child who starts to read in class and stutters and is met with laughter. In a flash, she decides she isn’t good enough or broken or stupid. As she grows, that belief becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy sabotaging her repeatedly to “prove” the belief. Unfortunately, we fight for our limitations.
For me, once I owned that I was safe alone, I saw how the Universe separated me from my husband so I could grow into the woman I am today. Remaining under the shadow of my ex, I’d have stayed small, never spreading my wings. He commanded center stage. I played small in a supporting role to feed his ego.
We can’t always see the big picture, but we can trust that the Universe has our back and whatever happens, is for our greatest good.
Is your life not unfolding the way you’d hoped? Is there a big discrepancy between what you say you want and what you have? Do you want more joy, self-love, and self-trust? Then, there likely is a disempowering belief that needs uncovering. My passion is helping women uncover their disempowering beliefs that keep them from having the juiciest life possible.
Ready for a bigger, better braver life? Uncover your shadows.
Are you looking for support? No one gets to the Olympics without a coach. Help is here for the asking. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a Coaching Discovery Call