By, Tanya-Marie Dubé
What is stopping you? I mean really. What is stopping you from having the things you want in your life? I’ve been there, too. For me it was the story I told about myself for three decades. That I was unworthy, that I couldn’t have what I wanted because I wasn’t good enough. That lofty dreams were for ‘other’ people and not people like me. I was told to stay in my lane repeatedly. To behave. To keep it down and stop attracting attention to myself. I was told that I was stupid, unattractive, unlikeable. That one really stuck for a long time. Unlikeable. That one would take me the longest to overcome.
There are certain things that we must do in life in order to progress. Are you where you were a few years ago? Are you consistently putting yourself in the shoes of someone who wants to grow and change and experience life? Are you putting yourself out of your comfort zone and into the space of expansion? The kind of expansion that makes you giggle and feel like a kid again because you’re playing? Because that’s a great feeling - that feeling of “omg I didn’t even know I could do that.” We have to try doing things that we haven’t done before because in shaking things up, we feel alive. And when we get into a routine of something new (like meditating every day), we calm down and become aware of our thoughts, our language and our intentions and we form new habits, and those replace the old habits, possibly the old thinking, that you couldn’t do something that felt hard. Or felt weird. Or maybe in your mind it was for ‘other people’. But we have to change the way we think.
When I was little, I would avidly pursue things that I knew I was great at. Things that would get me the accolades I craved and needed. The grades that would
get me on the honour roll, or super honor roll. I always thought that we should focus on the things that come easily to us and not spend time working on something that was difficult, because to me, that felt like a giant waste of time and I had things to do. But what I didn’t realize was how much of my life I was wasting away, not pushing myself in other areas. It wasn’t until I was 13 and in grade 7 that I fully understood the power in this.
I had just started a new school in grade 7 and was told that I would have to try out for track and field. It was mandatory. I didn’t have a choice. And it was literally the last thing I ever wanted to do. I wasn’t a sporty person. I was a nerd. And I loved being a nerd. I was happily engrossed in a book at all times, sitting alone and falling into this world or that as I traversed the hero’s path in life deep in the recesses of my imagination. I didn’t need to be sweating and running in front of people, throwing this, or flinging myself over that. But alas, I had no choice and I had to sweat and run in front of people, throwing this and flinging myself over that.
I am 5’4” and hurdles was instantly out. I fell all over the place and almost knocked myself out. I couldn’t do long jump to save my life but I did try over and over again but kept falling backward, just over two feet from where my feet landed which planted me firmly in the category of “no”. I somehow managed to be amazing at high jump, and for the life of me don’t ever ask me how because I couldn’t tell you. They thought I would be great at that but because I didn’t know how I was doing it, it didn’t feel good. Shotput was horrid and another way to embarrass myself. And then...I got to track. I ran and was okay. Nothing great, but I didn’t come in last, either. But my coach saw some potential in me and I fought it hard, at first. He pushed me to keep practicing, and that was probably the hardest.
What was happening in my life around this was difficult. I didn’t have a place to live and nobody knew what I was going through. That was the first thing. My friends were letting me into their homes through their basement windows most nights and I would sleep in their closets sometimes, but it was only after everyone left for work and school the next morning that I had to rush to shower, eat something small, do my dishes and put everything back exactly the way I found it so as to stay undetected, and then race out the door and off to school so that I wouldn’t be too late. I never had lunch and rarely had dinner. But my grades meant everything to me.
I was in a very abusive home when I did live with my mother and my stepfather and I had a lot of anger and anxiety inside me and running ended up being something really important in my life. It allowed me to take the edge off. I listened to my coach when he gave me a stopwatch and told me to keep practicing and so I did. Saying I had nothing better to do with my time was an understatement and I practiced and practiced and kept beating my best time. There was a girl who was the best named Cathy, and in my mind, she was the one to beat. I loved pushing myself this hard. I was used to doing it academically but now I got to do it in this whole other way.
