How limiting beliefs are sabotaging you

Did you know that there is probably an invisible force-field holding you back…without you even realising it?

That invisible force-field is made up of limiting beliefs (also known as “false truths”) that we learnt in early childhood. False truths are little absolute phrases that replay in us so closely, that we don’t even know that they’re there. They feel completely true. But rationally speaking, they’re not true – or, at least, they’re not true all of the time.

For the latest episode of Wellness Unwrapped, I sat down with Gwyneth Moss to chat through how these false truths are sabotaging us as adults.

We discussed how the false truths dictate our thoughts, behaviours and life choices…without us even being aware of them.

Here are three key takeaways from our conversation:

  • False truths become self-filling prophecies. We are always trying to match up our external reality with our internal belief – so we will engineer circumstances to fit our false truth that, for example, we always fail. Then, when we fail yet again, our false truth says: “I told you so – you always fail!”
  • Finding false truths can help people to heal from physical illness. If they don’t find and clear the false truth, they can invest in all sorts of wonderful treatments…but that false truth is still there, affecting them.
  • Positivity is great: it’s like planting your new seeds for the things you want in life. However, if you haven’t dug the weeds out (ie the false truths), the plants aren’t going to grow. We have to clear the weeds first!

I’ve been fortunate to have trained in EFT tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) with Gwyneth and she is an extraordinary teacher. She teaches people how to use tapping to help themselves, to help others, to help children and even to help animals. EFT tapping has opened up an endless journey of curiosity for her, to which she brings her Cambridge degree in physics, her Northern common sense – and a lifetime of exploring the world and its people. Gwyneth is currently training an NHS mental health team in EFT.

You can find out more about her work at https://efthelps.com.

You’ll find the full transcript of our conversation below and can listen to our conversation here.

SG: So Gwyneth, welcome back to the podcast.The subject that I really wanted to talk to you about today is what is known generally as limiting beliefs.

GM: I’m going to start by saying that I don’t like to use that term, but we’ll use that term to start with that because that’s the most talked about term. I don’t like to use the term “beliefs” because it can get confused with religious beliefs, which is something entirely different. The term I use for what we are talking about, is false truths. So a false truth is something that feels true, but it’s not. So an example is someone might have a false truth: “everyone always lets me down”. 

SG: And that’s a very common one. A lot of people would say that.

GM: And for them, that feels completely true. And these false truths have absolutes in them. “Everyone always lets me down. Nobody can be trusted.” They’re absolute. And they’re rigid and they feel completely true. But logically, rationally, they’re not – they’re not always true.

SG: Yeah. And of course logic doesn’t help at all. Although we all have a logical brain – because this just supersedes everything, doesn’t it?

GM: Because emotion, feeling can override logic. Often people say something like I can’t stop myself. Well, who’s the I and who’s the myself?

SG: It’s so true. And it just rolls off the tongue. “I can’t stop myself”. And it’s such a common phrase. I guess we never stop to analyse. Well, actually, is that true? 

GM: It’s because the emotional self has the legs, as it were, has the power. And the thinking mind thinks that it’s in control. But it’s the new kid on the block. It hasn’t got the legs, the power. So whatever we might be thinking, our emotions are stronger. They have the power.

SG: So I think about this subject a lot, this false truth, because a lot of people come to see me because they’re grappling with lifestyle habits, or maybe they’ve been on this or  that diet, decade after decade. And they’ll be beating themselves up.

GM: So there’s a false truth. It’s my fault.

SG: Yes. What I hear a lot is: “I can never stick to anything. I always fail.”

GM: Now that’s a classic false truth. “I always fail. I can never win.” Now our false truths, they are so close to us that they filter our reality. We’re not even aware of most of them. It’s like, they’re so in the background, indeed they’re programmed onto our autopilot. So they just happen. And they create our behaviour. They create our thoughts because we have to have an autopilot. If you think of the complexities of your life, even a simple thing, like making a cup of tea or coffee and the number of steps that are in that. 

Now when you make a cup of tea, you might start with a thought of, oh, I’ll have a cup of tea. But then all the little thoughts: from filling the kettle, putting the kettle on, finding the teabags, the cup, all that you don’t think about it, do you?

SG: No. You’d go potty otherwise, wouldn’t you? If you followed every thought.

