Limiting beliefs are deeply ingrained thoughts or beliefs that we hold about ourselves, others, or the world around us. These beliefs are often formed early on in life and can be reinforced by repeated experiences or feedback from others. Limiting beliefs can have a negative impact on our lives, preventing us from achieving our goals and fulfilling our potential. In this article, we will explore what limiting beliefs are, how they can negatively impact our lives, and how to change them.
What are limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are beliefs that we hold about ourselves or the world that limit us in some way. They can be conscious or subconscious and often stem from past experiences, cultural conditioning, or self-talk. Here are just a few examples:
- I’m not smart enough to do that
- I’m not good enough
- I don’t have enough experience
- I’m too old/young to do that
- It’s too risky to try that
- Success is only for certain people
Limiting beliefs can be self-defeating and prevent us from reaching our full potential. They can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. They can also prevent us from taking risks, trying new things, and pursuing our goals.
How can Limiting Beliefs Impact your Life?
Limiting beliefs can have a negative impact on every aspect of your life, from your career to your personal relationships. Here are some ways in which limiting beliefs can impact your life:
- They can hold you back from pursuing your goals: Limiting beliefs can prevent you from taking risks and pursuing your dreams. You may believe that you’re not good enough or that you don’t have the necessary skills to achieve your goals.
- They can lower your self-esteem: When you believe that you’re not good enough or that you don’t have what it takes to succeed, it can lead to feelings of low self-esteem. Learn more about increasing your self-confidence here: Increase Confidence in 3 Steps
- They can create anxiety and depression: Limiting beliefs can cause you to feel anxious or depressed, especially when you feel stuck or unable to move forward.
- They can affect your relationships: If you believe that you’re not good enough, it can affect your relationships with others. You may avoid social situations or feel that you’re not worthy of love or respect.
How to Change Your Beliefs
Changing your beliefs is possible, but it requires awareness, commitment, and persistence. Here are some steps you can take to change your limiting beliefs:
- Identify your limiting beliefs: The first step in changing your limiting beliefs is to identify them. Start by paying attention to your self-talk and the thoughts that come up when you’re faced with a challenge or opportunity. Journaling is also a great way to identify limiting beliefs. This article will help you get started: Journaling for Self-Discovery.
- Challenge your limiting beliefs: Once you’ve identified your limiting beliefs, challenge them. Ask yourself if they’re true or if they’re just assumptions you’ve made based on past experiences or cultural conditioning.
- Reframe your limiting beliefs: Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, reframe your limiting beliefs to focus on what you can do. For example, instead of thinking “I’m not good enough,” think “I may not be perfect, but I have skills and qualities that make me valuable.”
- Take action: To overcome your limiting beliefs, you need to take action. Start small by doing something that scares you or taking a step towards your goals. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and keep pushing yourself to grow and learn. You can learn more about how to increase your confidence to take action here:
- Surround yourself with positive influences: Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support your goals. Read books or listen to podcasts that inspire you and challenge you to think differently. And if you struggle with setting boundaries with those people that are not so good for you, this article might help: Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Relationships
An Example of a Limiting Word
There’s a word, a word we tend to use so effortlessly and often that we don’t even realize the damage it is doing to our mindset and the mindset of those we love. This word destroys hopes, dreams, goals, confidence, courage, and learning. Ultimately, it hinders success. If you were to track how often you hear it in a day you’d be amazed, and not in a good way. Let’s talk about what this powerful (or powerless) word is, why it is limiting your beliefs about yourself, and why you should eliminate it from your vocabulary.
The word is “can’t.”
This word is learned at a young age. We are told when we are two years old that we “can’t” do lots of things. Before long, we begin to say it when things are too hard. “Mommy, I can’t tie my shoes. I need help.” That may sound innocent enough but take a step back and think about that statement and how it was reinforced in your life.
Can’t is a permanent state of being. It implies we are incapable of performing a task. And doesn’t that sound a bit like a victim, like you have no control over your ability to ever learn, try, or achieve? If your parent reinforced this victim mentality by saying, “Come here, I’ll do it for you,” what message does that send? Before you think I’m crazy, I’m not saying parents shouldn’t help their kids be successful. I’m suggesting the idea of being a victim is deeply rooted in that word at a young age.
“You can’t sing.”
“You can’t run very fast.”
“You can’t draw, write, or excel at math or science.”
You get the idea.
Before you know it, you’re 20 years down the road still believing you “can’t” do something and it’s just not true. How’s that for being a powerful (or power-sucking) word?
This is just one example of how words shape our beliefs. Limiting beliefs are deeply ingrained from childhood. Maybe we weren’t good at math or science in 3rd grade. That doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of learning it today. It’s likely you have compared yourself to someone else at some point and come to the conclusion that you don’t have and never could have the skills or capacity necessary to succeed. This just isn’t true. It’s a limiting belief you need to explore.
In conclusion, limiting beliefs can have a negative impact on our lives, but they are not set in stone. With awareness, commitment, and persistence, we can overcome our limiting beliefs.
If you want to change your life, start by checking the words you are using, both internally and externally. Awareness is really the first step to change. Once you are aware create more empowering beliefs that serve you.