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Last Updated on November 25, 2019

9 Self Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success

9 Self Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success

It’s easy to blame situations or other people when we don’t reach our targets.

Have you ever wondered though, if it could be YOU holding yourself back from achieving success or, if you possibly limit your results because of what you believe?

We hold beliefs about all things and they have a direct influence over what we achieve or not. When we have empowering beliefs, our achievements can feel almost effortless. If we have self limiting beliefs, however, then it can often feel like we are pushing a big rock up a steep hill.

Limiting beliefs have a way of creeping up on us; they reveal themselves in different ways. Even if we think our beliefs all support us, a limiting belief can often rear its ugly head just when we least expect it and completely stop us in our tracks or make things feel harder than they actually could be.

A belief is simply a feeling of certainty about what something means. The reason it can feel so certain is because it’s a story we have been telling ourselves throughout our lives unconsciously looking for proof of its truth. We find plenty of proof because that’s what we are looking for and, the more proof we find, the more certain we feel. This means we can either create more potential, or more limitation depending on what the belief actually is.

My question to you is this:

If your beliefs have this powerful influence on your results, can you imagine how much more personal potential you could create and what you could accomplish, if every belief you had really did completely sustain, support and nurture you?

And, can you imagine how much you could be getting in your own way if they don’t?

That’s why it’s essential to become aware of what your beliefs are.

Here you will find 9 of the most common self limiting beliefs you need to be aware of and some practical tips to assist you to move through them. Even if you implement one simple tip, it can have a profoundly positive effect on your results.

1. I Don’t Have Time

This may be a statement; the truth is though, when you repeatedly say the same thing, you start to believe it and this means you will never find the time to do what you want.

Holding on to this belief can keep you stuck for years.

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Nathan Palmer, a sociologist and lecturer at Georgia Southern University said “Time is a social construct’. To me, this means time doesn’t really exist, it’s just an idea or concept we believe as a society and we all live by its rules. This might explain why we all have 24 hours in a day, yet some of us achieve so much more than others.

When you start to see time as it really is which is just a social construct, you empower yourself to create a belief that works for you instead of against you. There is a simple and practical way you can do this:

Use a spreadsheet to measure the way you use your time and being truthful with yourself about what you find.

As you look closely at how you use time, you will notice patterns of behavior that can cause you to get in your own way. Patterns such as doing the easy repetitive tasks first or putting everyone else’s demands or requests first really limit you.

Making a few simple tweaks in your own behavior, you will notice that you “always have enough time”, it’s just your choice as to how you use it, and you can begin to nurture that new belief.

2. I Can’t

This is one of the most limiting beliefs you can imagine, because it gives no opportunity of you being able to do what you are telling yourself you can’t. You might as well tie your hands behind your back.

The more you repeat this statement, the more you begin to believe it. Your unconscious mind is always listening and it responds to what you are telling it. Some people have even described this response as physically feeling blocked.

Even if you are just using this phrase to excuse yourself from doing something for someone else, then find another way of saying it, for example “I am unable to do that for you right now”.

There is no such thing as, “I can’t” and this is because you always have a choice. You can do anything you set your mind to and even if you don’t have the skills yet, then you have the ability to learn those skills. If you truly believe you can’t at the moment, then add the word “yet” to the end of your statement to create more potential.

And whenever you hear yourself say, “I can’t”, immediately remind yourself that you always have a choice. You either choose to or choose not to.

3. I Can’t Because I Am Not…

Adding a reason to “I can’t” gives the limitation even more power, especially when that reason begins with the words “I am”.

When you use the words “I am,” you are making a statement about yourself, your identity and who you believe you are. It’s called an identity belief and this type of belief can be the most self-limiting you can have. Let me give you an example of this;

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Many years ago, I would frequently say “I am not creative”, it was a belief I had hung onto since childhood. Because of this, I never attempted anything that had a creative feel to it.

I used to excuse myself telling people “I am not creative”. That was all fine until I became an entrepreneur. It was then I realized how much that belief had the potential to limit me, because entrepreneurship is all about being creative!

