How Your ‘Self Image’ May Really Be Just An Excuse

The past few months we’ve been reviewing chapter 6 of Louise Hay’s best seller, “You Can Heal Your Life.” Last month we looked at blame and how we use blame in our lives to resist even the most positive changes. This month we’re taking a long, hard look in the mirror. We’re looking at how our self-talk and the image that we hold about ourselves affects our resistance to change.

Greta was a working mother of 3 who decided to go back to school. Greta had a passion for helping people and the medical field called to her in such a way that she could think of nothing she would rather do in her life. She decided that she would become a medical imaging (x-ray) technician. A very significant part of her education was successfully completing and passing anatomy and physiology courses. (Anyone who has ever taken these courses in high school or college can relate: the courses are tough!) Greta spent every available moment studying, she even made arrangements with her husband to carve out extra time to spend studying. Her first exam came and she was nervous but knew she had prepared. When the grades were posted, Greta was floored! She had gotten a D.

“What’s wrong with you? You studied so hard! You must really be stupid to study so hard and just get a D!” Greta suddenly realized that she had been having this same conversation with herself for years. Her self-talk revealed the true image she had of herself. She saw herself as so stupid that no matter how hard she may study, in the end a D was all she could hope for. At some point when Greta was a child someone had told her that she was stupid and she believed them. At the moment that Greta believed that she was stupid, she began to see herself as stupid. The more she made even silly little mistakes, the more those mistakes reinforced for her the idea that she must be really stupid. No matter what anyone else ever said to her or about her, it wouldn’t matter. Greta’s image of herself was the only image she believed in, and so to her the truth was that she was stupid.

Greta recognized this pattern of limiting self-talk and began to re-write years of programming. One day she called me, quite out of breath, and proudly announced that she had not only passed her anatomy class, she got a B! We were both overjoyed. She hadn’t had to study any harder or learn any new tricks, all she had to do was to see herself differently — to see herself as she really is — powerful, whole, complete, divine, and SMART! Once Greta accepted just how smart she really is, like magic she broke the spell that had been holding her captive for years and her entire life changed. She stepped into her truth.

We all carry around with ourselves these mental images of ourselves that at some point in our lives we bought into. If you look at just one of the negative images you have of yourself, I assure you that you can begin to dissect your life and see all of the tiny little and great big ways in which a negative image of yourself has interfered with your life. In fact, if you really look, you can see that these negative images of self have seriously crippled you in your life. So why do we hold on to these ideas we have about ourselves if they cause so much trouble?

In life, we choose things which really don’t serve us very well because they DO serve a purpose. In this case, we usually hold on to limiting beliefs about ourselves because as long as we have them, we have plenty of excuses to play safe, not to risk too much, to keep to ourselves, to protect ourselves, to hide. At some point in life we’ve been faced with choices and those choices have been scary. Our negative self images have been just the thing to “bail us out” in the past. They allowed us to avoid doing anything too risky or putting ourselves “out there”.

Let’s take a look at all the ways in which Louise Hay identified that we use our limiting self-image in order to resist change.

Self Concepts:

“We have ideas about ourselves that we use as limitations or resistance to changing. We are:

  • Too old
  • Too young
  • Too fat
  • Too thin
  • Too short
  • Too tall
  • Too lazy
  • Too strong
  • Too weak
  • Too dumb
  • Too smart
  • Too poor
  • Too worthless
  • Too frivolous
  • Too serious
  • Too stuck
  • Maybe it’s all too much.”

As you can plainly read, we can find almost ANY reason for or against a choice in life. We can make anything into an excuse. However, when we are living out of harmony with our soul’s purpose, life is unfulfilling, painful, and hard. The best remedy for a life that feels hard is to begin to align yourself to living your soul’s purpose. Even if you’re not sure what that is, holding the intention that you now begin to look for ways to live life according to what your soul wants for you is the best place to start.

This month look at Louise’s list above and write your own list. Look for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual judgements you have about yourself. Write it all down, the good, bad, and ugly. Now take a look at your list. Maybe even look at it from the perspective of a friend. Would you want your best friend to say all of these things about themselves? Probably not. Even if you can’t see evidence that outright proves each of these limiting self-images wrong, make a commitment to yourself to begin to look for evidence to the contrary. For instance, if one of your limiting beliefs is “I’m too fat.” Begin to look for evidence that being fat has nothing to do with whether or not you enjoy your life and live it to the fullest. Maybe each time you look into the mirror, you still see yourself as fat, but maybe you begin to see other opportunities to enjoy life that have nothing to do with how heavy you may or may not be. See where even a willingness to believe something different might take you!

