Have you ever had something great happen in your life and then suddenly turn bad? Or had an experience that started out with excitement, but turned into something else? Something like a fight with your partner or getting really sick – something that just sabotages the excitement? Today I want to talk about upper limiting. This is a concept that comes from the book “The Big Leap” by Gaye Hendrix. If you have not had the chance to pick up this book, I highly recommend it!
The idea is that we each have an upper limit that we have unintentionally set for ourselves for how much joy, love, success and abundance we will allow ourselves to experience. Once we hit that invisible ceiling, instead of just breaking through, we will inevitably do something to sabotage the experience to keep us safe within the bounds of the limit that we have created for ourselves.
For instance, let’s say you were someone who believes, for whatever reason, that you just don’t deserve to be happy. If something really wonderful came along for you that would bring you great joy, you might sabotage it by turning it down or unconsciously doing something that would keep it from happening.
Or say you have always believed you could never be successful. Maybe someone told you that early on or maybe you just never tasted success so you just came to believe it just wasn’t an option for you. And then someone offered you an opportunity or an interview for a job position that would change your life drastically. You might turn down the opportunity without even trying, believing they wouldn’t hire you anyway. Or maybe you go to the interview, but you show up drunk and make a fool out of yourself. Or maybe you get really sick on the day of the interview so you just can’t make it.
It’s like the lottery winner who ends up in financial ruin.
This is a real thing, in fact, we ‘upper limit’ ourselves all the time on a smaller scale. Talking ourselves out of opportunities or coming up with three reasons why we can’t do something that we really want to do…or feeling guilty when something good happens so we can’t fully enjoy it. Is any of this sounding familiar? How about the kid whose parents buy him a fancy new car and he takes it out and wrecks it. You finally get a speaking gig and your voice goes out. You finally meet your soul mate who meets all the criteria and you blow it by standing them up or telling them it’s just not going to work out.
I bet you can add a million more examples of this.
So I read this book, “The Big Leap” probably eight times, as I do every good book that I want to really get. And the concepts made a lot of sense to me, but it didn’t really hit home until we moved into our new house last year. I had been doing all of the internal work of manifesting the abundant life. I even started an abundance mastermind group online. And sure enough, after only a few months things started to shift and our dream house basically landed in our laps. The whole thing happened so effortlessly it was like we were floating on a cloud. But then when it was time to move in, my body just stopped working. My back was hurting so bad I couldn’t even help my husband with the move.
And then once everything was moved, it was like someone had shot me with a stun gun. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball on my bed. It was crazy. I was thinking, “Cathy, what is wrong with you?” It’s hard to explain, but it felt like the house wasn’t mine. Like it was too big for me and I just couldn’t expand into it. Like I didn’t deserve it. It was like a whole lot of feelings mixed together. A lot of it having to do with not feeling worthy.
I remember the evening about a month after we moved in when my new neighbors were all about to stop by wanting to meet us and I just felt like I couldn’t face them so I closed myself in my room and called my coaching buddy. She asked me if I might be upper-limiting myself - as soon as she said that, it hit me! That is exactly what is happening! So we did the exercise for expanding beyond the invisible ceiling that I had built for myself and voila! Within minutes, I expanded to own the house! And it literally happened just in time to greet the neighbors and happily show them around our new digs with pride and excitement! It was like night and day!!!
Now I know you want to know what this exercise is so you can put in your own back pocket for future use. And I am going to give it to you, but first, I want to remind you that you don’t have to wait until you’re curled up in a ball on your bed in fear to use it! I am certain that you can find a use for this right now in your life. Why? Because we are always growing, which means we are constantly pushing up against our upper-limits and sabotaging ourselves! You may not even hear yourself doing it because you have been doing it for years. Saying things like, “Sure would be nice but I could never afford that”. “Yeah, if only I had gotten that degree, then I could….” All the while, keeping yourself from any possibilities outside your box.
So we have to keep on expanding our capacity for how much joy, love, abundance and success we will allow ourselves. And it’s really a never-ending journey. Because as soon as you find your new level of comfort, you’ll naturally keep growing and pretty soon, you will be bumping up against a new limit you didn’t know was there, so you have to keep expanding your capacity for growth. We are not meant to just plateau. We are not meant to just settle for just enough. We are meant to keep growing until we die. Look at nature. A tree doesn’t just stop growing, it keeps on growing. You can tell how old the tree is by seeing how much it has grown. We are like trees. It’s natural. And yes, it’s natural to feel scared; it’s just a warning that you are approaching your invisible ceiling. It’s all part of the process of growing. But if you do the practice of expanding to make mental room for the growth, you will just naturally grow into the space you have made. It’s like when you re-pot a plant into a new slightly bigger pot. What is the plant going to do? It will grow to fill the pot.
So here is the exercise in a nutshell- translated by me from “The Big Leap”
Actually DO the exercise as you finish reading this, because it doesn’t actually work unless you do it. Like I said, I read the book eight times and didn’t really get anything from it but an intellectual understanding until I actually did the exercise. Believe me, you want this. So here we go.
Find a quiet space where you can sit silently. You can sit in a chair or cross legged on the floor. Take a few moments to get comfortable. Close your eyes and take a few long deep breaths. Notice your chest expanding with each breath. Feel the sensations in your feet with your eyes closed. How do you know that you have feet, with your eyes closed? Try to feel your way into your feet.
Now in your mind, I want you to say the following phrase to yourself, “I am expanding in love, abundance and success everyday as I encourage others to do the same”. Allow yourself to expand as you are saying the words slowly in your mind. As you do this, notice if any area of your body is reacting or tensing up, unable to expand. Turn your attention to that area, and send it loving kindness. Just send it love like you would when thinking about a loved one. And just stay with it until that area of your body begins to relax. And then return to the mantra, “I am expanding in love, abundance and success everyday as I encourage others to do the same”. Allow yourself to breathe into it and expand. Continue this for as long as you can.
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