Identity beliefs are statements you make about who you think you are and who you think you are not. To give you a few examples, “I can’t get organized because I am not a planner”, “I can’t go networking because I am not a people person”.

Can you imagine how much these beliefs can hold you back?

You can make gradual changes by looking at different ways of describing yourself. For example; “I am becoming more organized as I learn to plan each day” or “I am learning to network as I meet new people”. Then take the actions that support those new beliefs.

4. I Am Not Good Enough

This is probably the most fundamentally limiting belief there is; and it’s one that most of us can attest to having been at the mercy of at some point in our life.

We are always good enough and that’s the reason why we are here. We are good enough for each person, situation and opportunity that presents itself. Yet at some point in our life when our safety and certainty was threatened, we chose to believe that wasn’t true.

Because of this experience and what we decided to believe, we run patterns of behavior that are designed to protect us. When we are about to do something that will stretch our capabilities, we have a little voice that warns us of danger and tells us we can’t do it or we shouldn’t do it. This means we can often get in our own way and miss out on those opportunities, relationships and situations that can help us achieve what we want.

You can change this by negotiating with your little voice. It may sound simple or even silly but, it works. Remember that what we resist persists; and the more we try to ignore the voice, the more it will persist.

Start acknowledging the little voice by thanking it and letting it know you are okay and, you will give it a go anyway. As you repeatedly give things a go, you will begin to build more belief in yourself and see how good enough you always are.

5. I Will Be Judged

We can often hold ourselves back from doing new things because we are afraid other people will judge us and see us as lacking in some way. Remember, we often focus on our fear; and the more we focus on this, we will see more examples of people judging us.

You have no control over what others think or feel and most of the time, they don’t think anything about you at all. They are more concerned with what they think or feel about themselves, just like you are.

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If you feel judged by other people, it’s more often than not just a reflection you see of your own thoughts and judgments about yourself.

When fear of judgment comes up for you, ask yourself “Where am I judging myself right now?” Remind yourself that no matter what outcome you get, just the fact that you are showing up and giving things a go means you are always more than good enough, and that deserves acknowledgment.

6. I Am Not as Good as Them

This is a self-limiting belief based on comparison. When we compare ourselves with others, it can really freeze us in our tracks.

This very limiting belief has become more prevalent since the upward surge of social media. It can cause us to waste precious energy, feeling we don’t have what it takes.

If you find yourself comparing and feeling emotions like jealousy, loss of confidence, annoyance or self-consciousness, then you can bet your bottom dollar this belief is playing out unconsciously.

Remind yourself that we are all different. This means we all have unique personalities, a range of different strengths and natural talents. It also means we all have different traits that require development. No one does everything perfectly and this is why we can all easily compliment each other in different ways.

There is no less than or more than, there is just difference. Just because they do it differently to you, doesn’t mean you are not as good as them; it just means you are unique and that is a good thing.

7. I Have Failed

If you often tell yourself you have failed, then you will eventually stop giving things a go.

Believing that you have failed is so disempowering, because it is very closely linked to the belief that you are a failure, and it means you will avoid doing things that may lead you to feel that way about yourself in the future.

Remember, the more you repeat a statement, the more you believe it to be true. This is why it is essential to completely banish this phrase from your vocabulary.

Just because something hasn’t worked out the way you wanted it to, does not mean you have failed. Neuro Linguistic Programming is a modality that develops a person to achieve excellence. One of the presuppositions of NLP states that there is “no failure, only feedback”. The feedback being the information you receive, which can help you change things next time around. This means there is learning and growth in the experience.[1]

Instead of telling yourself you have failed, see the experience as a lesson. Ask yourself what you can learn from it and how you can use that feedback to assist you in the future.

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8. I Am an Idiot

If you tell yourself you are an idiot, please stop.

This is a statement you may use a bit tongue in cheek, when you have made a mistake. Here’s the thing though:

Even if you say something in jest, your unconscious mind is always listening and will respond and remind you accordingly.

