No matter how talented or hardworking you are if your limiting beliefs don’t support your talent and work you will continue to find it extremely difficult to reach your life and career goals.
I have seen many people turn away from their dream goals or fail to achieve their best as a result of their limiting beliefs. Beliefs such as “I am not good enough”, “I have to be perfect to succeed”, “I haven’t got what it takes” and “Mistakes and failure are bad” a very common.
If you suffer from beliefs that limit your ability to do what you love then I strongly suggest that before you go any further you sort this out.
Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning. Mahatma Gandhi
Where do limiting beliefs come from?
Limiting beliefs develop in early childhood. Mostly as a result of our own interpretations of our parents’ actions and behaviours. We attach meaning to events and experiences, the meaning then becomes our belief and causes us to behave or react in certain ways.
This is not about pointing the finger, rather it’s about understanding significant reference points. Generally, parents are doing the best they can, with limited parenting education, their own limiting beliefs and amidst dealing with other responsibilities and life stresses. As children we look up to our parents, they are the boss of us, are wiser, stronger, more knowledgable so it is only natural that we would reference life and it’s meaning based on our interactions with them.
Our own behaviour patterns and emotional reactions may appear to have no particular logic. They can present themselves in a variety of ways, such as, procrastination, overachieving, untidiness, obsessive behaviour (OCD), never saying no, lateness, earliness, thrill-seeking, avoidance, lack of confidence, lack of emotion, quick to anger, do-gooding, a victim mentality, lack of ability to complete, focusing on other peoples needs too much, self obsession, phobias, anxiety, the need to control everything or neediness. Just to name a few.
The kind of underlying beliefs that drive these habits include:
- I’m not good enough
- I mistakes and failure are bad
- I am not worthy
- I am always wrong
- I have to be perfect.
- I’m not capable
- I’m powerless
- I’m not important
- If I get it wrong I will be rejected/ridiculed
- I’m stupid
- I’m not loveable
- Nothing I do is good enough
- Change is difficult
- I’m ugly
- What I feel doesn’t matter
- I’m not talented
Etc, etc, feel free to add your own…!
What to do about it
In order to make changes, you will first need to identify the fundamental beliefs that are driving your undesirable behaviours and reactions. Then you will need to eliminate the limiting beliefs. Once free of the beliefs you will be able to move on and take the necessary actions towards your goals.
An exercise for you
Read the list I’ve created above out loud.
Pick one belief that resonates with you. It could be that it feels or seems true. Or it may cause you to feel teary, puts a knot your stomach, pain in your chest or a lump in your throat.
Now take this belief and write down what you would do differently, how you would feel and react if the belief was not there anymore.
If you eliminate all the limiting beliefs you have, what would your life look like? Where would you be? How would you behave? Who would you be with? What would you be achieving?
Hmmm, interesting, right?
How I know I am being limited by my beliefs?
If at any time you are not moving towards your goals or it seems to be taking too long to achieve them then evaluate your belief system. Explore the possibility that there are limiting beliefs driving you away from your goals and dreams. Sometimes we can get quite a surprise. For instance, recently I was working on myself. I was frustrated by the fact that I was procrastinating over doing some publicity using myself as the subject. I realised I had believed that “If this works I might succeed, then I will be noticed, and then there will be pressure on me not to make any mistakes”. This stemmed from a belief that it is “bad to make mistakes.”. As I write about this experience I feel nothing, yet when I found the belief it felt as true to me as the fact that I live in the UK.
How to get rid of limiting beliefs
There are a variety of methods you might use to eliminate limiting beliefs. Whatever you do don’t wait for the problem to disappear, it probably won’t.
I trained in The Lefkoe Method developed by psychologist, Morty Lefkoe. This is what I use to help people eliminate their limiting beliefs. You can find out more about how I do this on this page. I love working with LBP as it isn’t about monitoring or controlling our thoughts, reducing the impact or replacing beliefs with other things. It is purely about finding the beliefs that are getting in the way and zapping it!
LBP works like magic. How do I know? Because once I believed things like “I am not good enough”,” I am stupid”, “I’m not capable”, “I’m poor with finances”,” I’m not worthy” and “I’m an outsider”. The list of beliefs I once held true exceeds 130. It could be more, the issue is once I eliminate a belief if I don’t record it immediately then it’s gone and I forget I even had it, so I may have missed some.
Other methods that could help you:
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)
- Traditional counseling
- The Work -Bryon Katie
- Cognitive Behaviour Analysis (CBT)
Expect this to be a “work in progress” for a while. Sometimes when we eliminate one belief another one pops up beneath it, a bit like peeling back an onion! It will take time and effort on your part but ultimately it WILL be worth it.
Have you found a method of dealing with limiting beliefs that work for you? Have you tried any of the methods I’ve mentioned? Please tell me what’s worked for you.
Now go, zap those limiting beliefs!