When the time came to race, I was so close to beating Cathy, but I just couldn’t catch up. She seemed to glide, effortlessly, and it was making me nuts. I pushed myself harder as the months passed before winter came and every time I got a
chance to race competitively, I got better and better and then the day came where I passed Cathy and took the number one spot. I was now the fastest kid in my categories of 100m, 400m and 800 meters, giving me the title of the fastest kid in my province. And I held it. I practiced all the time and got faster and faster and was more and more driven. When the 1988 Olympics came to Calgary, just over 6000 people got to run with the torch, and my school nominated me and I got to run with it for three blocks. It was a whirlwind, it happened so fast, but all that hard work got that Olympic torch in my 13 year old hands as I ran through a crowd of people who cheered me on and patted me on the back. My hard work got me there. And I never even knew it was possible. I had no idea that I had that inside me. I would have called it “lucky” back then, but it wasn’t luck. It was hard physical work, it was constant mindset work drilled into my head by my coach and it was pure drive. All I wanted was to matter. I had blinders on. I still didn’t have a place to live, but I knew...I just knew that I had it in me to do whatever I wanted to do, and all it would take is the deep inner work and to stay the course of that goal and it’s proved itself to be true over and over again for the likes of me. Of course I fell on and off in that way of thinking as life unfolded. Marriage and two kids later, I had forgotten my power, and through my separation and divorce, I completely forgot who I was, save for the people who were put in front of me, challenging me to pick myself up off the floor and push myself. Who did I want to be? I had to seriously re-evaluate.
There was something I did when I was around 14 years old that I talked about the other day in a talk that I gave that I haven’t discussed publicly for a while. During my 14th year, I had caught Oprah on her show and the way she handled
herself as she interviewed the KKK was outstanding to me. As Oprah took the time to listen to what the KKK had to say, I watched this powerful woman let it roll off her back. She was so level headed and so smart about the questions she asked. She didn’t take it personally and she wasn’t bitter but she would have been justified if she was. I didn’t have anything close to a mother figure so I had nobody to model myself off of, and I knew in that exact moment, she was it. She would be my mother figure from afar. She was so incredibly professional and centered and I thought, “I want to be like that. I want to be able to take it as it comes and not let it destroy me.” I believe to this day that I was meant to watch that because a television was hard for me to come by back then and her show was on at 4pm. I made a list. On one side was the Oprah column, separated by a vertical line and then the Tanya column. I put all the attributes I could think of that Oprah carried so well that made her this stoic soul and I put all of mine in my column. Anything that doubled up, I crossed off, and then the remainder of what was left on Oprah’s column was what I needed to work on. And I adopted the thought that I would pretend to be those things until that habit landed and it became firmly who I was. I wasn’t lying. I was affirming that I was that way already because it was who I was becoming. This is something I do in my adult world now, still. I have to believe it before I see it and my imagination is strong and very powerful, just like yours. That’s how we make things happen. I would always ask, “...what would Oprah do.”
In every situation, that was my question for years on top of years. What would Oprah do? Funny thing, years ago I was interviewing someone named Jonathan Robinson who had been interviewed by Oprah on her show many times. He’s the “happiness” guy. And we were having a laugh and I shared this story with him and he said that when he was with Oprah, he asked her who she thought of when she was in a pinch and didn’t know what decision to make. “I ask,” she paused, “...what would Oprah do?” and he laughed and said he didn’t understand. Oprah went on to say that the people who watch her shows and read her magazine have made Oprah into this other worldly person who doesn’t have bad days and who has everything under control, all of the time. This made me laugh. She said that she looked to this version of herself, too, just like the rest of us. She went on to clarify that what she meant was that she would ask her higher self, “...what needs to be done here? What do I need to know? Show me what you need me to do.” And now, this is what I’ve adopted, too. I ask my spirit guides all the time what to do when I’m truly stuck and to show me what needs to be done, what I need to say and do to show up as my best self for everyone around me. What a powerful lesson, right? She’s still my motherly mentor and she doesn’t even know it.
I want you to consider your beliefs and where you’re putting your focus. I had to unlearn a lot of programming and conditioning to get to where I am now, and I’ll tell you that I had to re-jig my thinking around beliefs vs. facts. You have to look for the proof in something that you’re saying. Is this true or is this just something
I’m telling myself? If you feel any limiting belief is true, ask for proof of the opposite being true. And then say it out loud. For example, if the limiting belief is that you’re scared of putting yourself out there, then look for proof where you’ve put yourself out there and you’ve knocked it out of the park. Then affirm that proof by saying out loud, “I’m amazing at putting myself out there. I have done this before and I’ll do it again.” And if you haven’t done it yet, look for proof where you’ve tried something new, anything, and nailed it.
