Can You Change a Long Term Belief in an Instant?

Dr. Linda M. McCarthy
Best Selling Author,
Dr. Linda M. McCarthy

I often get asked the question by clients: “So how long is it going to take me to change my beliefs?” For some reason, people think that I can give them a designated amount of time, and then at that point, poof, the issue will be resolved. The reality is that YOU and only you can determine how long that will take. Ultimately a belief is changed when you determine that you are ready for the story to end. Some of us hold onto our stories for days, others weeks or months, and still others hold onto them for years. They become such an integral part life that when I ask the question: “Who would you be without your story?” the response that I usually hear is: “I have no idea”.

I know for myself, years ago I held onto a belief (which is usually someone else’s perception that we claim as truth) that if I got pregnant I would never be the same size again. I was told that story by new mothers who obviously had that experience, and that was their belief. I never took into
consideration that I too was able to have my own experience separate from theirs.

After the birth of my daughter, I vowed to get back to my original weight by 6 weeks, and I did. I was wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes and people were amazed. I also had acquired an abdominal hernia from starting sit ups too soon, but that was a small price to pay for proving everyone wrong. Fast forward 9 months later, and I was once again pregnant, this time with my son. I was told that because my pregnancies were so close together, that my body wouldn’t have time to recover and I might as well give my clothes to Goodwill. After he was born I began my regime and worked out even harder, 2-3 hours a day while the babies were sleeping. Anyone who has a newborn knows that you are sleep deprived, so I lived on caffeine which also suppressed my appetite.

I was once again back down to my original weight by 6 weeks, but something started to happen. I thought I still didn’t look thin enough, so just a few more pounds. A few became 5, which became 10, until I was in the 90 lb. range. People began to tell me I was now too thin, which was music to my ears. I felt I had won that battle but ultimately, I was losing the war, the war with my body.
I had no idea the damage I was doing to my body at the time. All I knew was that I had entered the doors of anorexia, and it was closing behind me. No matter what anyone said, all I could think about was not letting go of my story which had been ingrained in my mind.

Then one day I took my children to see their pediatrician. He asked me how I was doing. I told him that I was great, never felt better, and was relieved that he didn’t say anything about my weight. He gave them their checkups but as I was leaving he said something that changed my life. He said “Can you do me a favor? Go home and give your kids all the love you can. Write them letters take lots of pictures and videos. Because at the rate you are going, your body is going to cannibalize itself for protein and you will die. They are going to call someone else Mommy when your husband remarries.” He hugged me and left the room.

I stood there stunned, and my beliefs changed in that instant. I knew that I didn’t want anyone else to raise my children, and I needed to change my life in order to make that happen. That was 26 years ago. The only person who could ultimately alter the course of my life was me, but he held a mirror up to my face, and I didn’t like the reflection staring back. If I’d had someone to hold me accountable for my actions, perhaps things would have been very different. That is why I am so passionate about what I do. I want people to understand that by letting go of an old pattern or belief that no longer serves them, a whole new way of life can emerge from the shadows and illuminate your way. Let go of your story, and find out who you really are!

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