Every one of us exits childhood with our own unique cocktail of patterns, programming, beliefs, habits, preferences, expectations, and mind viruses. Some of these ingrained pieces of our psyche are positive, such as saying please and thank you, brushing our teeth every day, and, hopefully, believing that education is important. However, we also enter adulthood with our share of wounds and neurotic tendencies. At a more subtle level, we are also programmed with certain beliefs and fears that limit our lives—mind viruses. These viruses do not display obvious symptoms, they are common ailments for many people, and we rarely have cause to question their existence. Our innocent, undiscerning child minds are easy victims for these persistent parasites.

Mind viruses are conditioned fears or beliefs that spread from one person to another.

They are very contagious and often undetectable. They are “passed down” to us by the attitudes and beliefs of others, including our parents, family members, friends, the media, teachers, and society in general. As long as these viruses remain unconscious (we are not aware of them) the conditioned fears associated with them can be dangerous because they can hold us back from achieving our fullest potential. For example, if we have heard all of our lives that money is the root of all evil then we may unconsciously create situations that limit our financial success.

Below is a list of some common “viruses” that we are often exposed to while growing up. They are so “normal” that we rarely question their validity or consider how they affect our belief systems or cause unconscious fears. Of course, to some degree there is truth behind many of them, and those who exposed us to them often had good intentions. Consider which of the mind viruses below may be part of the legacy of your childhood upbringing. If you can see how these beliefs are limiting your life, I encourage you to consider eliminating them.

“Money is the root of all evil.”
Good intention: money does not bring happiness and can cause corruption
Conditioned fear: negative association with having money; it turns you into a bad person
Potential limits: unconsciously avoiding or sabotaging financial success to avoid the “negative qualities” you believe you’ll develop if you have money

“Finish your plate. There are starving people in the world.”
Good intention: don’t be wasteful with food and have compassion for others
Conditioned fear: food scarcity or guilt for having more resources than others
Potential limits: overeating and health problems or holding yourself back to avoid feeling guilty over having more opportunity than others

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
Good intention: be intelligent in regards to how you spend your money
Conditioned fear: money scarcity; feeling that there is not enough and money is hard to acquire
Potential limits: not believing you can have what you want if it involves having money and therefore not going for it

“Don’t burn your bridges.”
Good intention: keep good relationships with people who may one day be a resource for you
Conditioned fear: apprehension to do what you know is right for you if you feel it will make someone disapprove of or reject you
Potential limits: not making a change or taking an opportunity when it comes out of fear of disappointing, offending, or otherwise burning a bridge

“No pain no gain.”
Good intention: the reward is worth the struggle
Conditioned fear: the belief that in order to be successful one must suffer
Potential limits: choosing not to make changes or go for what you want because you feel it will be difficult or painful, holding yourself back from success, or you may choose to self sabotage the process to make it harder than necessary

“Life is hard.”
Good intention: accepting that pain and struggle are a normal part of being human
Conditioned fear: there is no hope of you feeling at ease or happy in life
Potential limits: feeling discouraged and hopeless; accepting difficulties or unnecessary suffering because you believe it is normal or expected

“No one ever said life is fair.”
Good intention: sometimes things seem unfair, but it is okay
Conditioned fear: you will not get what you deserve, and there is no justice in the world
Potential limits: you may hold yourself back, feeling like it will not pay off, or you may develop feelings of hopelessness
“Good things come to those who wait.”
Good intention: it is important to be patient and it’s worth the wait
Conditioned fear: you have to wait a long time to get what you want; it can’t be easy
Potential limits: a feeling of impatience due to focusing on the length of time, and not doing something you want because it will “take too long”

“You have to pay your dues.”
Good intention: it takes effort to get results
Conditioned fear: you will have to suffer to be worthy of any payoff
Potential limits: feeling unworthy, you may not take opportunities, or you may punish yourself for rewards and accomplishments you receive with ease

“Speak only when spoken to.”
Good intentions: be polite and don’t interrupt
Conditioned fear: apprehension to approach others or to speak up
Potential limits: avoidance of activities or circumstances requiring you to be in authority, lead, demand what you want, stand up for what you believe, or speak in front of others

“Children are meant to be seen and not heard.”
Good intentions: really, there are no good intentions here
Conditioned fear: feelings of being unworthy and low self-esteem
Potential limits: avoidance of being in the spotlight or anything that would make you feel important or valued

“Opportunity only knocks once.”
Good intentions: take advantage of opportunities when they come
Conditioned fear: a feeling of panic or urgency when decision making
Potential limit: taking opportunities that you truly do not feel are right out of fear that they are your only chance at something

“The early bird gets the worm.”
Good intention: be early and take initiative
Conditioned fear: believing that if you’re not the first one to take action you have missed your opportunity; fear of competition
Potential limit: you may give up or not go for opportunities if you are not the first to jump on board, such as initiating a new business idea, or resisting taking chances due to fear of competition

“The grass is not always greener on the other side.”
Good intentions: be grateful for what you have
Conditioned fear: feelings of complacency in life, guilt over wanting something better, and fear that if you go for something you want you will regret it
Potential limit: You may settle in life and cling to what you currently have out of fear and never follow your true purpose and passion

As you can see, some of the most common phrases we have been hearing since childhood are not as innocent or accurate as you might think. They are so palatable that we are all guilty of passing these mind viruses along to unsuspecting victims, even to our own children. Becoming aware of your unconscious programming and evaluating the validity and value of your ingrained belief systems is the first step toward transforming your life.

Only an unquestioned unconscious has the power to limit you. No mind virus can withstand the light of your consciousness

Author's Bio: 

Natalie Amsden is a Transformation Coach who has worked with thousands of people seeking to live a life of purpose and genuine relationship with their true selves, others, and their world. Her background includes being the Director of the Adolescent Life Coaching Center, a counseling center for at risk teenagers and their parents. She is the Publisher of Transformation Magazine, an empowerment magazine that focuses on personal growth and spirituality. She is also a public speaker and leads workshops and retreats on Practical Spirituality, Finding Joy, Discovering Your Purpose, and Enlightened Relationships. www.SuncoastTransformation.com