What are limiting beliefs and how do you stop them from holding you back?
Limiting beliefs are like poison ivy to a dream.
Once they take hold they can spread like wildfire and kill any drive or enthusiasm you have for achieving your goals.
What are limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are the things you believe about yourself or life that prevent you from taking action. Sometimes they are conscious thoughts and other times they are so deep-rooted, you don't even realise that they exist.
Limiting beliefs are really just negative stories that you've been told so many times - either by yourself, society or someone else - that you now believe to be fact. They are usually based on perception or something you've been taught.
How do limiting beliefs affect your happiness?
If you regularly feel frustrated, insecure, restricted or fearful, chances are your limiting beliefs are hard at work. You have dreams, ideas, goals and aspirations and deep down you know there is no reason why you can't achieve anything you put your mind to.
However, your limiting beliefs can often have more power than your life's ambitions. Your limiting beliefs highlight all the people in the world who are better than you and who already doing what you want to do.
They tell you all the reasons why you can't realise the vision you have for your life and remind you of all the things that could go wrong or that have gone wrong the past.
Often, when you attempt to step out of your comfort zone, your limiting beliefs will whisper a strong word of caution in your ear and convince you that it's probably safer to stay as you are.
How do you recognise limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs come disguised as excuses, health issues, family problems, work deadlines and procrastination, to name but a few.
Recurring obstacles or challenges that tend to occur just as you're about to take a step outside of your comfort zone are a strong indication that your limiting beliefs are running the show.
Irrational thoughts or fears are also an indication that your limiting beliefs are being triggered.
Manage your limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs all stem from fear and are simply a mechanism to try and protect you.
Make a list of all the areas in your life where you are scared to take action or don't appear to be making any progress. Write down all of your fears associated with everything on your list and that will give you a good indication of your limiting beliefs.
Next, for each fear ask yourself if it's actually true. For example, if your fear is "I don't have enough experience", ask yourself how true that statement is. Then depending on your answer, decide an action you can take to disprove or lessen your fear.
If you believe it is true and you don't have enough experience, work out how you can get the experience you need. If you believe it to be false, step out of your comfort zone and take action to move closer to achieving your goal.
Be aware, however, that some limiting beliefs never disappear completely and even if you overcome them in one situation, they may resurface when you attempt to take action in another area of your life. Always be prepared for a limiting belief to reappear and be aware that you can also acquire new limiting beliefs.
You can, however, learn to manage them and use strategies to prevent them from holding you back.
The only limits we truly have are those we believe and our limiting beliefs only have power over us if we believe them to be true.