Limiting beliefs and how to overcome them
From all the challenges in achieving our goals, the set of limiting beliefs might be the hardest to win. These 7 tools will help you identify your limiting beliefs and transform them to help you build the life you want.
Every piece of information we send or receive in life goes through a check with our belief system. The belief system is the subjective understanding of ‘how this world works’. We form it in our childhood and then reinforce it throughout our life. It instinctively helps us save mental energy by tapping into our memories and automatically pre-defining most of our decisions.
The belief system keeps the records of our self-esteem, relationship “karma”, taste and preferences, material status, intelligence, personality type, etc. It controls how we perceive ourselves as a professional, friend, lover, parent, artist, public speaker and so on. And unless you consciously choose to change what you think you are, your future story is pre-determined by your own subconscious mind.
The limiting part of the belief system
As a whole, our beliefs serve us well to keep life stable and safe – so you don’t burn yourself on hot objects or don’t intent on starting a new career every morning. But some things we are convinced of prevent us from achieving big goals and arriving to a new places in life, even desirable ones. We call those our limiting beliefs. They are not necessarily always true but affect our behavior more than we’d like. We often don’t know of or refute them. The most uncomfortable, yet dangerous and, unfortunately, common are “I don’t deserve love”, “I am not worth the money I want to earn” or “I have to be a certain way to be accepted”.
In general, limiting beliefs state that based on our past, we can’t, shouldn’t, or it’s not safe or beneficial for us to do certain things. Whether we are conscious of these ideas or not, they create internal resistance causing doubts, fears, procrastination, and search of external excuses. Limiting beliefs lay the groundwork for low self-esteem, but are much more specific and practical to work with.
Here are a couple of examples. If you expect a 9-5 job to be the only way to make a stable income, it’s going to interfere with you starting your own business. Or when you don’t find yourself attractive, you won’t be going places to meet or talk to someone you like. Or if you are convinced that your knees (heart or lungs) are weak, you will avoid running, which could help you strengthen all of the above.
Modifying limiting beliefs
One of the cornerstones of personal development is defining limiting beliefs, choosing to change, and then transforming them into empowering statements allowing us to remove internal obstacles and naturally flow toward our goals. We’re all moving somewhere every day, right? The ability to attract desirable things directly depends on the progress of our belief system.
The key to success in overwriting existing programs is frequency and depth. The more often you repeat a thought, the more likely it is to develop into a belief. Micro-alignments of your system take place every night in your sleep so you need to make it a daily habit. I prefer twice daily: first thing in the morning to set myself for the day, and second in the afternoon or at night before going to sleep to upload good information into my mind. But sometimes, a single experience can affect you so deeply that it will be enough to instantly change the structure of your core beliefs. It can be an uplifting event such as a very impressive person, conversation, book, movie, or travel, or a painful one such as an accident or trauma, suffering, or witnessing war or death. The more emotional the experience is, the stronger it will impact your belief system.
7 ways to work with your limiting beliefs
Here are the 7 approaches to your belief system. Depending on how you better perceive new information, get it in front of your eyes (hang a visual board, write on post-its or repeat it in front of the mirror), listen to it (read aloud, record as an affirmation or ask someone else to read it to you), or experience it (rewrite by hand, make it actionable or focus on feelings). All the techniques below engage over one sense and complete each other so I practice them all.
Traveling is one of the most impactful means to shift your paradigms. Not only do new places, cultures, and people teach us new ways and ideas, the act of physical relocation away from the familiar surroundings allows us to let go of the old program and start over.
A book, movie, music or other forms of education and art can open access to the beliefs of a person impossible to reach otherwise. Whether it’s plain information of emotional state, in a short time they can leave a deep mark and change your usual way of thinking.
Other sources affecting our belief system are family members, friends, co-workers, supervisors, neighbors, TV, internet, news, radio, podcasts, and, unfortunately, ads. When they help you move towards your goals – great. Otherwise, you need to learn how to filter, limit and neutralize the bad influences.
Getting conscious about the choices you make allows you to unfold your history just how you want and transform your self-image. Therefore, every decision on meals, next action, your reaction to things will inform your subconscious mind who you currently are and what kind of life you are building.
I massively use journaling to get things out of my head and discover convictions I’ve had no idea about. The key is to write (I type, however, because it’s much faster) without any filter, judgment or criticism and let the stream of consciousness clear your mind and provide you with insights. I’ll talk about it in detail in a separate article.
This is one of the most popular self-help techniques in the Western world. Whether written, spoken in front of the mirror, recorded as audio, put on post-its or a visual board, affirmations serve as a reminder of the new belief we want to develop. I love to write mine, and to learn more, check out the articles with the tag ‘manifestation‘.
Spirituality has countless forms in different cultures and for each human being. But whether it’s meditation, prayers, mantras, various exercises and even creativity, cultivating faith refines our belief system on multiple levels and can be a very empowering practice.
Today, we tapped into the work on limiting beliefs and the belief system in general. There is so much more I want to share with you so stay tuned, check out other articles on my website and, as always, hit me up with your questions. You can do anything you want!