Updated: Jul 29
What are limiting beliefs and how do you banish them from your life?
Limiting beliefs are thoughts we have about ourselves that we believe to be true, that do not serve us. They are the stories we tell ourselves that ultimately hold us back from becoming the best version of ourselves. These beliefs often go unnoticed and live in our subconscious unless someone points them out to us.
Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to do the things we know will produce a certain result, we typically stay in our comfort zone and are risk averse. When there is a belief that we can’t do something, we tend to avoid it completely, pull-out before ever starting and self-sabotage our potential success. Precisely the definition of limiting beliefs.
Examples of Limiting Beliefs
Being able to identify limiting beliefs is the first step to overcoming them. Here are three common examples of what limiting beliefs look like:-
“I don’t have the time” This one has to be one of the self-limiting beliefs I hear most often! I am sure at one point or another I have even said it. The fact is, we are all given the same amount of hours in a day and with the right planning, goals and motivation behind us we can make time for the things we want. The more we say to ourselves, “I don’t have time for that” the more we believe it to be true.
“I am not good at” Saying you are not good at something may stem from a past failure. You may have developed a fear of failure at some point in your past because of an experience you felt you were unsuccessful with. Then a belief forms, “I am not good at public speaking”, or “I am not good at writing”. This results in an avoidant behaviour potentially sabotaging your goals.
“I don’t deserve love” This limiting belief comes up a lot in relationships and can push potential partners away intentionally or even unintentionally as to prevent being hurt (a defence mechanism). Some people have much difficulty in trusting others with matters of the heart and have a fear of closeness emotionally. Saying, “I don’t deserve love” acts like as a shield for some to protect themselves from being hurt.
How to identify limiting beliefs
Understanding what a limiting belief is and being able to recognise them within yourself will allow you to actively eliminate them from your life.
A great exercise you can practice right now: Let’s take a minute and project forward. You’re sitting in your rocking chair at 90 years old, now think, what do you regret the most in life?
What did you see? You might have found a telling story about where your limiting beliefs may lie. Maybe it sounded like, “I wanted to write that book, but never did because I felt I didn’t have the time, and I was’t a good enough writer” or “I never completed my law degree’. Whatever it was that you regretted was a result of a limiting belief that held you back from something you really wanted to achieve in life. So what now? What do you do with this regret?
How to eliminate limiting beliefs
Once you have identified some of your core self-limiting beliefs you can start bringing more awareness to them by writing them out. Begin to think of ways to replace those negative beliefs with more positive ones, and start changing your perception of them. For example you can go from “I want to write a book, but can’t because I don’t have the time and I am not a good writer.” to: “I want to write a book by the end of the year and will spend one hour every day working towards it. The more I write the more confident I feel about my writing skills.” Changing the way you perceive the belief now allows you to progress forward; whereas before you would have shut all the doors of opportunity with a single limiting belief that YOU created!
In summary, limiting beliefs can have an extremely negative impact on our lives and hold us back from living the best version of ourselves (they are truly ‘limiting’! ). By identifying what our core beliefs are and bringing awareness to them, we can go in and actively replace beliefs that aren't serving us with ones that are more empowering. As a life coach, I help my clients unveil their limiting-belief system and support them in the elimination process.
If you would like to understand your limiting beliefs, and want help getting rid of them so that you can move forward in life, then please reach out.
Love and Light,