Obstacle #4: Distorted Vision
Where can you find a big obstacle in your life? Right in front of your eyes!
The lens you look through can hold you back.
Here are some lenses I look through, at times: “This went wrong.” “That won’t work.” “Things are falling apart.” “I was hurt.” “I’m inadequate.” “They’re messed up.”
WHAT IS IT? The official term for this is “limiting beliefs.” A limiting belief is an incomplete way of viewing yourself, others or the world. It’s the story you tell yourself that has an element of truth, but isn’t the whole truth.
It’s like the tale of the blind men and the elephant, when each blind person described the elephant by touching a different part of the beast’s body. One thought the elephant looked like a snake, because he felt the trunk. Another thought it looked like a tree, because he felt a leg. Each of the blind men was right. The trunk does look like a snake, and the leg does look like a tree trunk. But each was also wrong, because the elephant is more than that.
In the same way, in our own lives, there’s usually more to the story that we don’t see.
What makes it worse, is that we often don’t know that we’re not seeing it, because our limiting belief can be subconscious. We haven’t articulated it. So, our vision is doubly impaired.
This creates an obstacle because we have this belief, this inner “rightness,” that makes us say the door is closed, when there’s actually an opening. And since we aren’t clear on our thinking, much less that there’s something wrong with it, we never try to find the opening.
Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22)
Yes! We want clearer vision. When we have it, we will shine!
Here are some questions to ask yourself to get you started on that journey.
1. What do I believe about myself, my job, my marriage, my life situations, each person in my life, the world, etc?
2. What assumptions am I making?
3. Where do I see closed doors?
4. How can I summarize my limiting beliefs?
1. Look through this lens, or a version of it: “There will be challenges. But God is good, caring, compassionate, and bigger than the challenges. I do have limitations. But I also have God-given strengths, functions and purposes. People have shortcomings. But they also have good in them.”
2. Admit, “I don’t know,” instead of making assumptions.
3. Give people the benefit of doubt.
4. When you think a door is closed, ask, “In what ways is this not true? What else could be true?”
5. Brainstorm and list the ways there could be an opening in the door.
6. Be brave and expend the energy to ask questions and find out more.
7. Talk to someone who will listen and reflect back your beliefs. A coach is perfect for this!
8. ***Pick one area, and challenge one of your limiting beliefs. Step out and try a new open door.
Doing this post has been great for me. I have so many limiting beliefs! I’m noticing more ways I feel stuck, or think others are stuck. I’m seeing my knee-jerk negative assumptions. I’m going to be honest. I’m finding that I like to tell myself things won’t work, so I can feel sorry for myself. Or so I don’t hope, and then get disappointed. Who would have thought that limiting thoughts could be comforting and safe? Yikes!
Let’s fight this battle together. Day by day, hour by hour, we can CHOOSE which “glasses” to wear.
And when we do, it will make a significant difference. Because the clearer our vision is, the more we can see the open doors.