If making a mistake means you are an idiot, then you will avoid doing things where there is a chance you might make a mistake. This can massively keep you inside your comfort zone when outside your comfort zone is where you need to be.

Mistakes are part of achieving success. If you are like many of us, you probably do something at least three times before you do it well. And for each mistake you make, you get closer to the result you want.

Totally banish this belief statement from your vocabulary and just remind yourself that when you make a mistake, you are that much closer to where you want to be.

9. I Can Never Do This

This is a personal capability belief teamed up with a gross generalisation. Generalizations are words like, “always”, “everything”, “never;” and when we use them, we delete any possible exceptions of the opposite being true.

If you tell yourself you can never do something, you will avoid it at all costs in the future, because it doesn’t feel good when you receive lots of reminders of your inability to do it.

When you change this belief to “I haven’t succeeded in doing this yet” and then, plan small steps to show yourself that you actually can; you will give yourself more opportunity to expand your capabilities and open yourself up to your true potential.

The Bottom Line

Identifying and acknowledging your self-limiting beliefs is the first step in taking back your own power. Blame can keep you stuck for years and over time erodes your self-esteem and can even cause you to go backwards.

True sustainable success is achieved from the inside out, by making the choice to work on your own belief system. It’s vital you weed out any beliefs that are limiting you in any way. This is the way to true empowerment and success, where you will open up your full potential and over time you will notice your life will become limitless.

More to Help You Get Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Austin Prock via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] NLP UK: No failure only feedback

More by this author

Deb Johnstone

Deb is a sought after mindset speaker and a transformational life and business coach specialising in NLP and dynamic mindset.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

What Is Self-Worth and How to Recognize Yours

What Is Self-Worth and How to Recognize Yours

There are a ton of articles on the internet on one’s “self” topic or another. It’s possible that you’ve read some of them before this one, and you’re wondering how this article might be any different from the rest.

The truth is that self-love, self-esteem, self-empathy, self-regard, and all the other ‘self-’ words are indeed great and unique qualities to be instilled. Still, the most crucial concept of them all is self-worth.

What is Self-Worth?

Self-worth is simply defined as the level of importance you place on yourself. It is an emotional outlook that determines how and what you feel about yourself in comparison to other people.

Self-worth is a fundamental part of our being, and it controls the way we see ourselves. Everything we think about, all the emotions we feel, and even the way we act is a product of what value we place on ourselves by ourselves.

Self-worth is an entirely sensitive topic. So, here are a few recommended steps to recognizing your true self-worth.

    The Theory of Self-Worth

    To most people, self-worth only comes after a feat has been achieved or when in competition with another person. This is the theory: that a person’s life goal is self-recognition and that this recognition is a product of their accomplishments. This theory also holds capability, determination, performance, and self-esteem as its model elements.

    These four elements cooperate with each other to contribute to how we regard ourselves. It may be relatable, but should we really be placing so much importance on our accomplishments just to determine our self-worth? Is outdoing the next person the only way we can hold ourselves in high regard? What really determines one’s sense of value?

    Factors That Define Self-Worth

    The four elements from the theory above are not the only benchmarks used by people to determine self-worth. Many other things can inhibit how a person recognizes their self-worth. For some, it might be childhood trauma, low grades, or even bullying.

    The following are more common ways people measure their self-worth:

    1. Sphere of Contact

    Many times, people are weighed (or weigh themselves) by the number of prominent people they are close to and know.

    2. Physical and Emotional Appearance

    We find ourselves passing judgments just by regarding a person’s outward look – what they wear, how they speak, or how the society feels about them.

    3. Occupation

    This is another yardstick that people use to measure self-worth. Someone can be mean to a waiter and friendly to a doctor, for example, because they feel the latter is more successful than the former. Career choices often add positive or negative importance to one’s life.

    4. Possessions

    This is a common factor used to measure self-worth. It can be anything from the size of your paycheck to the kind and number of cars you own. It is usually material assets.

