Limiting beliefs are false beliefs, ideas or attitudes that one thinks is the truth. They often have an extremely negative affect on one’s life and gradually grow on a professional and personal level by blocking them out of moving forward. In most instances, limiting beliefs are completely unconscious and are basically defense mechanisms to prevent possible lower or emotional vibrating thoughts (e.g., “I will never be successful at this job”) from gaining access to your conscious mind.
A good example of a limiting belief is, “I am not good enough to start my own business.” Although this is a widely held belief, it does not match up with reality in many cases. For example: a small business requires a large amount of capital. If a person with such a belief had money to invest in his or her own business, he or she would probably never get started because it simply wouldn’t make financial sense. The reality of starting a small business is much more feasible than assuming you are not good enough, and once again, such a belief is not supported by fact.
People who suffer from these limiting beliefs generally do not even realize that they exist. Instead, they continue to push forward in life despite the fact that their world is holding them back. For example, let’s say a young person wants to go out for a night on the town, but feels like he may be too young to be appropriate for the place he wants to go. He may further put down the idea that he doesn’t have the right sort of personality for a night on the town. All these thoughts take a toll on the person, who is then unsure about his future.
Such a person is then led to a series of self-help books that suggest ways of handling such situations. In one book, he is told not to listen to anyone who says that he or she is not good enough. Rather, these people must learn to believe that they are good enough. They must then become the sort of people who have the courage to follow their own dreams. If a similar attitude is adopted, it will make a great difference to how far a person will go in life. In addition, the person will also find that life is a lot less stressful, enjoyable and full of challenges when such limiting beliefs are eliminated.
The first step to eliminating self-limiting beliefs is to figure out why you have them. This is often a mystery to those of us who suffer from them, but the truth is that they are mostly rooted in our negative experiences in the past. For example, if we were abused as children, our subconscious may hold us back from accepting the same sort of relationships in the future. In other words, we begin to believe that since we were hurt, others will too. Once we understand where our limiting beliefs come from, the rest of our journey to success is much easier.
Once we have identified our self-limiting beliefs, we can work on replacing them with more empowering ones. We can start by re-assessing our motives for making certain decisions and then choosing different ones. We can also work to eliminate our self-defeating habits of making critical but unproductive comments to ourselves and to others, which are common among people who hold self-limiting beliefs.
For instance, a common mistake among people who hold themselves back is saying, “It’s not fair.” They believe that if they say this, they won’t be taken seriously or even realized. They worry that they will be laughed at or even realized, which compounds their fear and prevents them from being free to express their true talents and skills. To counter this tendency, consider if you would have been equally happy if someone else had made that statement to you. You may realize that saying something like, “It’s not fair” is actually much better than saying, “You’re being unreasonable.”
When we use the process of shifting our limiting beliefs to more empowering ones, we can make great strides toward changing the way we view ourselves and the world around us. As our new beliefs begin to take root, our path to success becomes clearer and we can set even bigger goals for ourselves. We can also gain a greater sense of peace and happiness, which improves the quality of our relationships and makes us happier overall. All of these benefits add up to a better quality of life.