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Published on January 9, 2020

How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs and Get Over Them

How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs and Get Over Them

If you think back to your earliest childhood memories, it’s likely you remember times when you were fearless. Curiosity likely took you to places you wouldn’t dare go now and at times, you probably threw caution to the wind.

However, as you began to age, you were introduced to an unending list of rules about what you should say, how you should be, and what you should do. These likely resulted in you limiting yourself and maybe even not realizing your full potential.

While you do have to live by some rules, it’s important that you aren’t holding yourself back from living a full life.

If you feel like you want to attain greater heights but feel you’re standing in your own way, then continue reading. This article will explore how you can identify your limiting beliefs and get over them.

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

Have you ever made a statement like “I’m not good at math” or “I have two left feet and would never make a good dancer”? These are examples of limiting beliefs that put you in a corner of your own making and often falsely define you.

A limiting belief is a state of mind, conviction or belief that you think to be true that limits you in some way.[1] This limiting belief could be about you, your interactions with other people, or with the world and how it works.

Limiting beliefs can have a number of negative effects on you. They could keep you from making good choices, taking new opportunities, or reaching your potential. Ultimately, limiting beliefs can keep you stuck in a negative state of mind and hinder you from living the life you truly desire.

Causes of Limiting Beliefs

Now that you understand what limiting beliefs are, do you know what causes them? Where do they come from and how have they influenced your choices in life?

Some argue that people are not wired to be open-minded as our inherent biases cause us to only desire positive and agreeable information.

However, there are other things that cause limited beliefs aside from inherent biases and an inability to be open-minded. Below, you’ll find a few you may resonate with.

Family Beliefs

Growing up, your parents likely had morals and values they tried to instill in you. These often stemmed from their own familial beliefs and ideas about how both you and the world should be. It could be things such as what career paths you should take, how to behave, and how to engage with others.

You can end up forming your own limiting beliefs based on the beliefs they instilled in you. An example would be your parents reinforcing a belief that authority should never be challenged.

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As a result, you may believe that unfair treatment from people of authority is something that has to be accepted as opposed to challenged. You may even be unable to recognize this behavior.

Education

Education plays a major role in forming limiting beliefs too. Whether you’re learning from family, teachers, or friends, they all have an impact on what you adopt as truth. This is because they’re both in a position of authority and constantly sharing information, ideas, and beliefs about how the world works.

When you’re learning from authorities who you respect, you are even more inclined to conclude that the things they tell you are true.

Experiences

When you make decisions or have experiences in life, it is common for you to draw conclusions afterward. If, for example, you fall in love and it ends in heartbreak, you might conclude that love always ends in pain.

These sorts of negative experiences, in particular, can strongly shape your limiting beliefs. It’s important to remember that the conclusions you come to after bad experiences happen are only valid temporarily.

How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs

So, how do you identify limiting beliefs? There are a number of ways you can do so and most require some personal reflection.

Seeing as they may not be easily identifiable, here are a couple of methods you could try to bring them to the surface.[2]

1. Identify Your Beliefs

To identify beliefs that are limiting you, start by writing down your general beliefs.

Write down beliefs about anything you feel strongly about and that influence your daily life. Group them into different categories like finances, family, relationships, or health.

Once you’ve done this, examine which ones are helping you grow and which could be limiting you.

2. Assess Your Behavior

Another approach you can take to identify limiting beliefs would be to assess your behavior.

Think about scenarios where you’ve acted in negative or toxic ways and think about why.

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If you look closely at your toxic behaviors, you might discover that the underlying cause is limiting beliefs.

For instance, if you find it difficult to speak your mind when someone has offended you, you may possess the limiting belief that conflict is bad. This, in turn, could keep you from having truly intimate relationships as you’re unable to speak your mind and have healthy confrontations.

3. Write Down Areas Where You Feel Challenged

If you’ve noticed that you have recurring challenges in certain areas of your life, this could be indicative of limiting beliefs.

