What are self limiting beliefs?
To understand why we need to eliminate self limiting beliefs, we first need to have an understanding of what they are.
A belief is something that we believe or accept as true. We might believe something based on a fact, an opinion or an assumption. When we believe something, we might not have immediate personal knowledge but we are satisfied that something is the way it is.
Our beliefs are therefore not necessarily accurate or true. When we hold a belief, we tend to look for reinforcing evidence to ‘prove’ that our belief is in fact true. We might also ignore evidence that does not support our beliefs, because after all, we don’t like to be wrong! We don’t really seek to question our beliefs, because in our minds, our beliefs are true – why would we question otherwise?
You form beliefs about yourself from a very young age, and you hang on to those beliefs, even when sometimes you see evidence that conflicts with your beliefs. Those beliefs can be hard to shake, because sometimes they have taken years to form. They were formed based on your observations, things that were said to you, what you heard, and what you experienced.
This is what makes self limiting beliefs so dangerous. Our self limiting beliefs are taken as ‘truths’ as they are based on our assumptions, selective ‘evidence’, and ours and others’ prejudices.
Here’s a few examples of self limiting beliefs:
- I’m too old to learn something new
- I don’t have enough money to start a new business
- I cannot be successful
- Only other people have good luck
- If I try something new I will just fail
- If I try to change my life and improve myself I will only end up being disappointed
- Success doesn’t happen to people like me
- I’ve never been successful and that will not ever change
- I’m not attractive enough to be successful
- I’m not smart enough to improve my situation
- I am too busy to be able to ever change my career
- If I try I will fail
- If I try something else, others will judge me
- My friends and family will think it’s stupid if I try something new
- If I fail at this it will just reinforce that Ii should never have started
- I wouldn’t know where to start
- I don’t have enough motivation to be successful
- I don’t have enough experience to succeed
- I don’t have the personality to make this work
- I’m too scared to ask for help
- I don’t want to lose everything
- I don’t want to be worse off
Our beliefs help us to feel safe, which might sound counter-intuitive when they are beliefs that hold us back.
There are so many self limiting beliefs that can cripple us and leave us in situations that we feel can never change.
This is why it’s so important that we regularly challenge our beliefs, particularly when they are the beliefs that prevent us from improving our situation.
How to overcome limiting beliefs
It is no easy task to overcome limiting beliefs. However, you can take active steps to remove self limiting beliefs.
Think about a self limiting belief you currently have that is preventing you from moving forward.
Examine your belief – break it down and challenge it by considering the following questions:
- Where does this belief come from?
- Is this my own belief?
- Have I adopted this belief from someone else?
- Why do I think this belief is true?
- Does this belief help me?
- Does this belief hold me back?
Based on this, what is my new belief? What is YOUR story going to be?
You are in charge of writing your story.
Reframe self limiting beliefs
We can also use the art of reframing. This means we can take a step back from our belief and consider the frame or lens through which we have created that reality. We still need to ask ourselves the questions we asked ourselves above, such as where does this come from and why do I think it is true. We then need to consider looking at it through an alternative lens.
When you reframe it, you are basically saying to yourself “I’m going to look at this in another way.” To do this you need to challenge the beliefs. Look at it from another frame, and change the frame to reverse the meaning. Examples of this include:
Turning a problem into an opportunity (e.g. “I don’t have enough money to start a new business” might become “I’m going to find a business that doesn’t require any money to start – I know they exist, I just need to find the right one for me”.)
Seeing a weakness as a strength (e.g. “I don’t have enough experience” might become “I can look at this with fresh eyes.”)
Something that seems impossible is possible (e.g. “People like me aren’t successful” might become “There are people like me who have become successful and if they can do it, I can too.”)
Turning someone else’s negative comment into a positive (e.g. “That seems like a stupid idea” could be reframed into “It would be stupid for me to NOT investigate this further!”)
Take action and challenge your beliefs
It is never too early or too late to start making positive changes in your life. You can change your situation.
Find out how I changed my situation here:
How have you overcome self limiting beliefs? Leave me a comment or a question and I’ll be happy to help you out!