|Limiting beliefs can be described as false or negative beliefs an individual has about themselves and the world around them. These beliefs generally develop during childhood and are largely shaped by parents or guardians and the experiences and individual has during the early years of their lives.
"We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience." ~ Louise L. Hay
An individual may also experience valid or positive beliefs about themselves and the world. So what causes an individual to develop limiting beliefs rather than more advantageous beliefs? Generally, this belief system is created by watching and listening to the most influential people in a young persons life.
For example, self-doubt can creep into this belief system if an individual does not experiences positive affect or support from their caretaker. Pressure to succeed or to accomplish a task based on the expectations of others can cause the belief that an individual will never be good enough. This belief can become so ingrained that it can follow the thread of a persons life and show up as a perceived inability to proceed in a career.
These limiting and negative beliefs can really hold a person back in life. Consider your own limiting beliefs before we discover 3 ways to challenge these beliefs:
Write down a limiting belief. Consider an area of your life that you feel constantly held back in or unable to move forward. What do you usually say to yourself when this happens? Attach a feeling or emotion to the thought that comes to your mind.
Example: "I can't apply for the promotion at work because my skills will never match the expectations of that role". A sense of inadequacy; Emotion = hopeless.
Challenge Limiting Beliefs
Once you have discovered a limiting belief that you would like to challenge, the next few steps can be more difficult to progress through, since change of any kind can be tough. If you are ready to try out this challenge, find a quiet place, grab a notebook and pencil, and bring an open-mind and willingness to exit your comfort zone. This ride might be a bit bumpy but the outcomes can be rewarding!
1. Acknowledge the limiting belief.
This first step is all about acknowledging that the sense of feeling limited in a certain ability or area of your life is a belief rather than a truth. The fact that this belief may have been true in the past has no merit right not as we are focusing on a new moment in time which is the present.
This is a moment when you get to make a choice about your thoughts and decide whether you want to continue focusing on this belief or creating your own truth. Recognize that the feelings that stem from this limiting belief are real for you, but that you have more power over these feelings than you may have realized so far.
Ask yourself: "How well has this way of thinking and belief worked for me so far?" If the answer is somewhere along the lines of "Not so great" and you're ready to make a change, move on to the next step!
2. Create a new truth that aligns with your goals.
Now that we have established the limiting belief in your life, acknowledged the emotions attached to this belief and decided to make the intention to create a new truth, now is the time to get really creative.
This is your chance to really think outside the box, or throw the box far away, and decide on the truth you want to see in your life. This will help you to create a road map to work towards this truth, now that the limiting belief has been lifted.
Write down at least 3 examples of truths that you would want to see in your life. Consider how these truths can align more with the goals or direction you would like to see in your life.
With the limiting belief example about not being able to apply for a promotion at work, examples of a new truth could be:
The new truth is a positive and hopeful reflection of the goal you would like to achieve. Write down your truths and then move on to the next step!
3. Take action to start implementing this new truth.
Now that we have discovered the limiting belief holding you back in life, acknowledged any difficult emotions connected to this belief, and created a new truth that more closely aligns with the direction you want to be heading in, now is the time to take action.
Taking action can be a scary step, but it is also important to start acting as though you believe this new truth in your life. Inaction can cause you to slide back into the habit that original limiting belief and move you farther and farther away from your goal. Taking action is, of course, another choice. Consider taking a small step to help solidify this new truth for yourself.
With the example of wanting to apply for a promotion, small action steps that could be taken are to email the manager to ask for a meeting to be set up, update a resume, or practice applying for the promotion with a friend. These steps can help to move in the direction of applying for the promotion and build up confidence to bring this new truth to life.
Write down your action steps now!
An Ongoing Challenge
Now that you have gone through this process of discovering and challenging a limiting belief in your life by creating a path to work on this new truth and achieving your goals, your work is not over! It is important to constantly be checking in with any limiting beliefs that pop up for you and to go through this process again.
Be sure to acknowledge your hard work and reward your efforts. It can be tough to go through this process, and so important to cheer yourself along as you progress towards your goals.
Enjoyed this article? Share your thoughts or discoveries in the comments below. I would love to hear your plan to tackle your own limiting beliefs and the new truths you are working towards!
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