What Are Limiting Beliefs?
A limiting belief is a negative belief about yourself or about the outside world, reducing your ability to achieve success in a certain area of your life.
The tricky part is that most limiting beliefs operate at a subconscious level, so you may not even be aware that you are affected. It all starts with negative thoughts that are slowly, but surely accepted as being true. Thus, they manage to get by unchallenged, silently shaping the way you act on a regular basis.
When you realize how powerful your beliefs are, it can be scary. But the good thing is that you can overcome any negative beliefs you currently have. Moreover, you can replace them with empowering beliefs.
Taking the First Step
A first step is to know yourself. This is no easy task and it is a longer term endeavor.
Limiting beliefs usually surface when you set a goal in an area affected by negative thinking. The stretcher the goal and the further it takes you out of your comfort zone, the more limiting such beliefs can be.
Take a goal you have set for yourself and observe the kind of self-talk you have in relation to that goal.
For example, if you are considering a career shift, you may start to capture quite a number of negative beliefs when listen to your self-talk. “It is too late to make such a move.” ”It’s too risky to go for this in the current economic environment” and so on.
Do Limiting Beliefs Really Impact Your Life?
Yes they do. And not only that, but they shape your life massively. They operate in the shadow of your conscious mind, having the privilege to get by unchallenged. They serve as a foundation of your thinking in a certain area. As a result, they significantly impact your decision making.
For example, say you have the “It’s too risky to go for a drastic career change now” limiting belief. You may then go on to build upon this “This is not the time to take a huge risk, as I have a family to take care of.” Most probably you will conclude that it is better to just keep going without taking any action.
This is just an example to illustrate how big of an impact a belief can have.
Think about it. We all have lots of limiting beliefs that imprison us via restricting our life choices without us even realizing this.
It’s time to see what we can do about this. How can we win against these monsters?
Identify Clearly Your Limiting Beliefs
Asking the right questions will help you identify your limiting thinking patters. As most of them operate at subconscious level, you need to bring them to the surface. An effective way to do this is to simply think about a goal in an important area of your life.
Then monitor your self-talk.
Your dysfunctional thinking patterns will present themselves as reasons why you can’t achieve that goal. Don’t hesitate to spend some time doing this, in order to make sure that the culprits are fully exposed.
Assess the Gap
Before taking action against limitations, clarify what is the point you are trying to get to, where you are at this moment in time and what is the gap.
Upon identifying a limiting belief, don’t try to take direct action against it.
For example, if the belief is “Money can only come to me as a result of hard work, following a process that implies trading my time for money”, identify what is the opposite belief.
In this case it may be “I earn significant amounts of money via providing true value to others, following a process that includes a number of semi-passive income streams.” You can provide significant value to others via a digital product for example, that is delivered automatically via Internet. It’s a win-win for you and the customer.
Once you are clear what the empowering belief is, your action will be directed at installing the empowering belief firmly in the subconscious mind. After that point, you will reap the benefits without conscious effort.
Before getting to work, keep in mind these three watch-outs:
- Consider what changes the new belief is likely to bring into your life. Changing a belief means that you change the way you think, but also the way you behave. Such a change may make you incompatible with existing elements in your life, such as a job, relationship and so on.
- Installing an empowering belief takes time. Don’t try to rush the process. Yes, it does take time, but it’s totally worth it. Anything worth achieving or having in life takes time and effort.
- Make sure the new belief is not out of your world. If you want to reach a very stretch goal, break it into steps. Otherwise, although you repeat something over and over, deep down you won’t believe it is feasible. Then, your subconscious will sabotage you. On the other hand, don’t hesitate to set a stretch goal for yourself. Just make sure it is achievable.
Techniques for Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Use Positive Affirmations
This is an easy technique and it is the first one to be used in order to get rid of negative beliefs. These are positive statements that you repeat over and over again. In time, they will penetrate the subconscious mind, as a belief.
Align your behavior to the new belief
Although you don’t have yet the empowering belief installed yet, start acting as if it was true. There is a lot of power in acting “as if” and you have certainly heard of the expression “fake it till you make it.” Your subconscious can’t tell you are pretending and it will accept your new behavior as genuine. This in turn helps reinforce the empowering belief, which in turns leads to adopting the new behavior naturally.
This is a very effective technique to really embed in your subconscious the empowering belief. First, prepare via a short relaxation session. In this way, your subconscious becomes more receptive. Then, imagine yourself in a context that implies you already have the empowering belief.
Here you are! Reprogramming your subconscious via replacing your limiting thinking patterns with empowering ones will make a huge difference to your life.
Photo by: Steve Rhodes