Limiting beliefs are false beliefs, thoughts or opinions that one thinks to be the truth. They often have an adverse effect on one’s life both by keeping them from progressing and growing on a professional and personal level. In many instances, limiting beliefs can be just plain old-fashioned false. However, for the purpose of this article, we will concentrate on the latter – intentional limiting beliefs.
It seems to make intuitive sense that limiting beliefs should be “corrected” by empowering beliefs. Yet, it is often surprisingly difficult to get a person to think or even to believe that they are wrong. When a belief is challenged, it usually just starts to retreat back into the subconscious. And even when corrected, these limiting beliefs often come right back because our defenses are always in place to protect us from what we don’t want to experience.
If you’ve had a major life-alignment event, you may have experienced some self-limiting beliefs. You may even have experienced the opposite, positive self-limiting beliefs. Here are some common self-limiting beliefs that you’ve probably held since childhood:
The “I’m too smart to get hurt” kind of belief. This kind of belief keeps you stuck in linear thought from childhood on and it keeps you from doing anything in your life to grow yourself out of it. You have a hard time accepting uncertainty or change. Common limiting belief is that you won’t be successful unless you’re rich, smart, or have a lot of money. And so, if you feel like there’s no way out of your limiting beliefs, you keep pushing forward into the next goal, creating more frustration.
The “if I can’t do it, I’ll never be happy” kind of belief. This type of limiting beliefs keeps you from pursuing your dreams and goals. You feel like everything you do is not productive. Your main problem is not the outcome, but the thought that you can’t achieve it no matter what.
The “what if I fail” kind of limiting beliefs. If you’ve ever had a setback, you know this kind of belief can paralyze you. You worry about it constantly and it affects every aspect of your life. This type of limiting belief makes it impossible to leave your home, drive to work, or accomplish any task. If you’ve got one, learn how to eliminate it by replacing it with a more optimistic belief: “What if I don’t get it done? What then?”
The “what if” kind of limiting beliefs keeps you from taking the necessary actions to reach your goals. Your fear of failure is so strong that you’re unable to move on. This is a form of resistance to taking the necessary actions that will help you move toward your next step.
The “someone else will do it better than me” kind of limiting beliefs keep you from doing what’s right for you. It’s just easier to blame someone else or to feel that you aren’t good enough. It’s the same as saying that if something is not done right, then it must be done wrong. If this type of belief has a very negative impact on your life, you need to work on eliminating it. The best way to do that is to replace it with the belief: “I can do anything I put my mind to.”
Limiting beliefs are rarely something you can’t overcome. Instead, they are usually the result of a previous misperception or a single instance of your mind getting it wrong. In many cases, your limiting beliefs are not based on anything that happened in specific history or that actually happened to someone else. Instead, your belief is just an expression of a deeper fear that prevents you from seeing new ideas or opportunities.
When your self-limiting beliefs are holding you back, you will have to take time to examine what you believe. In most cases, this will take you to a subconscious level and it will require you to dig down into your past to find the real reason you held these beliefs. Once you know why you hold these beliefs, you can change them. You will also have to replace your self-limiting beliefs with new ones that allow you to live your life the way you truly want to live it.
When you begin to explore new ways of doing things and tap into your subconscious to find out what really holds you back, you will often discover that your original limiting belief was not true after all. You may even discover that your original belief was a very limiting belief! For example, if you believed that you were never good enough to have a big house or a great car, you probably weren’t. Maybe you should’ve realized that you were never a very good student. No matter how silly your original belief was, it is bound to be proven wrong once you start taking action.