Limiting beliefs differ from hard facts, opinions, and assumptions.
When it comes to what we know about ourselves, other people, and the world in general, we tend to have many labels. Labels that are sometimes HARD FACTS, labels that are sometimes OPINIONS or ASSUMPTIONS, and labels that are just plain old LIMITING BELIEFS.
Hard facts are things that we know with 100% certainty to be true like there are 24 hours in a day, the sun will rise again tomorrow, and one day we are all going to die. (sad but true)
Opinions are like preferences and everybody seems to have one these days.
Assumptions are things we just assume to be true without checking the facts and then similarly, there are limiting beliefs…
Limiting beliefs are like a whole other ballgame though because they stop us from reaching our fullest potential.
These types of beliefs are often fear based and are mostly given to us by our life experiences or by important people in our life.
We act ➡ things happen ➡ we then form conclusions. But sometimes we form conclusions that are not always correct, especially when they come out of negative experiences.
Limiting beliefs from life experiences
Some limiting beliefs come from things that we experience in life. For example, Sarah has dated several men that have all cheated on her. This has led her to form a limiting belief that all men are cheaters. Based on Sarah’s experiences with men, this belief sounds valid and reasonable, and she has lots of evidence to back it up.
However, this belief is in a fact a limiting belief because it is getting in the way of what Sarah wants, which is just someone to love and spend her life with. If Sarah continues to keep this belief around it may cause her to miss an opportunity to meet the love of her life and therefore limit her from her fullest potential.
Limiting beliefs from people we know and trust
We also form limiting beliefs based on the information given to us by people that are important like our parents, teachers, religious leaders, and mentors.
But who says that we should take these beliefs at face value? Just because they came from people we know and trust does not necessarily mean they are true. Yet we believe them anyway and when we do that, we skip the opportunity to form our own beliefs and opinions which, again, will limit us from our fullest potential.
A real-life example of a limiting belief
12 years ago my husband and I had our daughter before we had gotten married. We were told by someone close to us that we had ruined our lives because we weren’t married and we were so young (we were 21 years old🙄).
I’ll admit that a tiny part of me believed that to be true for a really long time until I realized that having our daughter when we did actually saved our lives!! What kind of mother daughter relationship would I have been able to form if I kept that belief around?? Not a good one!
A few other things that can manifest into limiting beliefs:
- Using the phrase “I can’t”
- Fear of judgment and/or pain
- Labeling yourself or others
Related Reads: Ten Common Limiting Beliefs
How to identify and remove a limiting belief
These days things are no longer as cut and dry or black and white as they were once thought to be. There are a whole lot of gray areas inside belief systems and the time has come where we need to learn how to recognize them. Because those beliefs can definitely hold you back from reaching your highest potential in life.
Identifying your limiting beliefs:
Recognize any limiting beliefs you may have by considering all the thought patterns that limit you. For example, “I can’t do A because of B” is a thought pattern where B is your limiting belief.
Next, you want to find the root of the belief. A few journal prompts that can help you with this are:
When did this belief start?
What happened that caused the belief?
Was this belief given to you by someone else?
Once you identify these beliefs that limit you and where they came from, you can move on rewriting those beliefs into a new more positive belief that can replace it.
How to remove your limiting beliefs:
Think of a new positive belief to replace the old negative belief. Do this will help you rewire your brain with new beliefs that empower you instead of limiting you. For example:
- Old limiting belief: Money is always in short supply for me because there isn’t enough to go around.
- New empowering belief: I am a money making machine who receives money easily and often.
Lastly, you need to act as if this new empowering belief is already true. You’ve already spent so long believing the opposite to be true but when you start to act as if you then shift that belief into your new belief system and it will become your reality much faster.
Final thoughts on limiting beliefs and how to overcome them
Belief systems that limit you can stop you from reaching your fullest potential in life. But with a little work, you can overcome them! The first step is identifying them, then finding the root, then flipping the script on them, and changing them into new more positive beliefs that will improve your quality of life. You can do it!