GM: So we have chunks of sequences of behaviour and things, which are on our autopilot…making a cup of tea, driving a car. Remember what it was like when you were learning to drive.

SG: Oh, Gwyneth you don’t want to know what it was like. It took me 11 months. And I can’t even tell you how many lessons, because I had problems with my left and right. And I had to put stickers on the car.

GM: Yeah, so now when you drive, I bet you don’t even think about it.

SG: Well, thank God at the age of 51. 

GM: Or you think about where you’re going or your mind just entirely drifts off somewhere. And then you find you’ve got to wherever you’re going. So all driving, negotiating traffic route, they’re all on your autopilot. And any practical skill, where we don’t have to think about it, whether it’s cooking, playing a musical instrument, any sort of skill is on your autopilot. And you don’t have to think about it because your autopilot is actually much better at doing these things than your thinking mind is. As you found out now, when your driving is on your autopilot, your autopilot probably drives really well.

SG: My family would debate that! 

GM: Or at least safely enough that you’re still here. Whereas when you were learning, your thinking mind was driving and your thinking mind was having to think: mirror, signal, maneuver, gear stick, clutch and all of that. And your thinking mind wasn’t very good at it, because there was so much to think about. You see your deeper mind, your autopilot mind can almost, it can take in more. It’s like your thinking mind has a very small focus, whereas your deeper mind is much broader and wider.

SG: So these false truths, as you say, we are often unconscious of them. We may be walking around, carting around these very influential false truths, without even being aware that they are actually dictating a lot of our actions and decisions and behaviours.

GM: Absolutely. And all of us, we all have them. I like your image of carting around. It’s like, we’ve got this cart behind us, full of chunks of programming on our autopilot. And everything that’s on your autopilot has something that activates it. It has something which sets off that particular program. And then the program kind of runs on your autopilot, just like driving a cart. Now, how did stuff get into that cart? 

SG: That’s the thing, where did it come from?

GM: It came from a time when… now I call them false truths now. They feel true, but they’re actually false or not completely true or only occasionally true. They come from a time when they were true because they were are all learned. You weren’t born with that cart of stuff behind you. Everything in that cart was learned. And we learn most of the stuff in that cart before we’re six years old.

SG: Do you remember Gwyneth the story you once related? I wonder if you can share it now. I think it was a friend of yours who was talking about financial problems

GM: I thought you might want me to tell this story. So I checked with Linda yesterday. I called her and yes, she would love me to tell the story and tell it with her full name. And I’ll also give you her website. So she’s Linda Hollingshead and her website is www.LindaHollingshead.co.uk. Now Linda is an artist. She’s to me like a modern day Cezanne. If anyone likes kind of semi-abstract contemporary landscape art. She’s your woman. 

Well, Linda, now this must have been about 15 years ago that Linda was round at my house one evening. And she said, I can’t seem to make a living from my art. Now here’s a statement of a problem, a limitation. And the first thing to do when someone states a problem, is have a bit of a reality check. Now Linda’s art, I might have sort of said, well Linda, maybe your art should be a hobby. Because there are some people who might say, I can’t make a living from my art and you look at their art and you go, yes, maybe that should be a hobby. But no, not with Linda Hollingshead. Her art is stunning, dramatic, gorgeous, colourful, beautiful. But she was really struggling. And also I saw hers being overly dependent on boyfriends with money. She had no independence and she was struggling financially.

And she’s a real artist, she’s been to two different art colleges. So I just started to ask a few questions. I said, well, how have you tried? Have you ever had an exhibition?

“Well, yeah I did, but I didn’t have a price list. And there was someone who liked something and I lost their phone number.”

And I’m just getting this feeling of being a bit klutzy, chaotic. And so I said, what else have you tried? Have you done greetings cards?

“Yeah, but something went wrong with the printer.”

And the galleries? “I forgot to call them.”

And the common threads seem…because when you help someone with clearing false truths, what you are bringing to them is the priceless gift of objectivity, because this is somewhere where it’s really difficult to help yourself because these false truths are so close to you. It’s like when you’re wearing tinted sunglasses, they colour the whole world and you forget the sunglasses are there. That’s what it’s like. It’s so close to you. 