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      What Self-Worth Is Not

      The truth is that status or material things should never measure self-worth. There are many misconceptions about self-worth that have sadly shaped the minds of people into thinking less of themselves when they are, in fact, more.

      Self-Worth Is Not Your Career

      Your occupation should not determine the value you place on your life.

      There have been cases where experienced and trained professionals have had to settle for menial jobs because they couldn’t get hired. If this doesn’t take away their qualifications, why then should self-worth be measured according to career choices? The only thing that should be a concern is how gratifying the job is.

      Self-Worth Is Not About Your Accomplishment

      Achievements are great, but what you do or achieve shouldn’t affect the importance you place on yourself. No label, certificate, or plaque should measure your worth for you.

      Self-Worth Is Not Your Age

      I don’t mean to sound cliché by telling you age is nothing but a big number, but I will tell you this: how old or how young you are does not determine how prepared you are for anything.

      You only need to be willing and dedicated, and the world will be at your feet.

      Self-Worth Is Not Your Love Life

      It is tempting to try to feel good about yourself just because someone feels good about you. What if they leave?

      Single or not, do not make a relationship the basis for your self-worth.

      Self-Worth Is Not Your Grades

      Are you the least smart person in your class? Know that you are just as valuable as a straight-A student because you have individual gifts and might excel at something else that an A-student will flunk terribly.

      Self-Worth Is Not Your Health Status

      Do you have an illness that’s lowering your spirits? It is safe to say that positive people heal more quickly, so stay optimistic.

      Self-Worth Is Not Your Finances

      Too much or too little money does not define a person. As long as you are satisfied and have enough to survive, then there’s nothing to worry about.

      Self-Worth Is Not About Your Preference

      Do people think you’re old-school or too sophisticated for this generation? Their opinion doesn’t matter as long as you’re okay with who you are.

      Self-worth is only about you!

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        What Self-Worth Really Is

        It can be somewhat overwhelming to see yourself for who “you surely are” without the assets or dream job or friends. For some people, it can be agonizing, and they would do anything but come to this stage of awareness. There also exists a high possibility for one to become afraid of becoming self-aware.

        It is natural for humans to be elusive of this sort of fear or pain. This process is necessary for the discovery of self-worth and should never be avoided. Beyond every seemingly painful emotion is an eternity of freedom, and the first step on this journey is self-awareness. This is the key to finding self-worth.

        Everyone has a mental picture of who they want to be. Sometimes this person is not who he or she is. It’s okay to have ambitions and life goals, but never let your dreams make you deny yourself. Self-denial is an enemy to self-worth. This is why it is painful to become self-aware. Most people will never want to let go of who they think they are and embrace their true selves for who they indeed are.

        Self-worth is not a bad thing. It only makes you accept your weaknesses while you learn to focus on your strengths. Some of this strength lies undiscovered, and until we become self-aware, we will be unable to bring them to light.

        On self-worth, you can either be your own best friend or your worst enemy. If you keep evading self-awareness, you will only keep delaying your freedom and healing. Self-worth truly comes when you fully understand who you are and what strong potential you possess.

        The Importance of Self-Worth

        The best part about recognizing self-worth is seeing the practical impact it has on your behavior. Self-worth affects the things you do and the choices you make consciously. You start rejecting anything that has a negative effect on your outlook on life, and you become more open to things crafted to make you a better person.

        Self-worth is what keeps you satisfied even if all your achievements, assets, and possessions are taken away from you. The moment you reach healthy levels of self-worth, life becomes much more meaningful.

          How To Recognize Your Self-Worth

          So, you’ve finally become self-aware, but you don’t feel good about yourself. Nothing excites you about you. You think you’re just an average person, coursing through life with nothing special to offer.

          You start to feel like you need validation from determining your self-worth. You want to achieve a task or even take a quiz to measure your self-worth. What you should know is that self-worth first comes from within.