I think part of the problem with limiting beliefs is that we can have 100 things show us that we’re rockstars and then one miserable person shows up and tells us we’re crap and we hold onto that one thing with both hands forever. What if your spirit guide is putting those people in front of you to see how committed you are to who you want to be? I like to look at it like that. It’s these little ways of challenging my thinking that makes it fun. This reminds me of a saying that I read the other day by Sadhguru: “Don’t be so serious about your life - it’s just a play.” Remember to play and have fun.
Some other useful tips around beliefs work is something called Socratic Questioning: ask yourself, “do I believe this? Why? What do I prefer to believe
instead?” Remember that we don’t have to hold onto the old stories that we tell ourselves. Just because you fainted in grade eight, speaking in front of your school, trying to win a spot for best public speaker, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a public speaker 30 years later, right? I didn’t hurt my physical body when I fainted, don’t worry. But it stopped me in my tracks from doing anything that involved risking humiliation for a very long time because I was utterly brutal on myself. So in this case, I would ask myself: “Do I believe that I am terrible at speaking in front of people? Yes. Why? [insert humiliating event here]. What do I prefer to believe instead? That I’m not 14 anymore and that all my life experience, my stories, my lessons, the love I have inside me and what I have to offer mean something. It’s powerful. I’m powerful. I’m a brave, strong and vibrant woman now. I own it. And I deserve to see how far I can go by getting out of my own way, dang it.”
Another thing you can do is to explore the logic in each belief you have. When I divorced I had this thought that no man would ever want me with two children. What in the actual heck. That was a special gift from you know who. And it landed hard. I had to ask myself a few questions: why did I believe I needed to have a man? And why did I think that there would be no man out there who could love me just because it didn’t work out the first time. Again, what proof do I have? I see people getting married a second time over and over again. I see people living happily with blended families without getting married. Why in the
world would I single myself out like I’m some kind of troll who lives under a bridge and nobody would want me? Nobody? It made me laugh out loud. It’s going to be on my terms this time, I thought. I decide. And if I choose nobody, that’s my choice. I needed to take control of that thought immediately. I decided that I had more important work to do than to be in a relationship. For you, that might land differently, but for me, this was my second chance to do something great. To truly find myself, and I needed the time and space to do that right. So that knocked out that belief that I needed someone at all right now, just like that. Gone. But I had to work out the belief first.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with one more thing to add to your arsenal of tools. Do your best to focus on who you want to become. Magnify the empowering beliefs you have. Cancel out the limiting beliefs and replace them with an empowering one immediately because the limiting beliefs that belonged to your 10-year-old self don’t have any place in your adult-woman-life. You wouldn’t let that 10-year-old make other really important decisions in your life, would you? So don’t let her decide who you are simply because you haven’t done the work yet. Tell her it’s alright, and thank her for protecting you, and then set her free. There’s a super strengthened warrior woman inside you who is dying to get out to play. xo
Tanya-Marie Dubé–Born into the foster care system, living in eight homes by the age of two years old, and homeless on and off for six years from 12-18 years old, Tanya-Marie Dubé is a show host, a motivational speaker, published author and online educator who feels called to use her experiences to help shift the consciousness of the planet. She has a powerful online course for women entrepreneurs who feel called to add spirituality into their businesses called The Awakened Entrepreneur, teaching them how to master their influence through developing their spirituality and connection to their higher power, learn how to deeply trust their intuition and completely unlock their soul's destiny.
She is trained as a Life Coach with Robbins-Madanes, is certified as an Advanced Belief Clearing Practitioner and is finishing her masters in Metaphysical Sciences as a Metaphysical Life Coach and Spiritual Healer. She has been coaching for 28 years with an educational background in psychology.
Contact her at email@example.com and get free training and coaching in her Facebook community.
Oprah Winfrey Photo Courtesy:TradLands on Flickr