So when I’m talking with someone and about there’s a problem, there’s a constraint. There’s almost like an instinctual intuitive part of me, just sort of raising little questions and something’s rising up: ask her about money. Ask her about money. I said “money” and she just goes, Ugh. She almost recoils. And I actually pick up some money. I’d got some £20 notes and I stick them in her hand and I just see her almost flinch. It’s like a change in expression. And I said, tell me what’s happening. What’s happening in your body? She said, “it’s in my solar plexus. It doesn’t feel safe.” So we start to tap. 

SG: At this point, Gwyneth, I’m just going to ask you to very quickly explain EFT.

GM: EFT is a really simple, effective tool to get free of the past, to loosen the grip of our emotions, to rebalance our, you might say somatic and cognitive selfs. And it uses the underlying mechanism of acupuncture. What makes a false truth stick is emotion. A false truth may seem like a thought, like a cognition. But it’s the emotion that makes it stick and indeed, when we try and cross a false truth, it’s almost like there’s a force field.

So Linda trying to have an exhibition, trying to make money from her art, she would feel this intense nervousness. It’s like a false truth, is a thought with emotional power to it. It it’s the emotion that keeps it in place. If there wasn’t the emotion of it, you can change a thought. Your head is your inner lawyer. It can argue in any direction. Your body keeps the score. Your body is truthful. And these false truths. All the kind of autopilot programming I was talking about is in the body.

Emotion is embodied. Emotion is not in your head, it’s in your body. What we call emotion is our conscious awareness of a disturbance, a disruption in the energy system of the body. And what tapping does, EFT does, it balances that disturbed energy in the body so that the emotion can lose its grip.

SG: Yeah. I love the word grip, as you say it’s an emotional charge that hijacks us.

GM: So we start to tap, just about the things that she’s telling me. And when we use tapping, we’re using tapping on body points to loosen the emotion, but we are using words to tune in, to bring forth the emotion. So I start just giving Linda’s words back to her, the sort of things she’s been saying about money and about this feeling and this whole nervousness and not feeling safe. And we tap. Now tapping starts to loosen consciousness. So the whole thing is starting to feel a bit calmer for her. And I ask her, that feeling in your solar plexus, that money feeling, what does that remind you of? Let a memory come up? How did you learn that because what we wanted to get to, is the experience by which that piece of programming got into her cart.

SG: Yeah. As you say, she didn’t come into the world with that icky feeling about money.

GM: No, she wasn’t born with it. Something happened and she learned it. Now there are three ways that we can learn. These programmings, they are false truths in our adult life. But they were at some point, probably when we were very small, they were true. So what I’m looking for is: when was this true for you? How did you learn this? Because when we’re a child, we see through the eyes of a child with a child’s understanding, we see a small world, we don’t have the resources, the experience, the bigger picture that we have as an adult. And as children, we can have misunderstandings in which we can blame ourselves. Children reference everything to themselves.

SG: Yes. And they will think it’s their fault, even if it’s things that their parents are doing, it will all come back to themselves.

GM: Because they don’t understand the world of adults, they bring everything back to themselves. So I just asked. Now if we hadn’t done any of the tapping and I’ve just said, oh, this money stuff, how did you learn that? Oh, it would’ve just been, oh, I don’t know. I don’t remember. The memory would not have been in consciousness. So one of the things tapping does, is it almost loosens…. If we think of this false truth as being like a weed, like a dandelion in your garden. There is a piece of it above the ground that we can see, that we’re aware of. But then there’s a root and a deep root and we’ve got to get to the root. And what the tapping does because if we just pull off the top of the dandelion, as you know, it’ll grow back again.

SG: Oh, you should see my allotment. You have to get right under it, don’t you?

GM: Yeah. so it’s like the tapping loosens the soil, loosens consciousness so that that root can emerge. And here’s the memory that came up for Linda. She’s about five years old, five or six and it’s Saturday afternoon. And Daddy’s watching Grandstand, a sports program on TV. Mum’s in the kitchen or something. And every Saturday afternoon, the ice cream van stops at the end of their drive on their road. Because they live on a cul-de-sac and every Saturday afternoon, Daddy takes her out to get an ice cream. But this Saturday afternoon, Mummy’s busy. Daddy’s, I don’t know, maybe he’s watching the racing and his horse is about to win, but Daddy doesn’t want to go out to the ice cream man, he wants to watch the TV. So Daddy gives her and you can tell how old this was two six pences.