Perhaps you can’t seem to land a well-paid job or you never have luck when it comes to love. These challenges may simply be the byproduct of erroneous beliefs that you’ve adopted as truths.

As you go through each challenge you write down, also make a note of which of your beliefs pertain to that challenge. So, if you’re always struggling to make enough money, uncover what you think about money and how accessible it is to you.

7 Ways to Overcome Them

The good thing about limiting beliefs is that you have the power to change them any time. This doesn’t mean that doing so will be an easy process, but commitment and a greater level of self-awareness can make it possible.

The suggestions below could help you successfully overcome any limiting beliefs you have.

1. Organize Your Environment

Believe it or not, your environment can have an effect on your beliefs. Having a well-organized and spacious environment could improve your mental health and encourage positive thinking. When your environment is tidy, it gives you the space to think and gain more clarity.

To create a better environment, get rid of any clutter you may have accumulated at home. You could even go as far as redesigning your space to improve the flow of your home.

You may even consider using feng shui practices.[3] The basic premise is to channel the flow of energy by placing objects in a certain way.

It’s a good way of keeping positive energy flowing through your home and getting rid of negative ones. Hopefully, this will influence your mindset and help you focus on positive thoughts and beliefs.

2. Try Minimalism

Embracing minimalism can help you get rid of false beliefs that are holding you back.

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The fundamentals of minimalism are clarity, honesty and detaching from material things.[4]

For example, if you find that you’re addicted to cluttering your wardrobe with new clothing items, it could be because of limiting beliefs about your physical appearance. An example of such a belief would be “I’m not attractive unless I’m wearing the latest fashion”.

Seeing as minimalism is all about your mindset and resisting peer pressure, it could help you reverse limiting beliefs and embrace a more meaningful lifestyle.

3. Explore More

As mentioned earlier, limiting beliefs can be a result of being closed-minded. To help open your mind, learn to let curiosity lead you. When you give in to curiosity, you’re more likely to explore the world around you and break out of your comfort zone. What this can do is help expand your mind and make you challenge your beliefs.

Curiosity also creates opportunities for you to learn about other people’s beliefs and observe new ideas. Some ways to explore would be to have conversations with people who have different backgrounds than you.

Traveling is another effective method to try as it gives you the chance to engage with different cultures and ways of life.

4. Counseling

If you’re struggling to change your limiting beliefs on your own, you could benefit from the help of a therapist or counselor.

In the event that your limiting beliefs are triggering other conditions like anxiety or depression, you may have even more of a need to seek professional help. This is because counselors and therapists have the resources and knowledge needed to help you overcome challenges and live a more satisfying life. They can also help you trace limiting beliefs and give you the tools you need to get over them, such as cognitive-behavioral therapies supported by gamification.[5]

Technology has made getting counseling and health-related services so much easier.[6] This is because you’re able to download health-related apps and liaise with your therapist or counselor from the comfort of your mobile phone.

There are also mental health trackers that can be used to track anxiety triggers, emotional states, and your progress over time. All of this makes it so that you’re not alone on your journey to eliminating limiting beliefs.

5. Meditation

Beliefs often originate from the thoughts of others that worm their ways into our own, so tackling your own thoughts could help you change negative beliefs.

To have more control over your thoughts, take a few minutes a day to meditate. When you meditate, you free your mind from negative or unwanted thoughts and ideas.

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The goal of meditation should be to let thoughts pass through your mind without engaging in them.

Meditation helps you calm your mind and connect with your inner-self. Once you’re able to get past all of the clutter in your head, you can focus on the positive beliefs you want to adopt.

With time, these beliefs could replace the negative ones. Before you know it, your mind will be filled with positive beliefs that help you become the best version of yourself.

6. Personal Development

If you want better beliefs to guide your thinking and choices, you have to work on yourself. This means actively seeking opportunities for development and growth in all aspects of your life.

Self-improvement is important as it can increase self-awareness and help you overcome weaknesses. Since it requires actions, you’re forced to do something about your limiting beliefs as opposed to hoping they’ll magically go away.

