We can either be our own best source of inspiration, or we can be our own worst enemy.
Naturally, we want the former. Unfortunately, the stress and struggles of life, growing a business, marriage, and parenting can push us over into enemy territory (1).
How are your limiting beliefs your own worst enemy?
You live in your head and come up with all these ways to keep yourself from getting anything accomplished. Even though deep down you know you’re good enough, and how much you’re fully capable of getting things done.
deep down you know you’re good enough
The only way to get past this self-sabotaging thinking is to take active, intentional steps. Let’s look at 4 steps you can take to shift your limiting beliefs for good.
Stop limiting beliefs from taking control
No, I don’t mean to just stop thinking this way. I know better than anyone that taking a “just do it” approach to things like this won’t work. Similarly, “just don’t do it” won’t work either.
So what DO I mean? I mean for you to take a break for a hot minute and notice what you were thinking. If a thought feels negative or defeating, it’s time to stop and examine this idea much closer. Is this perhaps a self-limiting belief?
Give yourself grace. Knowing these thoughts will happen and committing to not judging yourself when they do happen will help you keep an open mind and better understand where the thought is coming from.
Stopping when you notice the limiting belief creates space between the thought and your response. It’s in this space that you can then contemplate what you’re telling yourself.
Ask yourself the right questions
Where is the lie in this thought? How is this thought serving me or harming me? These are the questions you must ask yourself.
You’ve already figured out there’s something wrong with it, or you wouldn’t be going through this process. This means something about it is not ringing true. When you understand where the lie is, it becomes easier to know how to counter it.
Additional questions you can ask yourself to help you better understand the source and reason behind your limiting beliefs:
- What other belief systems do I have that are feeding into this belief?
- Is this always true or only true some of the time or is it a complete lie?
- Am I thinking this way simply because I don’t know how to do what I want to do? What education or training can I seek out to help?
- Are my thoughts related to my emotions from another source (ie. am I tired, overwhelmed, fearful, etc.)?
- Is there any proof this self-limiting thought is true? Is there any grain of truth in what I’m thinking?
Taking the time to (as impartial as possible) assess your answers and find the potential new thoughts you can use to help shift your beliefs.
Take back control of all of your beliefs
If what you were thinking is a lie or is because of beliefs you were taught earlier in life, it’s relatively easy to counter the false aspects of the statement with the truth (or a different truth).
But what if this thought was at least partially true? When this happens, you will start by reminding yourself this isn’t always the case. For example, you might be thinking you are always late. Maybe you are, in fact, late sometimes. To perform this step, you would need to recall various instances when you were on time. By countering the lie, you are taking control of the situation, and not allowing the limiting belief to have any sway over you.
By countering the lie, you are taking control of the situation
Let’s look at another example. What if you are telling yourself the limiting belief that you don’t like what you’re doing? You think it’s boring. This thought might be true, but if it’s a necessary task, you still need to find a way to shift this belief. To do this you might need to enlist some creativity. Is there any way you can do the task differently to add a little fun factor. Is the outcome enough for you to focus on to help you shift that thinking?
In the end, you may need more help than you’re able to give yourself.
Sometimes it can be challenging to remove limiting beliefs by yourself. In these instances, it can be beneficial to talk to a friend, or even a counselor, to help you see the truth. There is nothing wrong with getting help, especially from someone who is in a position to be impartial.
Sometimes helping yourself means setting boundaries around what you expose yourself to (both limiting negative influences and increasing positive influences).
So that means help can also look like listening to podcasts, reading personal growth books, or using journaling and mindset tools like affirmations. It could be choosing who you spend your time with, what social channels you follow on media, and carefully selecting the type and amount of other media exposure.
Self-limiting beliefs don’t have to control your life. By examining your thoughts, especially those that seem to hold you back, you will find it much easier to move forward toward your goals. Soon you will realize success.