And he tells her to go to the ice cream van and ask for two, six pence mini cones with flakes and give the man the two six pences. And this is the first time she’s had money. And she goes out on her own to the ice cream. And of course the ice cream man must know her. He stops there every week and she asks for the two cones and she gives him the two six pences and she gets the two cones and she is feeling so proud and pleased with herself. And as she’s going back to the house, the neighbour’s little girl says, oh, you’ve got two. Can I have one? And it’s not bullying or anything.  Linda, being a generous little girl, gives the neighbour, a friend, a cone. And then she goes into the house and she’s only got one cone. She hasn’t got Daddy’s cone and Daddy and Mummy kind of look at her in this strange way. And Daddy says: “Well, you can’t be trusted with money, can you?” And she goes from pleased and proud to confused, ashamed, upset and deflated.

SG: Ah that’s such aheavy judgment.

GM: Well when that memory first came up. It came up with all the little girl’s emotion, all that shame, all that confusion, all that not understanding. And those words: I can’t be trusted. So she learns from that: I can’t be trusted with money. It’s not safe for me to have money.

So we tap through the memory. Because when it first comes up, she’s reliving it, as if she was that five-year-old. We tap through it, different aspects in it, until she kind of almost laughs. She feels a sort of compassion for the little girl. She’s seeing it through adult eyes. 

She’s realizing Daddy was being ironic. Daddy probably watched out the window anyway. And Daddy didn’t really need an ice cream. Daddy was being ironic. It was an adult thing. And as a five-year-old, she blamed it on herself.

SG: And I think what’s so striking about that, is it’s such an insignificant little vignette, just a moment in time, of millions of moments in time for a child. It wasn’t an earthquake or some sort of terrible, terrible trauma. It was just a tiny little thing that happens amongst millions of tiny other things. And yet it can fester and grow and really have such a huge impact in adulthood. I mean your livelihood is a major aspect of our health and happiness, our being fulfilled as human beings, our career success, from this, from this tiny insignificant little moment.

GM: Yes. Because we think these things must be learnt in neglect or violence or what they call the ACEs, the adverse childhood experiences, of things being really bad. We use the word trauma as if things were really dreadful, threatening, violence, cruel neglectful. Whereas as you’ve just pointed out, this tiny little thing has a traumatic effect. So the way I define trauma, is any experience which sticks with you and affects your behaviour. And it can be the little innocent things because Linda came in all pleased and proud. The first time she had money and she got the car. And then there was just this shock of deflation and the confusion and the shame. I got it wrong. There’s something wrong with me. Now another child may have reacted completely differently. It’s all so individual.

SG: It’s so unpredictable, isn’t it? And it could be parents who are the kindest, most supportive in the world. We all try and do our best, don’t we? Nobody is going to get through childhood without these little things. 

GM: Because as children, we are learning about the world of adults and on the way with that learning, we get things wrong. We misunderstand. And Linda’s parents were the kindest, loveliest parents. She was an only child and had the most lovely childhood, but little things like that, they stick. So then when she’s seeing that memory through adult eyes, when she actually realized as well that the little girl was generous.

SG: So to flip it around and look at the positive side of that action. What a lovely gesture it was. So to reframe it.

GM: Well, we didn’t need to reframe it. That just came. She then saw the whole memory through adult eyes. Her perception of it. She was retelling it, whereas before she was reliving it. Now this is the main thing, that EFT does with a memory. It shifts something from reliving into retelling. Because when we retell it, it’s in our thinking mind and our thinking mind can find more meaning, understanding, whereas when it’s in our emotional mind, we are reliving it as if it was happening over again, as it was at the time. There’s no updating.

SG: That’s it, No updating. And so you feel the full force of the emotions that you experienced and the tightness in the stomach, the heart beating too fast and all of that, you are immediately re-submerged in that.

GM: Yes. So we’re going from reliving to retelling. Because the past is to be learned from not lived in. Okay. So then we come back to the present. And the first thing I do is I put the money back in her hand and say, what’s happening in you now? Oh, it’s calm, it’s calm. And she’s actually looking at the money with an artist eyes. She’s never noticed the designs, the colours, the complexity of it. She’s actually seeing it for the first time. 

So then I say, because I’ve now realized what the actual false truth is. False truths are these little pithy, absolute phrases that kind of replay in us so close we don’t even know they’re there. The false truth was I can’t be trusted with money. It’s not safe for me to have money. It’s not safe for me to have money. And so anything, with that learning in her, anything to do with money, she would back off from it. She wouldn’t manage her own money. She’d have these boyfriends that she became dependent on. Anything to do with money with her art, she would have a nervousness. So these false truths become self-filling prophecies.

