When I Was Dumb.

We are allowed to believe anything we choose to believe. That’s the power of belief. It’s up to each of us, and it needs no logic, no supporting evidence, no tangible experience. We are allowed to choose to believe whatever it is we choose to believe.

The trouble comes when we don’t realize we have the choice.

For most of us, our beliefs are often based on old information, often since childhood, and it’s important, as adults, to check in with our beliefs regularly to make sure they still support us in the lives we are choosing to create. If we aren’t happy with the way our lives look, then we can look to our beliefs for clues.

Some people grew up believing they were ugly. Or not worthy. Or broken, bad, unlovable. 

Personally, I grew up believing I was dumb.

I’ve written about it before. And although I was reading at a Grade 12 level in Grade 6, I didn’t excel in other areas at school (I was mostly a B and C student) and what I remember most about my report cards were these words I’d invariably have to read: “Sarah doesn’t work to her potential”.

Looking back, I have some ideas. There was an incident on a plane when I was 4, and I became deaf in my left ear. It was never discussed, my teachers weren’t made aware, and so I wasn’t seated at the front of the class, where I’d be able to hear the teacher better. Moving from the Toronto area to Ottawa–a bilingual city–at the age of 9 and switching from English to French immersion before speaking the language, also didn’t help me to build a basic foundation in my subjects. And so, I struggled. All through grade school and high school, my worth plummeted because of feelings of insignificance in a time and place that only seemed to value intellect.

The trauma of my hearing loss and entrance into French immersion, along with the myriad emotions I experienced trying to fit in with the “smart kids” but feeling as if I could just never, ever measure up is perhaps one reason I found myself gravitating towards a more unsavoury crowd. These people expected so little of me; an amount I was able to give, and I felt myself relax into mediocrity. I began smoking regularly at age 15. Alcohol wasn’t far behind.

I am grateful for my experience; I don’t blame anyone or anything for what I went through. My life is my journey, and my job is not to find blame or shirk responsibility for any of it, but rather to look to my life as my greatest teacher. There are lessons in everything, if we choose to see it that way.

When I got sober at the age of 29, the lessons came in like a flood. A DUI pushed me towards making choices that would be healthier for me than daily drinking, smoking and working a job I enjoyed but that didn’t fuel my passion. I had no clue what I was passionate about, but I stayed open to the possibilities. I was working hard at growing a belief that my life was truly mine and that I could create it however I chose to.

On my first day of college, I made a DECISION. After my very first class, I knew I was in the right place and that my life was about to get a whole lot more interesting. As I started truly applying myself, working to my potential in a way I’d never done before, I began to shift my belief from “I am dumb” to maybe, just maybe, “I could be smart”. I couldn’t have known on that very first day that only 3 years later I’d be standing on a podium, accepting the highest award in the college and saying a speech in front of 2,000 people for my accomplishments at school. But what I can say, is that in that moment on that first day, making that DECISION to apply myself, I felt different.

Something shifted.

There was a cutting off inside of me that I hadn’t felt before, and for the first time in my life I felt an inkling of pride in myself before really doing anything to earn it. Simply having the resolve, making that decision, I knew I’d done something HUGE. I had pushed back on a belief I’d carried with me for my entire life, and standing on that podium 3 years later, I showed everyone–most importantly myself–that limiting beliefs are only limiting if we believe that they are true! And I learned that if I kept questioning my beliefs, kept seeking evidence to the contrary, then I could BEHAVE my way to the results I wanted to see in my life.

I wanted to be SMART! So, what did I do? I behaved the way smart people behave. I went to every class. I sat in the front row. I took copious notes and asked copious questions and I met with my teachers regularly to ensure I was understanding the material. I studied. And I wrote. And I studied some more and I behaved the way a successful student behaves.

And it’s in the behaving that we begin to shrink old beliefs that no longer serve us and start to grow new ones–creating new neural pathways in our brains. Success breeds success, and THIS is how we walk away from a life that no longer serves us; by abandoning old beliefs that hold us back and adopting new ones that push us forward, allowing us to become the fullest, truest version of ourselves.

Old habits—stemming from old beliefs–die hard, and it is our job to keep pushing back on the beliefs that hold us down. Enough is enough! The world doesn’t need the small, insecure version of me. It needs the fullest, real-est, most true version of me that I can offer!

And it needs you, too. All of you with your amazing talents and strengths and knowledge and intelligence and compassion and love and light.

We need it all.

So, question your beliefs. All of them. And determine whether you carry any that no longer resonate as the truth with you. See where you might be able to make some shifts in your beliefs that might lead you to behaviours that serve you better, and then DECIDE to behave in ways that align with your new and improved beliefs.

And watch your new and improved life begin to emerge.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. If you’d like to learn a little about my beliefs around food and sugar and body image, I did a live training recently  called:The Truth About Sugar and How To Live A Life Of Freedom Around Food.” I hope it serves you. xoS


P.P.S. If you’d like to prioritize your health for 14 days, I’d love for you to sign up for my 14 Days of Wellness. Simply enter your name and email address up on the right to begin receiving the messages today. It’s FREE, with no diets, products, challenges or catches…just a chance to remember how amazing you are…for 14 days.


P.P.P.S. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. Plus, as a thank you for joining, you will receive my 14 Days of Wellness. 

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field