          To reiterate the opening paragraph of this article, it is the level of importance you place on yourself; by yourself! By merely existing, you are sufficient.

          Finding Strength

          Strength in self-worth comes from finding qualities you excel at. These qualities will be a constant reminder whenever you start feeling like you are not worthy enough.

          Little things like a list of your talents, things you like about yourself that make you stand out, challenges you’ve won at, how you’ve helped other people, and other great reflections are examples of questions you should have answers to. Your strength lies in those questions.

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          The Dangers of Linking Self-Worth to Things and People

          You make unhealthy decisions when you keep looking for validation in things and people. You never get to see yourself for the potential-filled and robust person you are.

          Looking for external validation will only frustrate you. You set yourself up for a chain of disappointments. Place your worth on your insides. It is the key to leading a healthy life.

          How To Start Increasing Your Self-Worth

          Now that you’ve seen the vacuums that continuously drain your self-worth, it’s time to learn ways to increase, strengthen, and sustain it. You can start by highlighting the things you previously found your worth in and substitute them for more productive activities.

          Here are some examples.

          For the One Who Found Self-Worth in Excelling at School or at Work:

          Take some time off from all the excessive reading. Engage in an activity that you really like. Learn a new skill, like how to play an instrument or how to dance salsa. Read an unusual book.

          For the One Who Sought Validation from Social Media:

          Go offline for some time. Attend hangouts with physical people. Take long and reflective walks. Be intentional about your words and actions. Show your relations and friends that you care for them. Show up physically for people. Be there for them.

          On your journey to recognize self-worth, never compare yourself to anyone. By comparison, you rob yourself of self-awareness and block your chances of seeing your strong potential. Comparison only measures your worth by other people’s standards. How about creating some rules on your own?

          With time, it becomes easier to free oneself from the weight that comes with no self-worth. It is easy to do things you believe in than otherwise. Never doubt the process. Reassure yourself that your journey to self-worth will be the most rewarding experience of your life.

          Let’s take a look at some practical ways to boost self-worth:

          1. Do a Talent or Skill Inventory

          Everyone has something good to offer. Humans possess and can learn mind-blowing abilities.

          What can you offer? Take stock of your skills and gifts.

          What are those cool things you do effortlessly? When you identify your abilities, you suppress your weaknesses and give voice to your strength.

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          2. Pardon Yourself

          You have to forgive yourself for all your shortcomings. Learn from all your past mistakes. If you keep feeling guilty or ashamed, you will never have a healthy sense of self-worth.

          3. Take Risks

          The only reason you haven’t done something great for yourself is that you are still wondering whether or not you should do it. Never be afraid to take risks to become a better version of yourself. Stop doubting your abilities and go.

          If you don’t succeed on your initial try, you would only have learned how not to fail next time. Get up and do great things.

          Try these 6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances.

          4. Self-Love

          Accept yourself for who you are. If you have negative qualities, work on becoming a better person. Never make the mistake of living in denial. You would only be delaying your freedom.

          Here’re 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself.

          5. Surround Yourself with Healthy People

          Healthy attracts healthy. Healthy habits can rub off as much as negative ones do.

          Surround yourself with the change you want to see. Be with people who have overcome the doubts they had about themselves and, like you, are also on a journey to recognizing self-worth.

          Take a look at this article and learn How to Surround Yourself With Positive People.

          It is crucial for everyone to lead healthy lives physically, emotionally, socially, mentally, and otherwise, by evaluating our self-worth. We have to consciously take steps to build and develop our sense of regard for each other and, more importantly, for ourselves. Healthy self-worth is a source of deep and lasting satisfaction in life.

          Final Thoughts

          It is worthy to note that you will begin to lose friends on your journey to recognize your self-worth.

          People with low self-worth find solace in each other’s company and so your new-found confidence might become threatening. It’s okay. Ensure your growth process inspires them, but do not hesitate to keep a distance from anyone who does not support your growth.

          More Tips to Improve Your Self-Worth

          Featured photo credit: Erik Lucatero via unsplash.com

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