A "Shadow Belief" is an unconscious belief that influences our entire lives, tells us what we can and can not do, and drives our behaviors. Life coaches Debbie Ford and Cheryl Richardson have helped thousands of people uncover their shadow beliefs...including Oprah!
More About Shadow Beliefs
Shadow beliefs are what hold you back in life —and you may not even have known they were doing it!

Oprah's Discovery
Learn how Debbie took Oprah to the "next level" after discovering a shadow belief that was driving her behavior.

How to Get Started
According to Cheryl Richardson, some of your shadow beliefs are preventing you from getting what you want in life.

Most people know they have these beliefs, but are taught to hide them because we are ashamed and embarrassed. But you can overcome them and live your best life! There's nobody in the world smarter about you than you!

Do you believe any of the following statements?
  • There is something wrong with me.
  • I cannot trust anyone.
  • I'm not lovable.
  • I don't deserve to have what I want.
  • Love does not last.
  • I am worthless.
  • I am never going to be successful.
If you've checked off any of the previous statements, you have shadow beliefs that need your attention. Uncover your shadow beliefs!
Oprah sat down with Life Coach Debbie Ford and got to the bottom of a shadow belief that has haunted her since childhood.

Oprah Uncovers One of Her Shadow Beliefs
Oprah: I must have a shadow belief about weight...I've written books about dieting. I know the calorie count of every food known to womankind...and why do I still have all of these issues around weight?

Debbie: Obviously, if you're not finding yourself able to move forward and it doesn't make any sense to you, that means you're right over a shadow.

Oprah: I asked myself, 'Where did this come from?' And I remembered the time when I was 13 years old and weighed probably 130 pounds...I was on the scale, and coming out of the bathroom my father said to me, 'No need of you weighing yourself. Because you gonna be big...no matter what you do, you're always going to be big. Have you seen your momma, and your momma's sisters? ... You come from a history of big people, so there is nothing you're gonna do about it and you might as well get used to it.'

Oprah: I remember laughing it off at the time, but I've carried that with me through every marathon, through every Vogue cover, through every book, through every session on weight. Somewhere in my subconscious, I believe that no matter what I do I'm going to be big, because look at all the big women in my family. So I'm working on it now. Now I realize it...now what am I supposed to do? What is the next step?

Debbie: Well there is something beyond that...so you have to continue. What is the next layer? What did you make that mean at that time? How did that make you feel? If we look back with you, Oprah, we're going to find other times when you had that same feeling.

The Key to Oprah's Next Layer
Find out what Debbie was able to help Oprah uncover about herself
Oprah: I understand that it's obviously something I believed about weight and what it can do for you—I think it's about 'You can't have it all. You can't be pretty too'...and I don't believe you can have it all at one time.

Debbie: Go back and look at where you learned 'I can't have it all,' and that time when that caused that blockage in you. If you experience what that is, it will release and you will realize that you can have it all. Most of us have that belief that we can't have it all.

Cheryl: It depends on how we define 'all'...what is the all for you? Maybe you can be beautiful. Maybe you can be successful. Maybe you can have a lot of money and maybe you can be thin. Maybe that is the truth of your all.

Oprah: I have a whole thing about this. I was on the Vogue cover and I was looking oh so fabulous...I couldn't stand myself! When we were shooting it, and I first saw the Polaroids, I just went in to a boo hoo state. The reason is that I never perceived myself as a pretty girl. And the fact that Vogue is the standard for beauty in this country and that I could be put on the cover of Vogue...what happened is after I was on the cover, I got a lot of nasty letters from people saying, 'Who do you think you are?' And what I recognized inside myself is that I backed down saying, 'OK, I am not that person.'

Debbie: Really what you're saying is 'If I am everything, they won't like me.' That is very common for most of us—If I'm too pretty, or I'm too articulate or too successful, or if I have too much love...[they won't like me.] When you were on the cover of Vogue, that was your moment of having it all, and then you got nasty letters. So I bet if you look, that caused you pain.
Oprah: I was very hurt. But what I learned is that you have to be willing to stand inside yourself and say 'This is who I am,' and not back down to it.

Another Important Connection
After we were done taping last week, I met privately with Debbie because I didn't want to be boo hooing on TV, and I was surprised when I made another important connection. Growing up, I had done a lot of special things, being an orator, winning contests and putting myself through college speakings. After every one of those things that I ever won, my father and stepmother would say, 'It's no big deal. Don't make a big deal about it. Don't think you're special because you've won...'

In going through this process with Debbie, Oprah found what she made that mean for her in her life.

Oprah: What the belief became for me was 'Don't make a big deal about any success.' What we found in going through all of this, and this took a long time with Debbie, is that that has worked to my advantage because it is certainly one of the reasons I why I can say, 'Nothing goes to my head. I don't make a big deal about it. I take everything in stride, I don't think I'm better than anyone else.'...because I was trained in my head. But Marianne Williamson has said in her book Return to Love that 'It's not our darkness we are afraid of, it is really our light.' So, part of not really honoring who you are, what you have accomplished and acknowledging that what you have is special is also a way of putting yourself down and not letting you be all that you can be. That was big...HUGE...once I got it, I said, 'Oh, I got it!'
Life coach Debbie Ford says that we can all find what is holding us back in life. Start with these three steps and simple exercises. Debbie says, "To go deeper, you have to be radically honest with yourself. All of your emotions are there to guide you."

Step One: Get in touch with your pain and emotions. "You can't heal if you can't feel," says Debbie.

Step Two: Once you're feeling that pain or emotion, try and connect it to your past to uncover where that pattern of pain began.

Step Three: Embark on a healing ritual that will help you surrender that pain and anger once and for all.
Shadow beliefs cause us to make the same mistakes over and over again. Try these simple exercises for uncovering these beliefs.

Exercise One
For one week, whenever you find yourself overreacting to another person's behavior, ask yourself: What traits in that person are you trying to disown in yourself?

Exercise Two
Also, make a list of the advice you give others and ask yourself if the advice is appropriate for your life. Cheryl Richardson often says, "We often teach what we need to learn."


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