SG: Yes. That’s it. Because of course you have to make the reality of your life around you match that internal false truth. So I guess that you would miss, even if an opportunity was in front of your face, you would just miss it or not take advantage of it.

GM: You would not see it. Or if you tried to push yourself into it, you’d get a kind of, almost like an emotional force field. So you’d approach something in a state of nervousness anxiety, and then you’d mess it up. And so the false truth would go: I told you so!

SG: So it just gets reinforced and reinforced over and over again.

GM: Now after we did that 15 years ago, that whole tapping and we probably spent about maybe an hour on it…her boyfriend at that time was a property developer. And she was at this party with a load of people in the property industry and a party where previously she’d have been really bored. And she started talking to someone who worked for one of the big chains, nationwide chains of homebuilders. 

And usually she would’ve changed the subject or talked about travel or something. And they started talking about the business and she said, we have this problem that we can’t find art that will fit with our interior design palettes. It’s a real struggle. And so she said, she saw the opportunity. She said, well, I can do that. If your interior design sends me the swatches and the colour board, I can paint, I can create art that will fit with that. And she did, and she had a contract. She painted the art for the showhouses in estates all over the country and those houses, they said they just lept off the plans.

SG: Oh my gosh. So how incredibly rewarding and fulfilling for her and what a turnaround. To think that she would’ve passed that up or not finished that conversation because of that ticker tape running in her head, which now was no longer running because of the tapping. It’s amazing.

GM: Yeah. So she got that contract and then she’s an amazing teacher as well. And she does the most wonderful art retreats and painting and drawing and all sorts. She’s a very good teacher. She now has a very loyal following. So she started doing more workshops. They’re in beautiful places in the countryside and people just come and they can be from beginners or some are for artist improvers. 

And then another coincidence, she started almost like spotting these opportunities and coincidences that previously would’ve been completely tuned out. She became the art appreciation guide for Saga holidays. So she would take groups of people to art galleries in Europe, or say Glasgow or somewhere and run whole holiday art appreciation tours. And I saw over the years that she had so many sort of like strands and she has been gainfully self-employed now for 15 years.

SG: I think it’s a beautiful example and thank you so much for sharing it. I’m so happy for her. And I think it really highlights how many of us are keeping ourselves small and sabotaging our own skills and talents and opportunities without even being aware of it. Because we are hampered by these invisible kind of restrictions that are just clamping us down. And how many of us are not living our fullest selves.

GM: So we looked at an example to do with money and business. Underneath every serious and chronic illness, there are a load of false truths. A false truth is like an inner reality. And when that inner reality and your outer world do not match, it creates emotion. It creates stress because stress is emotion that has nowhere to go. Emotion is there to make us move, to do something, take action. When it’s got nowhere to go, it’s just like sitting in a car and putting it in neutral and banging on the accelerator, revving and revving and revving the engine, but going nowhere. That wouldn’t do an engine any good.

SG: It wears you out.

GM: And it does the same with us now. When it happens over and over and over. An emotion is coming up over and over and over and it’s being shoved down, it’s shoved down into the body. Now bodies are massively resilient. They can take a lot. But there becomes a point where the body can’t take it anymore. And it finds the place of weakness and that’s where a symptom gets created. So finding these false truths can really help people to heal from physical illness. And if they don’t find and clear the false truth, they may use all sorts of wonderful treatment methods. But that false truth is still there.

SG: Do you know, it’s so huge what you’ve just said, Gwyneth. And I think now in the world of functional medicine, they’re very, very advanced in their thinking. So when a functional medicine practitioner looks at a patient, they start by looking at a timeline, going back from when they’re a baby, parents, grandparents, who have all these things that came before. These things that they’ve inherited and also all these mediating factors. So the environment they live in, the triggers and it’s all put down in a very organized format. So they get a full picture. But I think they need to add to that, what are these false truths, because that is going to be as influential as the fact that they, for example, grew up on a farm where there were pesticides and then like 30 years later they developed an autoimmune condition. And it started from when they were three years old, inhaling all these pesticides. And I think that what we’re talking about here has as much as an effect, just in a different way. And I think we almost need to be looking at a patient and thinking, okay, these are the things that they brought into the world with their genes…perhaps they’re more prone to heart disease or whatever… but what  are the limiting beliefs, these invisible, false truths that are also affecting their health.

