What Are Self Limiting Beliefs?
Have you ever heard the saying that if you believe you can or cannot do something, then you are right? Our minds are one of our most powerful tools, and can also be the biggest obstacle we’ll ever face. Sometimes it is true that we are our own worst enemy and we often are the very thing standing in our way of accomplishing a goal that we long for.
It is often our negative self talk that convinces us we can’t do something, that we don’t deserve happiness, or that we shouldn’t even attempt a dream because we won’t be able to achieve it, anyway. These are self-limiting beliefs.
How Do We Develop Self Limiting Beliefs?
Most of the time, our self-limiting beliefs stem from an instance that happened in our childhood. Whether they were something we learned from our parents or other authority figures, or a situation in which our perception made a lasting impression. As we grow up, our belief system becomes more complex and we’re able to draw in much wider range of sources from what we’re exposed to in the media, books we read, and our peers; continuing to shape our beliefs, both good and bad, about ourselves and the world.
Sometimes these beliefs are so simple and basic. For example: if I shove someone, I’m going to get in trouble. So therefore, shoving someone is a bad behavior. If I clean my room, I earn a reward from my parents. So I know that cleaning my room and doing chores is a good thing. But, these beliefs can also be misconstrued and a bit more complicated than that.
For example, a child whose parents work long hours missed her sporting event because of their jobs. The child may think that she isn’t good enough in the eyes of her parents because they “didn’t want” to be there. And even though, as this child gets older and becomes an adult and starts to have a better understanding of adult responsibilities, that early belief may be so engrained that she continues to hold onto it.
Once we’ve formed a belief, it’s human nature that we look for more evidence to support this belief that it must be true. This is a habit that makes beliefs difficult to change. Even if it’s a belief we’re tired of holding onto, and something that’s holding us back in life.
Common Self-Limiting Beliefs
Self-limiting beliefs can look different for everyone. This all depends on our personal experiences, our environment, and ultimately the way we view ourselves and the world around us. But, there are some common self-limiting beliefs.
Common Limiting Beliefs About Personal Yourself
I’m not good enough
I’m not smart enough
I’m not pretty enough
I’m not thin enough
I’m too old
I’m too young
I don’t have enough time
No one cares about what I think or have to say
Common Limiting Beliefs About Love
I don’t deserve love
I’ll never find someone to spend my life with
Love is too complicated
Real love doesn’t exist
I’m too ___ to be loved
Common Limiting Beliefs About Money or Business
I’m not qualified enough
I don’t have enough experience
I can’t make money doing what I love
I don’t deserve to be successful
I’ll never be successful
It’s too late to pursue my dreams
How Limiting Beliefs Hold Us Back
When we believe we can’t do something, we’re right. We’ve already set the tone for whatever it is we want in life, by telling ourselves that we can’t achieve it, don’t deserve it, and we’ll never see it happen. So we don’t even try, because we’ve already convinced ourselves there’s no point.
Self-limiting beliefs keep us from going after our dreams and want we want out of life. They make us settle, always wanting or wishing for more.
How to Identify and Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs
According to Medium, one of the best ways to identify any self-limiting beliefs you might possess is to journal. Setting aside time each day or even each week to understanding how we view ourselves, our situation, and the world around us can help uncover any areas we may not have realized we are limiting ourselves in. Once we’re able to identify patterns, we can begin the work of challenging those beliefs with mindset shifts.
After you’ve identified your self-limiting beliefs, it’s time to work on transforming them. This begins by recognizing that your limiting beliefs are just beliefs, and not actual truths. That these beliefs are your interpretation of something you experienced or perceived when you were younger. Uncovering this is a way to confront past and present emotions and allow yourself to begin the healing process while transforming your beliefs into new ones.
The way that you can begin this is by questioning your old beliefs, and visualizing what your life would be like if you choose to adopt new beliefs, or change the beliefs you presently hold. Questions such as, “does this belief make sense?” Or, “how does this belief support me?”
Shifting your mindset and overcoming self-limiting beliefs isn’t something that can happen overnight. But it is something we all should pay attention to. Making those subtle mindset shifts even in the simplest of situations, and being able to remain positive and see opportunity in obstacles is where true personal growth will occur.
If you feel you have self-limiting beliefs holding you back in life, download our free self-limiting beliefs worksheets so you can start journaling, identifying, and transforming those limiting beliefs into empowering thoughts for goal-setting and goal-achieving!