Where do they come from?
How do they hold us back?
How can we overcome them?
“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
However our self-limiting beliefs came to us, these limiting decisions run our lives and prevent us from becoming who we wish to become, doing what we wish to do and having what we wish to have.
Your limiting decisions have shaped everything you do. They have prevented you from seeing opportunities and maybe even discouraged you from trying certain things at all. Time to bring them out of hiding! Once you do that, you have a choice.
So how do you identify those self-limiting beliefs? First, listen to what you say to yourself. For example, if you’re having trouble finding a relationship, maybe you explain it with something like, “Women only want men who have a lot of money” or “Guys are only interested in younger women.” Anything you say to yourself to justify why it isn’t working out for you is a limiting belief.
Will that belief sound true to you? Of course! It will sound perfectly reasonable and valid and you probably can come up with lots of evidence supporting it! But it’s still a belief that is getting in the way of what you want. So unless you’re willing to totally give up on your goals and desires, it’s a limiting decision that you don’t want to keep.
Step 1: Write the limiting belief down. Dig deep into your thoughts and emotions to discover the limiting beliefs that hold you back. Put them on paper and stare them in the face! You might note how strong each belief is and what emotions they bring up.
Step 2: Acknowledge that these are beliefs, not truths! This is often the hardest step. “But, my limitations are real!” Here’s where choice comes in. Which are you more interested in: defending your limitations to the death or achieving your goals and desires? As author Evelyn Waugh wrote, “When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them.” You choose.
Step 3: Try on a different belief. Use your imagination and try on a belief that is aligned with what you want. It might be something like, “My financial difficulties in the past have taught me so much that I’m fully prepared to handle them now!” Or, “Now that I’ve been in an unhealthy relationship I’ve learned what to look for in a happy, loving partner!”
The trick is to go beyond just saying it. You want to really step into this new belief and feel how it feels. Done thoroughly, Steps 2 and 3 will go a long way to dismantling your old limiting decision.
Step 4: Take different action. This might feel scary, but act as if your new belief is true. In other words, if you really are the kind of woman men adore, how would you act at parties? Who might you ask out? If you really are capable and have learned a tremendous amount from past financial difficulties, what steps would you take? If you really are the kind of person who eats healthy food, what will you put in your grocery basket?
If you avoid taking any steps based on your new belief, you will just feed your old limiting belief. Taking action, even the smallest step, will help solidify your new un-limiting decision. Your first steps don’t have to be perfect, just headed in the right direction. And be sure to acknowledge yourself when you’ve taken that step.