Ah, limiting beliefs.
You may have heard this buzzword term being thrown around a lot on Social Media recently.
We all have them. We’re often held back by them. We should most definitely all be doing more inner work to confront them.
But what exactly is a limiting belief? How do we form them, how can we identify them + how can we confront them head on?
Limiting Your Potential
If you’ve ever made a self-depreciating statement about your ability to do something, you probably made it in good humour but, chances are there’s a limiting belief buried in there somewhere.
It may come in the form of potentially harmless beliefs, such as pre-warning your friends that you’re ‘terrible at parallel parking’ before taking an embarrassing number of attempts to get into a parking space fit for a Boeing 747. Or maybe you’ve uttered the words, ‘I’m too old to wear that!’ [Aka me, a ’96 millennial, not even attempting to try half of the latest fashion trends for this exact reason].
These might seem harmless enough but if your dreams were to become a Driving Instructor or Gen-Z Fashion Influencer, these beliefs might actually be holding you back [FYI these are neither of my aspirations but the potential is there if I want to give either a go…]
How Our Limiting Beliefs Are Formed
A limiting belief is essentially a belief that you consider to be the absolute truth or a fact. They often keep you stuck, either from moving forward with your goals or keeping you stuck in negative thought cycles.
A lot of our beliefs are formed through our experiences + our perception of those experiences. If you’ve had a particularly negative experience in your life, you may equate this with a specific [negative] outcome + as a result, never want to put yourself in that situation ever again.
If you’ve had a particularly bad breakup for example or a toxic relationship, you might form a limiting belief that you’re not worthy of love [spoiler: you are] that you’ll never find another partner again [you will], or the belief that all relationships end badly [they really don’t have to].
Identifying Your Limiting Beliefs
For me, a lot of my limiting beliefs were around money + my ability to try new things. For a long time, these beliefs kept me trapped in a job that felt unfulfilling, not being paid what I wanted + stuck in a negative mindset.
Now I’m in a completely new job + industry, doing more of what I love each day + keeping myself open to receiving everything that I want in life.
How can you confront your limiting beliefs?
There are a number of ways you can identify your own limiting beliefs.
The best starting point in my experience was to become more aware of current behaviours + start by assessing your thoughts on a regular basis. Keep a journal of your thoughts + behaviours over the course of a week or two, or spend time meditating to become more aware of your current thought patterns.
If you feel a negative belief coming up that makes you feel stuck or stops you from taking action, start to question where this belief actually comes from.
- Is it something someone else told you [a family member, teacher, friend, loved one] during your childhood years + you’ve always accepted it as ‘the truth’?
- Have you had a bad experience in the past?
- Is it something you tell yourself all the time?
When you become more aware of your thought patterns + beliefs, it’s a lot easier to confront them. Ask yourself if the belief you hold is really true? Is there any evidence to suggest otherwise?
Often, we take on the limiting beliefs of other people that have been projected onto us rather than stopping to ask ourselves what we actually think about a situation.
Feel The Fear [… in the words of Susan Jeffers, “Do It Anyway”]
Another hack to identify existing limiting beliefs is to think about the things you’re most afraid of doing. It might be public speaking, socialising, starting to take action on your business idea, changing jobs.
Whatever it is, journal and ask yourself why you believe what you do.
- Where does the fear come from?
- What is the underlying feeling that you’re most afraid of? i.e. is it a fear of being seen/heard, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment.
- What are you trying to avoid experiencing?
Identify behaviours that bring most resistance to you + focus on how you can reframe your limiting beliefs into empowering ones.
Your external world is a reflection of your internal world. No matter what your current beliefs might tell you, the world is your oyster + you can literally create unimaginable opportunities for yourself.
It starts with you + taking the necessary steps to changing your internal world first.
Follow @theweeklywoman for more wellbeing + mindful living tips.