Do you find yourself reading these articles and making some progress, then find yourself stuck? That’s not uncommon. I offer a no-cost introductory session to see how we might work together. You don’t have to go it alone and it doesn’t have to be this hard. Contact me today!

Where Am I Allowing My Own Resistance to Surface in the Form of Blame?

We all have that one friend: you’re out for dinner or lunch and you hear story after story about how miserable they are and how awful life is, but no matter how creative and inspiring your advice, they always come back with some excuse about someone else and how if it weren’t for that person, they could do anything they wanted to do. The truth is, we’re all doing what we want to do all of the time. Any “others” in our lives can be our opportunity or our excuse for why we do or don’t do what we choose to do. I consider these opportunities – when I see clearly in another behaviors I dislike – and take my own inventory and look within. Where am I allowing my own resistance to surface in the form of blame?

Over the past few months we’ve been examining all the ways in which we allow resistance to change to hold us back and prevent us from having what we really want in life. Last month we talked about how we allow the beliefs we grow up with to serve as excuses for staying “safe”. The month before that, we discussed how our assumptions create resistance. This month is all about using “them”, others, God, the Universe – anyone other than you—as reasons to resist making changes in life.

When we’re children we have relatively few choices. Most of life is pre-planned for us by the adults in our lives. We don’t get to choose where we go to school – or even whether or not to go to school – or if and where we go to church, if both parents work outside of the home, if our parents are well off or if the family struggles financially. In fact, MOST things in life are outside of our immediate control when we’re children. As we grow in age and development, the world opens up and we find ourselves faced with more and more choices. Making choices and thus taking the responsibility from the consequences of our choices is an important part of growing into an adult.

For many of us, the consequences of choices we’ve made in life (and some choices that were not ours to make at all) vary from being minor inconveniences to major traumas. It’s normal and natural to assess past consequences to predict the possible future consequences of any choice. It’s part of our built-in safety mechanism. However, for many of us we become attached to a certain outcome regardless of the circumstances or the level of our ability at any given moment.

Here’s an example:

Lois took piano lessons as a child. At Lois’s first piano recital, despite practicing her number for weeks, she found herself confronted with stage fright. She began to play, shakily pressing each key. She fumbled and pressed the wrong keys in the wrong order and froze! A few of the other children in the front row started to giggle, and before she knew it, all of the other children were laughing at her. She was humiliated. She walked off of the stage, sobbing, vowing to never be so humiliated again!

Lois never stopped practicing, in fact she may have been considered gifted. She practiced for hours a day and over the years developed the level of skill that few ever develop. However, the memory of her first recital was so strong and she never brought herself to move past it. Fear of being laughed at by her peers crept into many other aspects of Lois’s life. She never really stepped outside of her comfort zone with work or family. She built a “safe” but unsatisfying life devoid of any real sense of purpose. It didn’t matter to Lois that over the years she had developed muscle memory, that her body would almost take over from her mind and play each piece flawlessly. It didn’t matter to her that as an adult she had developed other coping mechanisms not available to her as a child. It didn’t matter that she had, in her life, been through much scarier and more dangerous situations than just making a mistake on the piano. None of these things mattered to Lois. To her, the memory of being laughed off the stage was still very real and very scary.

How many times in life do we allow a single outcome to change our behavior for the rest of our lives? How much do we miss out on? How often do we sell ourselves short or hold ourselves back from greatness because of one thing that happened one time? How might life be different if we looked at life differently? Instead of focusing on what might go wrong, what if we focused on what might (and most likely WILL) go RIGHT?

We’ve used Louise Hay’s bestseller “You Can Heal Your Life” as a study guide and we’ve made lists of areas of our own lives where we’ve allowed our own resistance to prevent us from living the life we truly want to live. This month, I’d like you to go a step further. Take a look at the list below and make your own inventory of where you’re surrendering your power to others. Take just one of the items from your list and break that down by listing all of the ways in which things might go RIGHT for you, if you were to decide to let go of the resistance. I’ve provided an example below.


“We give our power to others and use that excuse as our resistance to changing. We have ideas like:

  • God doesn’t approve
  • I’m waiting for the stars to say it’s ok
  • This isn’t the right environment
  • They won’t let me change
  • I don’t have the right teacher/book/class/tools
  • My doctor doesn’t want me to
  • I can’t get time off work
  • I don’t want to be under their spell
  • It’s all their fault
  • They have to change first
  • As soon as I get ________, I’ll do it
  • You/they won’t understand
  • I don’t want to hurt them
  • It’s against my upbringing, religion, philosophy.”

