How To Overcome Limiting Self Beliefs
There’s a quote by Stephen Richards – “A self-limiting belief is no stronger than the flimsy rope that tethers an elephant by its foot.”
That’s basically what self-limiting beliefs are. They’re like a ball and chain that’s anchored to your leg, preventing you from running at your full speed.
You can never fulfil your highest goals if your negative beliefs are weighing you down and impeding your progress.
Yet, millions of people hold themselves back daily because of the self-imposed boundaries that exist in their own heads.
Why does this happen?
We’re all a product of our circumstances. While some people are naturally born with the willpower and ability to think for themselves and break out of the mould, most people allow what others say or do to influence how they think.
This is especially true in childhood when you look to your parents and teachers for authority and guidance.
In many cases, these adults are ‘broken people’ themselves with their own self-limiting beliefs which they’ll eagerly pass on to you whilst thinking they’re doing you a favour.
Statements such as, “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” or, “Rich people are crooks!”, are examples of self-limiting beliefs.
There’s no real basis or truth to these beliefs other than bad experiences shaping such statements.
When you grow up listening to negative talk, you’ll start to develop your own negative beliefs and self-talk.
Over time, you’ll believe the same things that were unfairly passed down to you – and your life will become a reflection of your beliefs.
Like Richard Bach said, “Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.”
How to overcome limiting self-beliefs
Quite frankly, there’s no right or wrong answer here because we’re all different individuals.
For some people like former navy SEAL, David Goggins, there comes a day when enough is enough and they go to war with their own minds as they carve out a new path for themselves.
Others may take the more ‘leisurely’ route and change their self-talk and habits gradually until they transform their lives completely. It’s an introspective process and can be painful and take a while.
Whatever the case may be – you MUST expect resistance both internally and externally.
Since you’ll be creating new thought patterns, you may constantly find yourself slipping back into old, negative thoughts.
You’ll constantly need to be mindful and correct your ‘stinking thinking’ as soon as possible. This is the internal struggle you’ll face.
Externally, it will take time for your circumstances and situation to catch up with your new beliefs.
If you believe that it’s possible for you to be wealthy, you may be perturbed by your meagre salary at your day job and the small cramped apartment you’re eking an existence in.
It can be depressing and discouraging – but do not allow your external circumstances to dictate your internal belief system.
Always remember, your current situation is a result of past beliefs. Your future will be a result of your current beliefs.
Even your friends and family members may try to discourage you under the guise of looking out for you.
Dealing with the naysayers and your own internal struggles can be tiring – but you must persist.
Here’s a process you can follow…
1. Identify your self-limiting beliefs
Keep a notebook and write down every negative, self-limiting thought that creeps into your head.
For example, if you see a video of a luxury beach resort on Instagram and you think that you’ll never be able to afford it, that’s a self-limiting belief.
Quick! Write it down. It may seem ‘sensible’ to you… but in reality, it’s just a limiting belief.
2. Ask yourself why you think this way
There’s always a root cause for why you’re thinking the way you are. If we follow the earlier example, you may ask yourself why you think you can’t visit the luxury resort.
You’ll probably assume that it’s due to your job and salary. But this is just the symptom. Why can’t you get a better job and salary?
If you dig deeper, you may realize that your parents told you that if you didn’t attend college, you’d always struggle to make ends meet.
Since you dropped out after high school, you may wrongly believe that all you’re capable of doing are low end jobs as you scrape by.
Yet, if you did your research, you’d discover that thousands of high school dropouts went on to start their own business and made good money.
Many of them could easily afford the luxury resort…and they may have the same formal education as you.
So you’ve been holding yourself back because of the wrong beliefs instilled upon you by your parents or someone in authority.
Once you understand where the belief is from, you can eliminate it… and replace it with new, positive beliefs.
3. Focus on what you can do
Your current situation may dictate that you can’t afford the holiday. But you can always work to improve on your lot in life. You don’t need to afford the luxury resort overnight.
But if you believe you have what it takes to achieve it, you’ll work on finding new ways to supplement your income. It’s the believe that will spur you on to do more than you ever thought possible.
In a year or two, you just might find yourself sitting by the sun-kissed beach in Antigua, a place you once thought you’d never see. Anything is possible if you’re willing to believe it is…and work for it.
4. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch
Once you believe that you deserve better, then it’s just a matter of taking small, positive steps towards improving your life.
It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to get wealthy or have a beautiful body…or even find the partner of your dreams.
You MUST take the steps. Visualize your goals and immerse yourself in positivity. You may need to let go of old friends who are too discouraging.
You might even need to minimize contact with vexatious family members who ooze negativity from their pores.
This may seem painful, but the brutal truth is that not everyone can go where you want to go.
Your self-limiting beliefs may have made you at ease with those on the same vibrational frequency as you. But as you level up, you may find yourself ‘growing out’ of these old relationships.
It’s not a bad thing to want more from life…and your friends and family who want the best for you will let you live your fullest life without being wet blankets every opportunity they get.
5. Action is the foundational key to success
Visualization and affirmations are great… but all change comes from action which is usually disguised as hard work. Don’t let the self-help books lull you into a sense of complacency where the universe rewards sloth.
You can’t lose a single calorie by thinking positively. You must do the work.
It’s inevitable to encounter failure…but you’ll have to take it in your stride and keep going.
You’ll feel the grind and monotony of the daily self-discipline required to achieve your goals.
During times like these, always remember that the oyster without the irritation is not the oyster that produces the pearl. So keep on keeping on.
On a final note…
You don’t have control over your past or the beliefs that were forced upon you at an early age. But at the same time, as an adult, you do not need to be a slave of your past conditioning.
It’ll require courage and effort to break out of your old ways of thinking…but if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. Give yourself that chance.
“A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
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