GM: Yes, absolutely. And I was talking about how we gather, how these false truths stick to us. One is from our own experience and that may be shocks, a single moment of intensity, like Linda with the ice creams or it may be repetition, a drip, drip, drip. It can be the sort of things that were said. I mean, my father used to say over and over: stupid woman, you stupid woman, stupid woman. Between him and my mother. The things that are said over and over and over, if you’re told you’re stupid. The other thing my dad said over and over was: we can’t afford it. We can’t afford it. Even though they had two teachers’ salaries, we weren’t hard up, but that was his mentality.

So the drip, drip, drip is another way. And then the third is duration. How long something goes on for? So intensity, repetition, duration. However, everyone exists in, as you say, a wider context of their culture, of their ancestry, of their landscape, all of that. And all of that comes into it too. So my dad had his mantra: We can’t afford it. We can’t afford it. Because his father had been a businessman who had lost everything in the recession of the thirties.

SG: So it made sense to him. He wasn’t just being tight-fisted. He was keeping you safe in his mind.

GM: Yes. But the problem with these false truths, is they don’t get updated. So my dad grew up with his dad saying we can’t afford it because they couldn’t.

SG: It was correct then. 

GM: Yes. So all solutions become problems if they don’t get updated. And all problems were once solutions that haven’t been updated. Also we learn false truths, not just by what is said, but by what is not said. There’s so much in any culture, community that is not said, the unstated assumptions. 

SG: Can you give an example of something that was not said?

GM: Well, if you are a girl growing up, the assumption that you will get married and have a family is not said, is it? It’s the assumptions of cultures. Well, there are so many assumptions about what girls do, what boys do that aren’t said, because they’re almost like the unspoken taboos. Big boys don’t cry.

SG: Well, that’s huge. And I’m glad you mentioned that Gwyneth, because, we are seeing terrible numbers of men committing suicide. And I think so much of that is them being taught, they can’t show their emotions. They can’t show weakness. And again, they don’t come into the world with that assumption, but they pick it up and it’s so incredibly harmful.

GM: Yeah. That a man must be successful. A man must be the leader. A man must be strong and can’t show weakness. Can’t show emotions. 

SG: And who can live up to that? I mean that’s a very tall order for anyone isn’t it?

GM: And so boys can grow up and develop a false truth of: it’s not safe to feel. Not only, it’s not safe to show my feelings, but it’s not safe to feel my feelings, so they can get completely cut off from their feelings. But the feelings are very alive, they don’t die. The feelings are all there and they will emerge in an eruption.

SG: Because feelings have to be felt.

GM: So you see how this gets everywhere. And people tend to think about limiting beliefs in terms of things like money, because that sells on the internet. Change your limiting beliefs, come into abundance, blah, blah, blah.

SG: Earn £10,000 pounds a month. I mean, you do see it a lot.

GM: Because it sells. And so much of the stuff that sells gets promoted, gets on the internet but there is a much broader, wider and deeper truth about these false truths and how they affect us.

SG: So Gwyneth I want to ask you about what you mentioned there about this, the stuff on the internet: “I’ve got this, I can do it. I’m going to earn X amount in a month etc” and a lot of people will have affirmations written on little Post-It note around the house how it’s like: I’m earning this a month or I’m in a size eight dress. Now I like affirmations. I think there’s a lot of research to back them up. I use them every day. I like them. But I think the danger is that people will put the picture of them in a size eight dress. But unless they’ve actually dealt with the underlying false truth that’s holding them back. It’s just really a complete waste of time.

GM: So come back to Linda and the ice creams. Linda had probably done all of that: “I earn money easily. I make a living from my art” and all the affirmations and the Post-It notes and everything. But these, I call them time capsules, that ice cream memory, that’s a time capsule. None of the affirmations clear and release what’s in those time capsules. They just kind of create a false positivity. But still, there are these landmines. You’re planting in your field, but there are landmines underneath it.

SG: Yeah. And I think there’s so much false positivity. If you just scroll through Instagram, there’s one meme after another: “you’ve got this, you’re smashing it.” And we can all say that can’t we, and we can all look in the mirror and say: “yeah I love myself. I’m amazing. I’m earning this.” But as you say, it’s false. And it’s not marrying up with this inner false truth.

