What are limiting beliefs? And why should you want to destroy them?
A limiting belief is any way of thinking that restricts, limits, or keeps you small. These mindsets are deeply embedded in our subconscious and we aren’t really aware that we have them.
Think about it:
“I’m never going to amount to anything.”
“I am the responsible one in the family. I always have to take care of everyone.”
“I’m fat and ugly and always will be.”
“I’ll never find someone who really loves me.”
Any of these sound familiar? Or does it bring up some mindsets of your own? What tapes are playing in your mind right now? Those phrases that keep repeating themselves, over and over, that feel like they are just a part of you – that they are you?
That’s a limiting belief.
They’ve been there for a long time, probably since childhood or adolescence. They were created by things that were spoken to you, or things that happened to you. They have become so deeply embedded in your psyche, that you don’t really notice them on a daily basis.
But they are there. Like a parasite, they feed off you, rob you of your truth, and suck the joy out of your life. They are determined to keep you small, keep you scared, keep you believing their lies. These mindsets, or beliefs, permeate everything we do, and define our behaviour. If your belief is that you will always be alone, it will keep you from putting yourself out there. It will keep you sitting home watching Netflix night after night instead of joining that yoga studio or book club you’ve had your eye on. If your belief is that you will never have enough money, it will keep you from taking a risk and applying for that amazing job, and it will keep you in the job you hate that barely pays enough to make rent each month.
And if you’ve had these mindsets for a long time (which, let’s face it, most of us have had these suckers in our minds for decades), it can be difficult, and downright painful, to get rid of them. Like a wart on your thumb that just. wont. leave.
Here’s the truth: You can get rid of these limiting beliefs! Because – guess what – you created them! You fed them, encouraged them, and paid attention to them. The more you did this, the stronger they became. But you’re the boss of them, and it’s entirely within your power to kick them out.
I want to share some steps to kicking these guys to the curb.
Bring them out of your subconscious.
The power in limiting beliefs is that they lie in your subconscious. It’s not something you think about every day, so they get to keep informing your behaviour, without you really being aware that it’s happening. But you feel it. Oh, boy, do you feel it. The first step to getting rid of them is to become aware of them. You probably have at least one limiting belief that’s floating around in your awareness right now. Pull it out and write it down on a piece of paper, maybe in your journal. Formulate this belief into a sentence. Look at it. Notice how you feel about it.
One of my limiting beliefs was that I had to be perfect, that I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes. So here’s what I wrote in my journal:
“Today I will be perfect and make no mistakes and have no learning.”
Ugh. That hit me like a ton of bricks. Staring at it in black and white really brought it out of my subconscious and into my awareness.
Align with the limiting belief.
Okay, this one sounds weird at first. But trust me, it’s super powerful!
Every morning for the next week, I want you to write your limiting belief in your journal, like you’re choosing it. Write it down and take a moment to let it sink in. You’re choosing this. If your limiting belief is that you’re a nice girl who never offends anyone, then write it like a choice: “Today I will be a nice girl who never says what I really think if it’s not nice.” See how that’s a choice?
As you go through your day, bring awareness to this choice. How does it feel to know that this is what you have been choosing for your life, day after day? Are you grossed out? Repulsed? Squirmy? Uncomfortable? Awesome! You are bringing it into your conscious mind, and becoming aware that you are choosing it! Stay in the uncomfortable zone.
Notice your behaviour.
Bring your attention to the behaviour that’s wrapped around this belief. What choices do you make from this place? What things do you say or do that reflect it? Perhaps your limiting belief is that your job is to make everyone happy. Notice – where are you sacrificing your own needs, wants or desires for someone else? Are you staying quiet about something that’s important to you so you don’t rock the boat? Do some journalling at the end of each day about the behaviours you realized were linked to this belief. Make sure to notice without judgement, and with great compassion for yourself.
Act in the opposite direction.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Up until now, you’ve been raising awareness about your limiting beliefs. Now it’s time to take action. In order to kick these guys to the curb, you must start making new choices that reflect the truth about who you really are. Apply for that amazing job you’ve always wanted. Go to a speed dating event. Join a gym. Climb a mountain. Sign up for a painting class. Whatever is opposite to the limiting belief and the behaviours that have accompanied it, do that.
Overcoming limiting beliefs is not easy, but it’s entirely possible. These four steps will go a long way to creating positive change. These are the basic steps that you can take that will put change in motion. And, they’re only the beginning. Integrating new and lasting change takes time and focus.
I have a proven structure that will kick these old beliefs to the curb for good, and create new beliefs around the powerful truths of who you were created to be. If you would like some help in moving past beliefs that have been holding you back from getting the life you want, I can help. It’s time to create the life you really want.