Limiting beliefs are like invisible chains that hold us back from reaching our full potential. They are those negative thoughts and attitudes we have towards ourselves that stop us from pursuing our passions and achieving our goals. They keep us trapped in a cycle of self-doubt, fear and insecurity.
Maybe some of these examples sound familiar…
“I’m too old to do that”
“He won’t like me, I’m not pretty enough”
“I can’t learn how to do that”
“I’m not smart enough to apply for that job”
“That’s just how things are”
“I have no self-control when it comes to food”
“I’m not fit enough to try that”
“I’m too busy, I don’t have the time”
What are the causes of limiting beliefs?
There are many causes for the formation of our limiting beliefs, with some developing as early as childhood. The main three causes are from family, education and experiences.
Family: Your parents most likely had their own set of morals and values that they tried to instill in you, for example, how to act, how to talk to others, what opportunities are available to you, thoughts around money and what career to do. Commonly, you may have formed your own limiting beliefs based on those instilled in you by your family.
Education: Limiting beliefs can be formed from anyone in a position of authority around you – teachers, bosses, family, or friends. These people are often people you look up to as an authoritative person and therefore their limiting beliefs can help shape yours.
Experiences: Negative life experiences in particular are a catalyst for shaping our limiting beliefs.
How do you identify your limiting beliefs?
Identifying limiting beliefs is going to require some self-reflection. The easiest way to do this is to grab a pen and paper and allocate 15 minutes of uninterrupted time. Start with the categories of limiting beliefs you’re wanting to work on such as family, relationships, health, and finances. Next, write down any beliefs you have surrounding these categories. Then, you’ll need to examine these beliefs and assess if they are helping you or holding you back in life. You may be surprised at how many limiting beliefs you have and how they’re affecting your life!
How do you overcome your limiting beliefs?
Now that you’ve identified your limiting beliefs, you’re probably wondering how you overcome them. Overcoming our own limiting beliefs is challenging as they are deeply engrained in us. But the good news is that we can break free from these limiting beliefs and unleash our full potential. Here’s how:
1. Challenge them
This means questioning the evidence and logic behind them. For example, if you believe that you’re not good enough, ask yourself what evidence you have to support this belief. Often, when you look at the facts, you’ll find that your limiting beliefs are not based in reality.
2. Take responsibility
The main reason why people don’t achieve their goals is because they haven’t taken responsibility for their lives. There are always going to be life circumstances and events outside your control but you always have complete control over how you react to them. Ultimately, your life is a reflection of your choices and your mindset controls your choices. Having a victim mentality complaining that things are happing to you is in itself a limiting belief. By accepting responsibility for the role you play in your own life, this will allow you to ditch those limiting beliefs and achieve the life you want.
3. Let go of certainty
Nothing in life is certain, yet it’s something that we naturally crave as humans – the comfort and stability that certainty brings. However always chasing certainty holds you back, it stops you from leaving your comfort zone, from leaving that toxic relationship, from challenging yourself to go after what you truly want!
4. Change your self-talk
Your limiting beliefs can manifest as negative self-talk, that voice inside your head telling you can’t achieve something, or you’re not good enough or that you don’t have the ability to do something. The more you tell yourself that you can’t do something, the more your subconscious brain believes it. To overcome your limiting beliefs you’ll need to work on the way your inner voice talks to you. Make a repeated, conscious effort to stop the negative self-talk and replace them with more positive and encouraging thoughts!
Take home message:
Overcoming limiting beliefs requires a combination of self-awareness, self-reflection, and taking action. By recognising and challenging your limiting beliefs, you can overcome them and live a more fulfilling life. It’s important that you regularly assess your beliefs – are they helping you live the life you want or are they holding you back from reaching your potential, living the life you want and achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself? Any beliefs that are limiting your potential need to go!