Limiting beliefs are something that we believe to be true, that limit us in some way. By believing them, we think, do and say things that are within in the scope of that belief and do not do the things that they obstruct. This places massive limitations on what we can achieve in our lives, so it's important that we actively seek out limiting beliefs that may be holding us back and also to stay aware so that when they pop up, we can investigate them and overcome them so we can grow.
Our belief systems are just that - systems of thoughts on what we BELIEVE to be true. These belief systems may be well accepted fact, or they may be a complete load of crap, yet our minds have developed it into a belief system that we think is true, that we then repeat over and over.
Your beliefs may be about yourself, the world, your business, money, friends, your job, or the colour of the sky... But a lot of our belief systems started because of our direct experiences.
We act, something happens and we draw a conclusion and these beliefs can be quite helpful, or they make have started off being helpful, but soon become limiting.
Beliefs can limit us by:
- Holding us back from making different choices in our lives.
- Keeping us from seeing the different choices available to us each day.
- Preventing us from seeing our own gifts, or gifts that are presented to us.
- Keeping us stuck focused on the negative aspects of our lives or our circumstances.
And one of the biggest challenges with limiting beliefs is that we don't know we have them and they can be hard to spot.
A lot of our belief systems developed when we were young kids, some which may have served us then, but definitely don't serve us now. This is because we learn and build beliefs faster from harmful experiences. This happens on purpose to keep us out of harm's way. For example if you burn your hand on a fire, you will develop a belief system that fire is harmful and it burns, and therefore you shouldn't touch it. I'd say that's a belief system that's probably come in pretty handy for most people! Yet, some stem from poor experiences and have an effect that is not so optimal. A kid may have called us fat when we were 5 and we've carried that same belief system through our entire lives, even though it is not true, it is limiting us and causing us problems. This is where a lot of deep-rooted belief systems start.
However, as a child, we can't always rely on experiences, so we develop some of our belief systems through education instead. This may be from parents, friends, school or your night door neighbour but they can be so limiting because they are not necessarily sharing facts, rather they are teaching you their beliefs. As a kid you may have heard you parents say something like "money doesn't grow on trees" or "money is the root of all evil" and unconsciously, you've absorbed their line of thinking. You've grown up with financial challenges and can't understand why, but it might be as simple as you learnt some limiting money mindsets as a child and never knew about them.
As we grow up, we are inundated with information from the media, our friends, our family, our workplace and we have a lot of experiences as well that all contribute to adding to, changing or confirming our beliefs systems.
So while we may still keep some from our childhood, every day we are developing new ones, changing old ones, or perhaps reaffirming old ones and this may be happening 100% unconsciously behind the scenes. Limiting beliefs can be general or specific, they can be something you just think, or it can be a very common limiting belief that people have worldwide.
Some examples of limiting beliefs are:
- "I am not ______ enough" (Insert pretty, funny, smart, skinny, tall - or basically anything!)
- "I don't have enough ______" (Insert money, time, support, brains etc)
- "I don't want people to think that I'm ________"
- "Every time I do _________, then __________ happens"
- "I never stick to a diet"
- "It runs in our family"
- "I've always been like that"
- "I can't," "I don't know how," "I suck at that," or "this is impossible!"
How to transform your limiting beliefs:
First of all you have to become aware of them!
Some I found in myself were that I didn't think I was worthy of love, my self-worth was tied to external things (like my job, external validation, success etc) and limiting mindsets about money (that it was wrong to have money, that money didn't grow on trees, that you have to work really hard to have money.)
Once I was aware of what they were, I knew that I needed to know that they weren't true. From there, I could start becoming more aware when they reared their heads. After that, it's just practise. Practise becoming aware, then practise changing them. You could use affirmations like "I am worthy of love," you can do things to prove to yourself that you're worthy of love (like priorisiting yourself or buying yourself nice things that you would never have before) and you can change habits and behaviour that was tied to your old beliefs like self-sabotage, mindless eating, overworking etc.
Another amazing tool is language - and reframing our language to change our beliefs.
For example, if you always said "this is hard" change it to "this is challenging." By switching those words, we change the belief system in our brain. "Hard" implies that it's tough and we probably can't do it, a "challenge" implies that it's within our scope of possibility but there is a little bit of a challenge there. The same with other things too. "Money doesn't grow on trees" could be reframed to be like, "money is only energy and energy is always available to me" or "money comes easy to me." Your mind may not believe it at first, but the more you keep repeating it, the more ingrained it will become and the more likely it will shift your current belief system.
If you want to learn more about limiting beliefs and how to overcome them, reach out! This area is one I've done extensive learning and coaching in and would love to be able to help you because recognising and overcoming limiting beliefs is an actual game-changer!