A limiting belief is a belief about yourself which limits you in some way. It could be about your ability to do something, your likelihood of being loved by somebody or your chances of getting a job you really want. If you’re believing something which puts a limitation on yourself, that’s a limiting belief. These beliefs can put constraints on you and your life and make you feel as though you’re less than other people or you won’t accomplish your goals.
Examples of Limiting Belief
If you’re starting to think that this sounds familiar and you might have some limiting beliefs, let’s take a look at some common examples.
“I can’t do it”: This is one of the most common limiting belief and can creep in to our lives when we are children. If you hear children saying this, it’s important to correct them with a positive line. This could either be, “You can’t do it…yet!” or you can reinforce the idea that they can do it!
“I’m not good enough”: Whether it’s our qualifications, our bodies, our minds, our faces or our salaries, not feeling good enough is a common emotion which we are all likely to have experienced at some point. This feeling, however, will be much stronger in your mind than in the mind of anyone else around you, so try to turn this around and stay positive rather than being negative and limiting yourself.
Why are Limiting Beliefs Bad?
You might think you’re being realistic, and there is definitely a lot to be said for realism and maintaining a sensible course of action. However, limiting beliefs are different because they don’t even offer the opportunity to achieve your goals. Rather than reinforcing positive emotions and encouraging yourself to work harder towards a goal, you’re giving up and telling yourself that you can’t do it, you won’t be good enough, or somebody else will do it instead.
Limiting beliefs can stop you from going after what you really want, and in the long run, they can severely damage your self-esteem and confidence. You’ll start to regret letting your limiting beliefs take over, which in turn could create even more limiting beliefs.
In the end, letting go of your limiting beliefs and changing the narrative can help you to understand more about yourself and go for the goals that you thought were out of reach.
How Do You Overcome Limiting Belief?
Once you’ve established that you have limiting beliefs which are stopping you from achieving what you want, you can start to take steps to overcome them. It’s not easy and quick to overcome limiting beliefs, particularly if it’s something you’ve been believing for as long as you can remember. Changing something around so drastically requires time and effort, but with the right mindset and support, there’s nothing to stop you.
1. Try to decide why you believe it
People have limiting beliefs without even realizing why or where they have come from. A lot of the time, limiting beliefs have been created as a person has been growing up – their parents have reinforced an idea enough times that it has remained in the person’s mind for their entire life without question. If you can try to understand why you believe something, that’s a good first step. You might then realize that you have no idea why you believe it and you shouldn’t believe it at all!
2. Realize that your beliefs are not you
Just because you’ve ended up believing something doesn’t mean that this is it forever now. You can change your beliefs at any point, so if you’re worried about backtracking, you have every right to do so. Developing as a person is just as much about growing and learning as it is about developing your beliefs and opinions, and if these change over time, that can be a good thing.
3. Differentiate between your beliefs and how you identify them
Just because you don’t want to be something doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. It also doesn’t mean that you have to do it, but if you find yourself making excuse based on the fact that you just don’t think you can do something, this can be an example of a limiting belief.
It’s much more honest and upfront with yourself and others to say that you don’t want to do something, rather than that you can’t do it. Believing and saying that you can’t do something is constantly reinforcing to yourself that there are plenty of things you can’t do and you’re not as good as somebody else who can do it.
4. Do something different
To break out of the cycle of your limiting beliefs, do something different one day. Push yourself past the boundaries and out of your comfort zone. You never know what might happen.