GM: Because it sells, all that “yes I’m smashing it”. It sells. And all these coaches who will help you to change your mindset and be positive and everything, it sells. People will pay money for it because they don’t want to go near… It’s like, I’m looking out my window at the moment, and there’s a load of gray clouds. However, the sky is blue behind those clouds. The sky is always blue behind the clouds. And if you fly up through the clouds, you’re in the blue sky. All this positivity is like putting a sheet of artificial blue underneath the clouds and pretending they’re not there, but really what we want to do is focus on the clouds and evaporate those away. And then the real blue sky shines through. The false blue doesn’t do anything. It’s not real. To get to the real blue, we have to clear away the clouds.

SG: That’s it. You have to clear the clouds. And I guess all the affirmations in the world, as you say, is just this false cover. And it would make you feel even more frustrated in the long term because you think, well, I’ve bought into that course, I’ve bought this diet book and I’ve done this course and that and I’m doing every which way. And I’m still not moving forward with my life. And I’m still being sabotaged by my habits. And it’s because people are generally not talking about or looking at these false truths.

GM: Because what they may be thinking is; well, I haven’t lived a life of trauma. I had a lovely childhood. I had loving parents. And yet they don’t realise that the limitations can have, the tiny root at the bottom, is something as innocent as buying ice cream. And finding those things… like Linda probably would never have found that on her own. Actually I’ve got a personal example about money. And so I only realized recently and I’ve been doing this work with EFT and limiting beliefs for 20 years. And I only realized this. I have the other problem with money: I’m not good at spending it.

It will feel uncomfortable. I don’t spend money easily, which is limiting because there are many times in my life when spending a bit more money, would’ve been nice: going on holiday and going, oh, no, I’m not going to go into that museum, there’s an entrance fee.  And I came up with a memory. My grandmother died when I was six. My father’s mother. I think she had cancer, but nobody ever talked about that. And I remember when she came to stay with us and I must have been about four. And she stayed in bed all day.

And they just said grandma was tired, but every day I would go into her room and visit her and chat. And every day she gave me a penny. I don’t know if you remember the big old pennies. When you were four years old, one of those pennies filled the palm of your hand. She would give me a penny. And she would tell me that if I still have that penny when I came back tomorrow, she’d give me another one. And if at the end of her stay, when I had 12 pennies, she would give me a shilling. So every day I went back and I got another penny and I had to keep and save my pennies to get more pennies and to get the shilling. And I learned to save and not to spend, because if I had spent my pennies, grandma wouldn’t have been pleased.

SG: And you wanted to please grandma.

GM: I wanted to please grandma. I loved my grandma because they lived a long way away. And so when she came to visit, I hadn’t seen her for a long time. And I enjoyed going into her bedroom and talking. Now my brother at that point was still a toddler. So he didn’t get the pennies lesson. The two of us have grown up completely differently when it comes to money. My brother…money just flows through him. It comes in, it goes out, and he’s always been the extravagant one with money. I have been the opposite. I’ve struggled to spend money.

SG: Really interesting. For a little girl, it makes total sense to keep my pennies. And actually, it just reminded me of someone, a client I was helping recently, who felt very stuck. She felt that she couldn’t move forward. She wanted to be doing yoga and all these things. And she felt that there was almost like this, when we tapped on it, she felt like there was almost a physical presence at her back.

And asking her about what that reminded her of, she suddenly said, oh goodness, there’s something that I’ll share with you. And she said that when she was three years old, her mother had glandular fever and was very, very poorly for quite a number of months. And she taught this little girl of three to tell the time, because Mummy needed to be asleep for much of the day. And she taught this little girl to tell the time and to wake her up at the point where Mummy needed to go to nursery and collect her little sister who was a baby. And this little girl at three, she would literally be hovering, watching the clock because if she got it wrong, her little sister would be left at nursery. And so what a huge responsibility for a small child to be carrying. 

They were lovely, kind, supportive, wonderful parents. And she had this sudden realisation that she still felt the fear and the responsibility. And when we tapped through it, she suddenly said, oh my gosh: something moved, like something physically from her back. I think it’s just another example of how your parents don’t need to be demonic, sadistic for you to have picked up these harmful things, with the best will in the world, which really influence us decades later.

