Power of Belief:
Power of Our Beliefs
Dr. Ben Kim
last year, I started playing tennis again after a hiatus of several
years from regular play. It took me a few sessions to get my wind
back, but all in all, it's been amazingly fun to be back out on the
courts. I feel younger, stronger, and healthier than I have in several
return to playing tennis has been a good reminder for me on the power that our
beliefs have to influence the quality of our health and lives. To elaborate, I
need to share some details from the road that my wife and I have traveled.
a year prior to getting married, I put everything that I had - physically, emotionally,
and financially - into starting my own chiropractic, acupuncture, and fasting
clinic. I was fully committed to creating a clinic that would allow me to provide
the kind of health care that I was passionate about, and my schedule was such
a non-stop blur that the clearest memory I have of that first year was sleeping
for a few hours at a time on my chiropractic table.
that exhausting first year, Margaret and I got married and immediately moved to
a larger home that could accommodate more fasting guests. Things were pretty tight,
so we didn't even consider going on a honeymoon. We took about a week and half
after our wedding to get the new clinic ready, and before we knew it, we were
newlyweds with fasting guests to care for.
quality and frequency of sleep didn't improve with the arrival of our first son.
Thankfully, his presence injected us with all the energy we needed to love him
fully and joyfully while running the clinic.
before we knew it, we were greeted by our second child, a boy with more energy
and natural fighting spirit than Ali had in his prime.
it was just us and our firstborn, we all slept together on a few mattresses in
a single room. And when our second son arrived, we decided to go one-on-one, with
Margaret sleeping with our youngest in a different room, and me staying with our
toddler. We continue to sleep in this arrangement today, as our boys have become
used to it, and it doesn't quite feel right to have them sleep on their own just
I'm getting at is that over the past several years, I can accurately say that
I haven't had the time to go out even once a week to let loose on a tennis court.
And the same can be said for Margaret and her lack of "me" time. Personally, I
don't regret the sacrifices, because I feel that I have used my time and energy
for the best possible purposes in caring for our family and devoting the rest
of my time to work. I'm sure that Margaret feels the same way.
November, an old university friend named Mike visited from New Zealand, and for
old time's sake, I took Mike to a local indoor tennis court to show him a good
time - Mike and I have shared a love for tennis for as long as we've known each
other. Though my lungs were on fire the whole time, it was great fun to knock
the fuzz off the ball again.
we were driving home, Mike asked me if I planned on building on our outing and
getting out on a weekly basis. I remember answering right away, saying that there
was no way I could do this. Despite being on a sabbatical from our fasting program,
I still work 40 to 60 hours a week, and when I'm not working, I'm with Margaret
and the boys, I explained.
persisted, and asked me if I truly couldn't find just one day a week to take a
break and have some fun on the courts. Though I said once again that it was out
of the question, Mike's suggestion lingered over the next few days.
the more I contemplated why I believed it was impossible for me to play a little
tennis, I began to realize that I felt a lot of guilt towards Margaret. I felt
guilty that I wasn't able to give her a honeymoon. I felt guilty that I spent
the first few years of our marriage working 60 to 80 hours a week. And I felt
guilty that she had to care for our boys for most of the day while I continued
to work. Though I work hard when I work, I consider caring for children to be
the hardest work around - much harder than writing, researching, doing consultations,
and giving a few treatments here and there.
of my guilt, I had a deep rooted belief that the right thing for me to do was
to avoid all activities except work and spending time with the family. On some
level, I think I even felt that Margaret would resent my getting out to play tennis
once a week because of everything she does to care for our family, but ultimately,
the real cause of me not getting out was my guilt.
identifying and sorting through these feelings, I shared them with Margaret. And
sharing brought us even closer, because I could tell from her reaction that she
thought I was crazy for not making some time to have fun with a sport that I love
create a plan that would help both of us experience more fun and physical well-being,
we agreed that I would aim to get out to play tennis about twice a week, while
she would shoot to go to the local community center for various fitness classes
at least a couple of times a week while I played with the boys.
been close to three months now since we came up with our "fitness and fun" plan,
and I'm happy to say that both of us are feeling as well as I think may be possible
for parents of two young ones. A real bonus has been meeting and befriending some
talented tennis players who also happen to be really good people. And Margaret
is building momentum to return to her true love, taekwondo (a Korean martial art).
back to the point of this post, my return to playing tennis has been an important
reminder for me to be on the lookout for limiting beliefs that are keeping us
from living as meaningfully as possible. For several years, much of my behavior
was dictated by the belief that I didn't deserve to have some down time, and the
belief that if I did try to make some time to play tennis, that my wife would
think I was being selfish.
beliefs weren't rooted in reality, and they hindered the quality of my life and
my capacity to share my best attributes with those around me. I wasn't walking
around all grumpy and mean, but now that I'm making time to have some fun with
tennis, I have more energy and positive spirit in the tank to share with everyone
in my life.
experience has me ready to evaluate all other areas of my life that don't quite
feel right, and to see if I'm holding on to limiting beliefs that aren't serving
me and those around me well.
realize that going on a honeymoon and getting out a couple times a week to play
tennis are luxuries that many in our world can't afford, and I don't want to be
insensitive to this reality. I do feel, however, that every person in this world
contributes to creating his or her destiny, and a huge determinant of what we
create is the set of beliefs that we consciously or subconsciously adopt.
strongly believe that these thoughts on the power of our beliefs are relevant
to every person's journey to better health.
are some of the limiting beliefs that I've encountered in patients and clients
that I've worked with over the years:
was destined to have breast cancer because my mother had breast cancer. To be
realistic, I'll probably die before I'm 50, just like my mother did. It's in my
can't afford to eat the right way. It's not fair that only rich people get access
to the stuff that really works."
health problem is God's way of punishing me for what I did in the past."
doctor said that there's no known cause or cure."
doesn't matter what I do or what I eat - I simply cannot lose weight."
can't exercise because ______________."
ugly and nobody likes me."
stupid and nobody likes me."
never find someone I can share my life with."
just can't trust anyone anymore."
of the beliefs listed above may not seem related to specific health challenges,
but the truth is that every belief we carry on every aspect of life impacts our
health. We can never be at our best if we have significant friction in even one
area of our lives.
hope that this post serves as encouragement to think about the ways in which limiting
beliefs are affecting your health and overall quality of life. In a few days,
I'll share more on this topic, including specific exercises that you can do to
identify and transform any limiting beliefs that may be hurting your health.
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