Often in life, we avoid trying new things, starting a new project or business, or embracing a passion and we prefer to play small. Quite frankly, it is mostly due to the limiting beliefs we have. It could be beliefs we cultivated and adopted from those around us like family members and peers, teachers, media platforms, or even life experiences. These beliefs share the duty to hold us back and keep us away from pursuing the things we like and want. They act like an anchor attached to a boat hindering the boat from moving and going into new places.
What is a limiting belief?
You might have guessed it from the name itself. This kind of belief is based on false assumptions and fake theories. Such a belief works on preventing you from going after your goals and passions, from tapping into your full potential. And as a result of that, you will settle for less. You might avoid doing important things, miss on life-changing opportunities, not apply for the job of your dreams, and many more because of the limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
Can you imagine living your entire life with handcuffs tightened to your hands? Not being able to move your hands freely, carry things, clean yourself? I believe your answer is “I do not want to live my life like that!”. Well, it is the same with limiting beliefs, they are exactly a handcuff tightened to your mind taking your freedom away from you. Your freedom to do what you want, to pursue a dream, to start a new relationship, to give it your all in life. Why live in the jail of your limiting beliefs when you can overcome them and live the life you desire?
Before we go any further, keep in mind that your view and experience of the world is not inescapable and general. As humans, we see the world around us through our framework of beliefs, thoughts, and state of mind. And not to forget that each human has totally different beliefs, thoughts, and states of mind than yours.
Your beliefs either empower you or destroy you. They can work for you and against you. Limiting beliefs are toxins, they are pretty good at holding you back and blocking you from recognizing your abilities and potential in all areas of life.
“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.”
Limiting beliefs appear in all areas of life. They appear in business, health, relationships, academia, etc. They hunt you down and limit your potential. They do you no good. In health, for example, you might have the goal of being in shape but in the past, you have been overweight and convinced yourself that it is always like that and that is how you are meant to be. This limiting belief will stop you from taking any action and will discourage you. The same goes in all areas of life. Limiting beliefs stem from lots of different sources. And sometimes it could take a while for you to spot and recognize the limiting beliefs you hold and carry in your head. You might be wondering, what are some examples of limiting beliefs? Below listed a few examples that can help you better understand the nature of limiting beliefs:
- No matter what I do, I will never hit a huge break in life.
- People with lots of money are terrible people.
- I will never find true love.
- In a relationship, You cannot trust anyone.
- I am not good enough.
- I am a failure and incapable of making things happen.
- I am full of weaknesses and I have no special strengths.
What is tricky about limiting beliefs is that they come from multiple sources and individuals. Making it challenging to block all the noise and filter what is being said or implied to you. Your parents, spouse, friends, co-workers, and teachers can inject false limiting beliefs into your head whether you know it or not. As we all know, our beliefs shape and determine how we look at life, how we behave, and how we make decisions. Once you become aware and recognize that limiting beliefs are not written in stone. You will start taking action towards eliminating them from your system. What I mean by that, is these beliefs are not facts at their core and they are just a delusional framework we adopt and cultivate from our experiences and the environment surrounding us. Limiting beliefs become a fake imaginary truth once you start believing in them.
“If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you.” ―Louise Hay
The good news is, you have what it takes to set yourself free from limiting beliefs, to set yourself on the right track, and to destroy these kinds of false beliefs and have total control over them. You have the key to overcome limiting beliefs and break their curse. The steps you can take and the techniques you can use to overcome limiting beliefs are diverse and uncountable. Based on my journey and experience, and being a life and mindset coach, and speaking and interviewing inspiring people from around the globe. I will list my favorite three exercises and tools you can integrate and use in order to overcome and defeat your limiting beliefs.
1- Limiting Beliefs Scanning & Assessment
This is a simple tool that can transform the way you see your limiting beliefs and will help you gain clarity on where you have gotten a certain belief and how it impacted you. And it will make it easier for you to set an actionable plan to overcome that certain limiting belief.
All you have to do is, as the first step, choose a topic you want to work on limiting beliefs that govern it. Could be relationships, career, money, etc. And the following step is to list down any limiting beliefs you have around the topic you have chosen in the first step. Ask yourself where did I get each limiting belief I listed, and how did it impact me. Acknowledge it and be kind and forgive yourself. After doing all of that, list down how you intend to overcome each limiting belief you on your list. Make your actions fully detailed and precise so you can assess your progress. This is a simple yet powerful technique you can use and will help you cultivate self-awareness as well. You can ask someone you trust to point some of your limiting beliefs to you. Sometimes we need people to highlight our limiting beliefs for us and there is nothing wrong with that.
2- Create & Integrate Empowering Positive Beliefs in Your Life
For this step, your task is to come up with alternative beliefs that contradict every single limiting belief you have spotted and listed. Let’s say one of your limiting beliefs is “I am a weak person”. What could be an alternative belief is “I am strong and capable of doing marvelous things”. Creating these beliefs is not enough. You have to keep reciting them over and over. Make them your affirmations. You wake up with them, you sleep with them. When you repeat these new established positive beliefs, you are programming your mind to have new beliefs installed and to get rid of outdated limiting beliefs. For each limiting belief, write a contradicting belief you want to instill into your mind.
3- Re-engineer Your Surrounding
If you keep hanging around those who cast limiting beliefs in your mind, nothing will change and things will get worse and you find yourself drowning in the dirt of limiting beliefs. I understand and I know it is hard and nearly impossible to abandon some of these people especially if they are family members or close friends. My suggestion to you is to have an honest conversation with that person and explain your point to her/him and ask them politely to stop projecting their own limiting beliefs on you. Another suggestion is, you can walk away from any conversation with that person if it is related to that specific limiting belief. This way, you do not have to abandon any loved one and you get to keep and nurture your relationship with them.
By the end of this article, I invite you to keep doing these steps over and over. Keep revisiting them and assessing your progress. And remember, that it is a continuous journey as beliefs are what make our experiences and reality. Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Always challenge your own ideas and beliefs and frameworks of thinking. Learn and test new ideas and beliefs. Do not be your own enemy. Be open-minded and question your beliefs and work on your growth. Adopt beliefs that empower you and help you tap into your potential.