Example: “It’s all their fault.” I’ve always dreamed of being a photographer but instead I got married young and had children. I sacrificed so much to be a mom, and now I’m too old to do anything. My family needs me so I can’t take any time for myself to practice and hone my skills. What could go right? Well, maybe I could take a few classes. My kids are older now. Besides maybe they need to do a few things for themselves. I might be less stressed and angry all the time if I had a hobby that was just for me. Plus, my family might see me differently and appreciate me more. I’ll see myself differently! I’ll appreciate me more! Even if I never become ‘famous’ my life could be filled with joy and pride and a feeling of personal satisfaction.

As a coach, I’ve worked with so many people who are now doing the kinds of things they always dreamed of doing but never thought they could! It’s a source of deep joy for me when my clients are able to move (sometimes slowly, sometimes swiftly) towards their heartfelt dreams and desires. I’d love to hear from you. Schedule a no-cost discovery session today.

Beliefs and Resistance – Is This Really What I Believe?

The past few months we’ve been discussing resistance to change. We’re reviewing Chapter 6 in Louise Hay’s best seller “You Can Heal Your Life.” Last month we looked at all the ways in which we make assumptions and use them to avoid change. The prior month we talked about nonverbal cues we use to avoid change. This month is all about the beliefs that we have that we use to avoid change.

Over a year ago we talked about the power of paradigms. Paradigms can be conscious or unconscious beliefs that shape our world view. Paradigms reveal themselves to us throughout our lives when we’re ready to deal with and change them. Most of these beliefs weren’t even our ideas in the first place. We inherit them from family, society, and our culture. As we bring the light of awareness to these beliefs we can consciously choose whether or not to believe them. It’s up to us to decide what we want to think and how we wish to believe. If you were raised religious or in a strict upbringing, this idea may seem dangerous and radical. However, in the case of holding on to a false belief that doesn’t serve you, these beliefs will ultimately lead to pain and sadness.

Let’s explore an example.

Joanne was raised Catholic. In addition to the 10 commandments, Joanne was taught from an early age that almost everything was sinful and wrong. She was taught that vanity was one of the worst sins a young woman could commit. Joanne was a strikingly beautiful young woman and without even trying, people commented all the time about her beauty. No one knew that Joanne carried deep shame and self-hatred for, of all things, beauty. She tried to dress as plainly as possible, never fixed her hair, never wore makeup, tried to hide her body in baggy clothing. But no matter what Joanne did to hide, her beauty shone like a beacon. Joanne was shy, uncomfortable, and tried to avoid relationships; especially with men. She longed to have friends, to have a husband and family, to feel ‘normal’, but her feelings about herself were crippling. She felt as if she might always be lonely. She lived her life in a hell on earth.

To most of us, being a natural beauty would seem like a dream come true. How many of us look in the mirror and have negative comments about what we see there? It seems counter-intuitive to see beauty looking back at you and to still dislike what you see, but for Joanne, this was hell. I can think of hundreds of examples that may closely resemble Joanne’s, each of them may seem more absurd than the first, but to the person to whom it is happening, it is just as tormenting. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Have you ever considered WHY you say what you say to yourself? Who told you what to think? Who told you what to believe about yourself? Who told you a few gray hairs or a few extra wrinkles or a few pounds here or there isn’t sexy? Is it even true?

If you can’t answer these questions definitively, then why continue the same self-talk? Why continue to hold these beliefs? Why continue to measure yourself against someone else’s standard?

Let’s take a look at some of the beliefs that Louise Hay outlines in her book.


“We grow up with beliefs that become our resistance to changing. Some of our limiting ideas are:

  • It’s not done
  • It’s not right
  • It’s not right for me to do that
  • That wouldn’t be spiritual
  • Spiritual people don’t get angry
  • Men/Women just don’t do that
  • My family never did that
  • Love is not for me
  • It’s too far to drive
  • It’s too much work
  • It’s too expensive
  • It will take too long
  • I don’t believe in it
  • I’m not that kind of person.”

This month, when you read each of these statements and begin to write down areas in your life which may be affected by beliefs, take a moment to look over the things you write down and ask yourself “says who?” Maybe even in a childlike way say “you’re not the boss of me!” Try this one: “you can’t tell me what to do!” It’s amazing how healing a little humor can be. Take a few minutes or even a day and come back to your list. Have you changed your mind at all? Is it possible that given a new perspective and understanding about these beliefs that you might begin to consider that it might be time to let them go? Is there a more empowering belief that you might want to create?