GM: Yes. We pick up these false truths through, as you’re saying, the most innocent of things. And sometimes parents are going, oh, how can I protect my child? And really you can’t because it’s part of growing up. Another metaphor I like to use is that we come into this life like a shiny diamond. And then that diamond starts getting covered in dirt, all these little bits of misunderstandings and all this stuff. And some of the dirt may be really nasty dirt. And some of it may be just like bits of sand and that diamond gets covered in dirt, but the diamond is still the diamond. 

I think it was Carl Gustav Jung who said: we spend the first half of our life living to other people’s values, lives and meaning. And then we spend the second half discovering our own. He called it self-actualization and I think self-actualization is the process of cleaning off the dirt. And it’s the process of realizing: that’s the dirt and this is the diamond. Because the diamond is still the diamond. Like the sky is blue behind the clouds. The diamond is always the diamond. And you are the diamond. You are not the dirt.

SG: Oh, that is such a beautiful metaphor. And I love that Gwyneth, that we are all shining gems. Every single one of us, no matter what you may think of yourself, no matter how many times you’ve messed up, we are all that shining gem. Yeah. That is beautiful.

GM: So it’s about clearing off the dirt. And the first step of clearing off the dirt is recognizing, getting to know the difference between dirt and diamond, because the dirt is so close to us. We can’t tell the difference, but the more you start to be able to tell the difference. So going back to the example of Linda, it’s not safe to have money. That’s dirt. The diamond is the diamond.

SG: I guess we can almost wear these things like clothes, like a mantle and think that they’re part of us, but actually we can take them off if we are given help, for example through EFT, you can just let it go.

GM: So it’s like trying to wear the shoes you wore when you were four years old.

SG: Oh. And how cramped and uncomfortable.

GM: It’s like you’ve got a wardrobe full of all the clothes you ever wore ever in your life. And you are still trying to wear them. Now, some of them, you might want to keep as souvenirs but then that’s what they’re for. They’re not there to be worn.

SG: Yeah. Oh my gosh. And if you think how people would contort themselves to fit into things, which they should have shed so long ago. I mean, it’s really horrifying when you think about all the millions of people walking around, not self-actualizing, because we are still wearing these tiny, toddler’s outfits that it are keeping us so small.

GM: So that’s the process of life. We get dirty, we get cleaned up and it’s in the cleaning up that we learn stuff, that we become ourselves.

SG: Yeah. That is such a beautiful thought to end off with. And I hope that this has given people hope that wherever they are, they’re not stuck.

GM: Now. I would say that with EFT tapping, that this clearing false truth, it needs more than beginner skills because somebody is not going to come to you, or they’re not going to be aware for themselves of what the false truths are. So there’s a detective work  first. Then there is an uncovering, eliciting piece of what’s underneath it. How is this learned? And it may be one experience, or it may be many. Think of those weeds that have lots of different roots. So it’s a big piece of work.

SG: It is big. And, and you can’t tell long it will take either, because as you say, there are so many aspects to it.

GM: However, some weeds as you know, it’s just like weeds in your garden or your allotment. Some of them you grab the top and the whole thing comes up, weeds and all.

SG: Yeah. I love those. It’s the horsetail I hate, it just goes on and on and on. 

GM: And so we are all a garden and any garden constantly needs weeding. It’s not like: well, I did some of that weeding…now where’s all this come from? 

SG: That’s it, it’s a life’s work, isn’t it? Because we can still pick up the dirt more and more. 

GM: Yeah. So it’s quite doable, but like anything you have to apply yourself to it. You have to go and work in that garden. You have to tend it and nourish it.

SG: The easier thing is to ignore the whole thing and go and buy another self-help book and hope that will fix everything. Whereas this is serious inner work, isn’t it?

GM: Yeah. And it’s doable by everyday human beings who’ve learned some basic skills with things like EFT, which I suppose is bad news for the people selling all the positivity. There’s nothing wrong with positivity. Positivity is great, that’s like planting your new seeds, planting the plants you want. But if you haven’t dug those weeds out, the plants aren’t going to grow.

SG: Of course, because they’ll always get crowded out by weeds. Gwyneth, thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdom. I think it’s so relevant for everybody to know this because we’ve all got the weeds, haven’t we? But I love the fact that we are all shining diamonds, so thank you very much.

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