During my career in psychiatry, I worked with many depressed and anxious patients who were stuck in patterns that kept them locked in. It was frustrating for them because they could feel how blocked they were but weren’t able to see what the blockage was. Usually, it took a while until they recovered and were able to reflect on their thoughts and emotions without getting extremely upset.
When I found myself in severe burnout in 2016 after a series of extremely stressful life events, health issues, and surviving almost 3 years in a toxic work environment which caused me PTSD, at first, I didn’t know what was happening to me. I felt awful, extremely tired and exhausted, and I had severe cognitive problems, causing me to get lost in the supermarket, and how to get dressed.
I recognized that something was very wrong but I didn’t know what it was. When I was told it was burnout syndrome, with severe physical and emotional depletion, I didn’t know what to think of it.
I have always been a firm believer in our capacity to shape our reality and manifesting our intentions. In my private life, I lived with the Moon cycle, and every New Moon I journaled about my intentions for the month. Usually, my intentions were focused on the things I wanted to accomplish. And usually, I did.
While in this burned out state, I felt like a total failure. How could I have created this mess myself? I must have done something wrong because I clearly never wanted to manifest the health problems, traumatic work environment, divorce, and the stressful life I was living. How could I unconsciously have wanted all these things?
I remember telling my husband that I was convinced that “this was all happening for a reason although I couldn’t see why yet”.
What I didn’t know yet was that this way of looking at the situation was my lifeline. It was a form of surrender, enabling the transformation to start.
During my recovery process, I found out that the old way of living wasn’t sustainable anymore. The old way of striving, pushing, achieving, always making deadlines, following orders, and forgetting myself, my health, my body, my spiritual needs. I needed to do things very differently.
This was when the hard work started. Doing things differently, but how?
I wanted to live a different life, and I started to try new things. Some worked fine, but some threw me back into exhaustion, grief, and despair.
While reflecting on every change I tried, I found out there were certain patterns surfacing. Patterns related to my thoughts and feelings, that were vital for my ability to change and grow. I began to notice some major blocks I must have had all my life, but I had always navigated them without really seeing what I was doing, causing major energy leaks (this became clear to me because I was so depleted and needed every shred of energy.)
With my clients, I can see similar blocks. These are usually beliefs, deeply ingrained in your system, that are difficult to look past or challenge by yourself. The blocks are always ready to defend their existence because they made you survive difficult situations in your life. The pay-off was disconnecting from a part of your Soul. Sometimes, after years of living this way, leaving you with nothing, the connection between you and your Higher Self severed.
In my opinion, this is what burnout really is. Separation from your Higher Self, from the Universe, and from the Life Force itself.
As long as you are in a stressful situation, this will go on. Stress is a sign. It is telling you that the situation you are in isn’t serving you. That it is taking something away from you.
Of course, stress is a part of life, but it is first and foremost a NORMAL response to an ABNORMAL situation. Changes need to be made.
For me, that meant: walking away from relationships, setting clear boundaries, quitting a toxic job in a broken health care system, and caring for my body.
Stress is survival. However, when the challenges are over, you don’t need to shut down the vital parts of you anymore. The problem is, after years of stress (childhood trauma, difficult family situations, work-related stress), the survival strategy can become a habit. And it created beliefs that this is the only way to survive. The beliefs are so strong that they become blocks in your life, preventing you from changing and living your best life.
It is very important to discover the blocks in yourself if you want to shut them down and live the life you want, in alignment with your true empowered Self, led by your Inner Voice.
What I discovered was that I was constantly trying to fix a broken system, a toxic environment, destructive relationships. There was no space for my Self to flourish while I was busy trying to fix everything. Unfortunately, what I manifested in years of trying to fix everything, was separation from my Soul, separation from the Universe, separation from others, broken relationships, and a body-mind disconnection. Also known as burnout syndrome.
What I found out through deep soul searching was that I was blocking myself with major limiting thought patterns. And I now see them in my clients too. I made a list of four big blocks that are often present, some of them I had to overcome myself. They usually start with “I am…”, followed by something negative or conditional.
Four major limiting beliefs that can lead to burnout:
- I am alone. This one comes in many shapes. For some people it is perfectionism, thinking that things will only be done perfectly if they do it themselves. They don’t let others help them or take over. Others have experienced interpersonal trauma, an unavailable parent, or loss, and believe they have nobody to support them, or if they ask for support, they will lose it. And consequently, they do it all themselves.
- I am unsupported. This is related to the first one but goes deeper. When we felt unsupported or not taken care of as a child (food, shelter, unconditional love, attention) this created a deep spiritual wound. It may even go as far as not believing there is an Omnipotent or Divine presence (God, Mother Earth, Source, the Universe…) to help and guide you, causing you to work very hard and trying to create your life all by yourself. This belief prevents us from collaborating, helping others, and asking for help, and it creates feelings of loneliness and disconnection. What if the truth is that there is always Divine guidance and support available, and you just have to ask for it?
- I am successful only when I work hard/all the time. This is a very destructive belief, that many of us have been brought up with. Stories of working hard in school, being ambitious, and only receiving praise when coming home with good grades install this belief. What if the truth is that if you are doing something from the heart, with passion instead of pushing, you will be way more successful? Another way how this shows up is reluctance when it comes to rest and recovery. To be productive and successful it is vital to rest and restore our energy as well. However, if the belief is that only hard work is leading to success, it’s very hard to surrender to rest and downtime.
- I am not worthy. This is a very common block that prevents us from receiving. If we feel unworthy, we are constantly trying to show our worth by over-giving. Over-giving is the main cause of depletion. This belief is very common in women, caused by our patriarchal culture and the heritage of centuries of gender oppression. If you hold this belief you might have issues receiving compliments, help, suggestions, advice, love, health, abundance, energy, Divine guidance. What if you are inherently worthy, and using your skills and talents and being you is enough to be of value? You can’t give from an empty cup. You can only give from the saucer when the cup is overflowing with abundance.
Of course, there are many more blocks that can be very individual. But usually, they can be grouped into one of those big four.
Try to find out which one(s) resonate(s), and journal about them. Also, write about your fears and doubts and you will discover what is beneath them.
What really helped me in releasing the blocks was working with several coaches and theta healers. Coaches can help you see what you are missing, unearthing the limiting beliefs you might have. Theta healing is a powerful way of releasing limiting beliefs, using the energy in the body to untangle them. Some say it even affects you on the DNA level, which makes it a very powerful healing tool that can even affect your health, and the health of generations that come after you.
The coaches/theta healers I worked with are:
Darling Allegri (USA) - XOXDarling who starts a great new group program August 27th, 2018, around releasing your biggest limiting beliefs to help you past the blocks that prevent you from stepping into your best life. Early bird enrollment until August 8th.
Yvonne Dam (UK, NL) - Amaze Yourself who is a great life and career coach.
Jocelyn Mercado (USA) - We Are Sacred Planet who is a business coach for inspired people who want to serve the world in a purposeful way. She will start a new group business coaching program in September, I will keep you updated on that one too. I followed it and started Elemental Life because of this program and never looked back!
If you feel called to share your blocks and limiting beliefs in the comments, please do so. You can always email me (email address at the bottom of the page) as well, or book a call to see how I can support you in your healing journey.