Part of the work I do with my coaching clients is unearthing these paradigms and creating powerful new beliefs to support them as they grow towards their goals. I’ve helped my clients to see things in a new light, in ways they never imagined. One benefit of working with an objective third party is the different perspective which can help you to see things differently when you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Contact me today for your 30 minute introductory session and let’s get started!

How Making Assumptions May Be Getting In Your Way

Last month we discussed resistance to change, specifically methods of resistance identified in Louise Hay’s best-selling book “You Can Heal Your Life.” We broke down the first way in which resistance to change may show up for us. (Have a look at the article “Resistance to Change and What’s Really Holding You Back”. If you didn’t read it last month, you will definitely want to review it before continuing.) This month we’re looking at Assumptions.

If you’ve ever read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, he discusses assumptions and how damaging they can be in our lives. (Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions) Consider this example. You’re on your way to work, listening to your favorite song, feeling all Zen – when suddenly out of nowhere someone cuts around you, causing you to slam on your breaks. You’re freaked out! “What an idiot! Who does s/he think s/he is?!?” A simple action such as someone cutting you off in traffic has now RUINED your day! You spend all day telling everyone at work what a “so-and-so” you encountered on your way to work. By the time you leave work, you and your coworkers have listed off every bad thing that has ever happened or is happening. You are miserable!

Now maybe that person in the other car was a selfish and self-centered “so-and-so”. Maybe they were running late and had been threatened to be fired and were already faced with eviction. Maybe there was a medical emergency. Who knows. It’s really not important WHY the OTHER person did what they did. They did it. Now, you have a few choices. You can now spend all day talking about what a terrible world we live in, or you can sit in silence for a moment and give gratitude that you and the other driver were spared.

Many years ago, after studying Louise’s book “You Can Heal Your Life”, a similar situation happened to me while taking my daughter to school in the morning. Since we don’t know what is going on in a person’s head we can only change our own way of thinking. My daughter was upset because a man in a car didn’t let us merge in. Her face said it all! I told her “we don’t know why he didn’t let us in but we can always send him Love.” I gestured a loving hand his way. Next thing I knew my daughter was telling me, “Hey mom, I think it worked the man actually let in 2 cars in front of us!”. I told her “I think it worked too and the man just needed a nudge that day!” We have talked about that story over the years and it is a great reminder that as we shift our thinking our actions and thoughts can actually have a positive effect on another person.

Every day things happen and without knowing why, we make certain assumptions. Even things that are simple that could be cleared up with a simple question “Why didn’t you take out the trash today?” or “Why didn’t you call me when you were running late?” Instead we make up stories in our minds that tell us why the person did what they did. Depending on our inner dialogue and our “story” these reasons may range from “They just don’t love me” to “They are lazy and don’t care.”

But sometimes we make these assumptions as a way to STAY stuck. Maybe you’re really happy having someone to blame because you don’t have to take any risk and not be safe if someone else is sabotaging you all the time. So maybe you’ve created a story that says that you simply can’t devote any time to reaching your own goals because you’re too busy taking care of everyone else. Or maybe someone says something to you and you interpret it as being a “dog” or “cut down”. Maybe your story says that they don’t believe in you and if only they did believe in you, then you would be able to go out and do whatever it is that you really want to do. Maybe you really enjoy having someone to blame your self-doubts on.

Let’s take a look at the list that Louise identifies as ways in which we make assumptions to avoid change:


“We often assume things about others in order to justify our resistance. We make statements such as:

  • It wouldn’t do any good anyway
  • My husband/wife won’t understand
  • I would have to change my whole personality
  • Only crazy people go to therapists
  • They couldn’t help me with my problem
  • They couldn’t handle my anger
  • My case is different
  • I don’t want to bother them
  • It will work itself out
  • Nobody else does it.”

Take a good look over this list. Now take out a sheet of paper and just as last month, write down the ways in which you may use assumptions to resist change. Again, this is not meant to be a way of beating up on yourself. Have some patience and acceptance for yourself and where you are in your own personal journey right now.

So now it is up to you to spread a little love. Flip the switch and make an effort to send love. Stop assuming and start creating waves of positive energy. Take a moment next time someone “does” something “to” you and try being generous. Notice how things begin to change for the better!

One of the most satisfying and rewarding things about being a coach, is seeing the success in the lives of my clients as they work through life’s many changes. Since every experience is different, we’re able to identify the best tools to help each person navigate whatever challenges they may be facing — And I am here for you when you’re ready! Just take a moment to fill out the contact form here to schedule an introductory session.