Self limiting beliefs creep up on us little by little; they surface in different ways each time. Even when believe to self beliefs everything about self help and self improvement are geared to helping us become better people, a self limiting belief can still rear its ugly head at unexpected times and make things seem harder than they really are or feel. If you’re unsure what a self-limiting belief is or how you may be affected, here are some examples of what you may be overlooking.
We’ve all heard it before, “The new belief doesn’t belong to me.” You may have heard this in a psychotherapist as part of a client’s treatment for a self-limiting beliefs or behavior. The therapist is trying to help the client realize that his old beliefs about something didn’t work or that the client needs to eliminate those old beliefs in order for the new belief to be more valid. This kind of conversation is very helpful, but the problem with this belief is that it has been used so often that it has become embedded in the client’s mind and has started to take on a life of its own. Every time the client sees or hears this belief, it reminds him or her that the same old thing is still in place or that the client needs to reinforce that old belief even though the client now knows that it no longer holds true.
Another example of self-limiting beliefs is the belief, “I’m too smart to need help.” This belief has nothing to do with intelligence – in fact, the opposite is true! Thinking this way stops you from doing any self help or improvement on your own because you mistakenly believe that only other people can help me, making it impossible for you to take advantage of the assistance available to you in any given situation. Although I don’t mean to belittle the importance of others, but this belief makes it impossible for you to make any changes in yourself because you’re afraid that you may not be good enough.
Self-limiting beliefs are usually very closely associated with the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. Unfortunately, this attitude becomes very hard to dislodge once it becomes deeply rooted in your psyche. You may have learned all kinds of things about yourself over the years that have led you to believe that you’re not good enough. One of the most common elements with these types of self-limiting beliefs is the idea that failure is always something that just has to happen and that there is no hope to improve upon past performance.
The biggest pitfall of this kind of self limiting belief is that the new beliefs that you create in order to overcome the original one tend to reinforce the original ones even more strongly. For instance, if you’ve been convinced that you’re not smart enough to become an engineer, you’ll continue to believe that in your subconscious until you come to a point where you decide that maybe you really do have what it takes to become an engineer. However, before you begin to spend all of your energy trying to change this kind of belief, you need to identify it for what it is first. You may need to go through a process of questioning whether or not you really do deserve to be happy with what you’ve done and whether or not you’ve done everything possible to reach the goals that you’ve set for yourself. This may be uncomfortable at first, but in the end it will be a great liberation. Once you’re free of the “belief” that you’re not good enough, you can then begin to think much more clearly about what it is that you want to do.
Self-limiting beliefs are really just habits that have been programmed into your subconscious mind from a very young age. You’ve likely had them all your life, but you may have gotten away with them for a while. The truth is that your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. Once you’re able to realize that you can’t always be right (which isn’t always an easy thing to do) then you can focus on changing your self-limiting beliefs. This will allow you to set goals that are meaningful to you and give you the best opportunity to succeed.