How To Identify The Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back
You’re not alone. It happens to us all ...
You’re working hard towards your dreams. You’re making progress. Priorities are set and you’re fully committed to your true north. It’s going to happen … you can actually see it not too far off in the distance.
Then … BANG BANG BANG.
Those old limiting beliefs come knocking at the door. “Did you forget about us? Well, we’re here to remind you …” they say “... you’re not going anywhere. You’re gonna stay right here with us.”
And it begins. You start remembering failures from the past. Trying so hard and not quite making it. Or making it, but burning out because it was too much to handle on the first try. So, why did you ever think you could possibly handle this?
Maybe it’s the old pain from a betrayal. Or voices from the past telling you “you can’t”. And your own voice saying “they’re right”.
Your mind becomes an old View-master, swiping through image after image of your old worn-out story. Oh, here’s the time I got crushed. And here’s that time I fell flat on my face. Oh yeah, this one’s my favorite … that time when they told me I didn’t have what it took to be what I wanted to be. When they said I needed to be all the things I wasn’t to achieve my biggest dream, so I should probably just play it safe ... that was a good one.
Who were you kidding anyway?
So you create brilliant reasons to stop moving forward … like real doozies.
It’s irresponsible to pursue this when my chances are so slim. I never really wanted it anyway. It’s really not worth the bother.
Whew! That was a close one. But now you’re safe. You have the justification to retreat back into the familiar … unscathed ...
… but in reality, you shrink down into a smaller version of yourself. And slowly melt into depression. or anxiety. or sadness. or anger. or self-loathing. or alcohol. or drugs. or all of the above.
Because there is absolutely nothing more painful in the world than giving up. Than giving in to feeling unworthy.
Limiting beliefs are a real Sneaky Pete
And, I don’t want to bum you out even more … as a matter of fact, it’s my job to lift you up, so let’s all take a micro-break and think about some puppies. Or kittens if that’s your bag.
Ok, feeling better?
So here’s the really sad part … you probably don’t even know how many times you’ve sabotaged yourself because of your limiting beliefs.
Chances are you straight-up believed a lot of your clever excuses and ‘rational justifications’ without giving them a second thought.
That’s the thing about limiting beliefs. They’re sneaky like that.
They’re not loud and obnoxious like negative thoughts. They’re not the bullying Biff yelling at the self-doubting McFly in your brain … the obvious villain we all want to land in a pile of manure.
They’re more like Ursula the sea witch from the Little Mermaid. Claiming to know what’s best for us. That they only want us to be happy and safe. They’re just here to help. All the while plotting to steal our thunder! (OK, I could have been literal and said “steal our voice”, but it seemed a little too on the nose.)
They’re the underlying foundation from which our thoughts are created. And they limit us from seeing beyond the world they create for us.
So, in order to overcome them and reach beyond them, we’ve got to identify and analyze them. Then we can give them the boot.
Sound like you need years of therapy to crack this case? You don’t. There’s a simple way to start chipping away at your limiting beliefs so you can transform them into empowering ones.
Here’s how ...
Step one: Identify
Start by asking yourself this question in the context of one area of your life … your job, relationship, money, friends, family ... or just in general ...
If I could have anything I want, what would it be?
Write down the answer. Don’t be ‘rational’ or ‘safe’ or ‘realistic.’ Allow yourself to dream big.
Ok, now visualize yourself totally getting it.
Write down any limiting or negative thoughts and feelings that come up. They might sound like this ...
It’s not safe.
I’m not ready.
I’m not good enough.
I don’t deserve this.
If I achieve my dreams, I’ll have to compromise my relationships.
Everyone will judge me.
This is too good to be true.
These are the most common ones. But write down whatever feel true to you.
Step 2: Release
Now, releasing your beliefs is serious business. They won’t go quietly. They’re pretty deep-seated because they’re usually created in our childhood and are reinforced throughout our lives.
A great starting point is to ask yourself Byron Katie’s four questions:
- Is this belief really true?
- Can I really know if it’s true?
- How does it feel to have this belief?
- Who would I be without this belief?
If you think through each question honestly, you’ll start to feel them losing their grip on you and slipping away. You might notice a whole new feeling of spaciousness and unlimited potential.
This is the beginning of letting go. And soon enough, you’ll be right back on track. Your north star shining bright once again and you’ll be headed toward your dream without hesitation.
Because, like McFly would tell you ... “It’s your density”
Cheat Sheet: Beating Anxiety with Self-Talk
Are you hijacked by your anxiety? Constantly making mental lists of all the ways that you could fail - and all the things that might go wrong?
Use this Cheat Sheet to transform your negative thoughts into loving and constructive self-talk - so you can ditch your anxiety once and for all!