I grew up with a limiting belief. I believed that if you excelled in math, you were smart. My dad was (and still is) an accountant who owns his own business. And my mom (from what I’ve been told) was a controller in a large company. Growing up, I was constantly reminded how important math was going to be in my success.
My limiting belief started in elementary school, when my dad would drill me on my multiplication tables. Boy, did I struggle with it. It would be so bad, that I would get anxiety whenever he asked me a math-related question. All I wanted to do was shrink in my seat and disappear. I felt stupid, defeated, and I began to dangerously label myself as “not smart”.
If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you. – Louise Hay
When I started high school, this label stuck with me. I got 60’s in grade nine math, when everyone got 80's. My grade nine math teacher, who also ended up being my calculus teacher, stopped me on my first day of calculus class to ask, “What are you doing here? I thought you were going to be a hairdresser or something”.Although I brushed it off at the time, it reaffirmed what I had always believed to be true. I just wasn’t smart enough. It didn’t matter that I excelled in other things like English and Social Studies, or that I had developed strong communication and interpersonal skills.
I barely passed calculus that semester, I got a 52.
I don’t remember it really hurting me, except I never applied myself. I had no plans on going to university because I didn’t think I was smart enough to get in. I was perfectly comfortable in having no expectations for myself. No expectations, meant no disappointments.
That changed a little when I went into grade 12. Rumour had it that there were a few bird courses in our graduating electives. I was told that the teachers re-used their content, their homework assignments, and their exams. Perfect. I knew plenty of people who were older than me.
This was my break, so I took them – history, world issues, and economics, and for the first time, I got 90's! It’s interesting the amount of effort you’re willing to put in, when there is some certainty to what you’ll get in the end. Still, I didn’t feel smart. I just felt incredibly lucky. In my mind, it was the circumstances that allowed me to get the marks that I got.
However, with a little boost in my self-esteem, I ended up graduating high school with honours. And the six programs, at the four different universities that I applied for? I got in. I got into all of them.
Thinking back now, it’s funny how hard we are on ourselves. It wasn’t until recently that I challenged this limiting belief. Why did I think that being smart in math, was the end-all and be-all? If I had never heard those rumours in grade 12, how different would my life be? How much would I have limited myself, and my education if those easy courses weren’t available? I had unconsciously created my own glass ceiling with my interpretation of what being smart meant.
In terms of consciousness, TRUE is who you think you are, and TRUTH is who you really are.
The truth is, I may not be good in math, but I am still smart. Limiting beliefs are our interpretations of what we believe are true. And that can be dangerous, because it paints a reality that limits us from exploring our true potential.
It may still be true for my dad (and I love that man to death) that being smart means being good at math. But that doesn’t mean that it needs to be true for me. I can change the interpretation to serve my story better. Believing that I am smart, opens myself to a world of possibilities that I didn’t think were possible before.
So today, I challenge you to fill in this blank:
I am not ___________ enough.
Now ask yourself – is that the truth? Or is that only true for you?
Because the truth is – you are unlimited, you were born abundant, and you are perfectly imperfect.