Baby elephants living in captivity are often secured using a chain. Elephants like to roam around by nature, and the young elephant instinctively tugs and pulls at the chain in an attempt to gain its freedom. Eventually the small elephant grows tired and concedes defeat – it’s not yet strong enough to free itself from its shackles.
What’s interesting is that the same chain can be used to restrain the elephant even after it reaches its full size. At this point the elephant is strong enough to snap the chain and maybe even uproot the tree it’s attached to, but the powerful animal doesn’t even attempt an escape. It remembers its futile efforts in the past and believes it’s incapable of breaking free.
As humans we all define our own limitations, often in very subtle ways. Something happens in our life, usually during our formative adolescent years, and we make a decision about ourselves and the nature of life. These patterns become so engrained that they become part of our reality. It is only by realizing that these patterns exist that we can consciously choose to break free of our own self-created shackles.
Seeing our own patterns is not always easy as they become part of our identity. Even after coming face to face with our self-fabricated limitations, letting go of patterns that hold us back is often confronting to our ego. The tendency is to take the path of least resistance and accept the status quo. The cost is that our freedom, self expression and potential for happiness and fulfilment remains limited.
I’ve identified many of my own patterns over the years. In many cases the patterns are still there, but I’ve become more practiced at recognizing them and more adept at breaking free. I have been practicing meditation for many years and have found this ancient practice to be a valuable tool for bringing unconscious thought patterns into my conscious mind. I have also found coaching to be an effective tool in this realm. Working both one-on-one with a coach and in group contexts I’ve been able to identify many of my own “saboteurs” and have been called forth to set them aside and experience my own potential.
I invite you to expose your own self-limiting beliefs…and experience the exhilaration of boldly breaking free!
Joni Mar says
You so eloquently capture the human conundrum. We so long to be empowered and free. Yet how can we when we aren’t even aware where we might be disempowered and in our own way? I feel such sadness knowing that we empower ‘circumstances that happen to us’ to create our belief about ourselves- then live our life as if it was the TRUTH about us. I continue to be awed by those with courage and commitment to examine their self perceptions and the wonder of discovery as they own their potential. That’s fulfillment!