Ways to develop yourself include:

  • Reading books from authors that share the kind of beliefs you hope to have
  • Podcasts are also a great way to consume information that could make you better.
  • Set practical goals so that you can measure your growth.
  • Journaling is another tangible way to monitor your progress, especially when it comes to your thoughts and beliefs.

7. Positive Affirmations

If you struggle with low-self esteem, it can be hard to establish positive beliefs. However, positive affirmations are a great way to help improve your self-esteem. They force you to speak about yourself in a positive way, and hopefully, with time you’ll begin believing your affirmations.

If you have limiting beliefs about how lovable you are, it could limit your ability to attract loving and kind people into your life.

To help change that belief, you could write down an affirmation that says “I am valuable, amazing and lovable”. Saying this every day could help build your self-esteem over time.[7]

Your positive affirmations should also celebrate your strengths. Use your successes and your strengths to write down affirmations that remind you of just how incredible you are. This could also give you the courage you need to push yourself and achieve more.

Final Thoughts

The world is full of beliefs, and as long as there are different kinds of people, this won’t change. However, you’ve got to figure out which beliefs help you live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

All of the beliefs that keep you from living that life are limiting and ones that you should get rid of. By doing so, you give yourself a chance to create a life that supersedes your expectations.

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Tim Marshall via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dan Matthews, CPRP

A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide)

How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide)

Is there such a thing as a quarter life crisis and could it be the cause of you experiencing a lack of happiness and fulfilment in your life or career right now?

According to popular psychology, a quarter life crisis is a crisis “involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life” which is most commonly experienced in a period ranging from a person’s twenties up to their mid-thirties.[1] It tends to occur after we have finished our schooling and study, when we have settled into everyday life, often at major points or life changing events when we feel we are at a crossroads. We know something must change but we don’t know what or how to begin. It can feel confusing and lonely.

The good news is this is quite a normal experience. With some insight and small steps, you can gain clarity and direction on a way forward.

Firstly, it’s important to realize you are not alone. LinkedIn surveyed thousands of 25 to 33 years olds; the data showed that 75% had experienced a quarter life crisis with the average age being 27.[2]

Our twenties and thirties are nothing like they used to be. There are so many pressures now for people in this age group including having a well-qualified career, a secure relationship and possibly a family. The prospect of owning a home of your own becomes important, yet each year seems to be getting further out of reach, putting further pressure on your income earning capacity and career choice.

Personally, I have experienced both a quarter life crisis and a mid life one and there are similarities between both. Change was instigated for me both times by a difficult life-changing event, because I didn’t understand what I was experiencing or how to change it. Hindsight is a great thing and I sometimes wish I’d had the insights back then that I have now.

When you become aware of what you are experiencing and acknowledge your feelings as perfectly normal, change and transformation flows with more ease as you begin to take the steps to find new direction, happiness and fulfilment.

Here you will find what I consider to be the complete guide. It contains the essential steps I have identified to get clear on your way forward and move through this period of your life with more certainty.

1. Stop Comparing Your Own Quarter Life Crisis to Your Friend’s

Comparing yourself with your friends and peers, noticing their life choices and achievements can lead you to feel inferior and this increases those feelings of pressure and anxiety. You only have to jump online for five minutes and scroll through your newsfeed to see images of couples with children, career and life announcements and they all seem much more satisfied than you.

The truth is that often what you see is not real and they could be experiencing their own crisis too behind the facade. This means you could be comparing yourself with something that doesn’t even exist. What is the point in that?

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If you want to make this easier for yourself, stop accessing social media platforms. You can remove apps from your phone so you have to physically log in. If you need to access certain platforms for work or business, stay away from your newsfeed, even unfollow connections until you have worked through this period of your life.

When you stop comparing, you will notice that the pressure decreases and you will feel more comfort in your current situation. This allows change to unfold at its own pace.

2. Let Go of All the Should’s

If you hear yourself say, “I should be” or “I have to”, you are attempting to live your life by other people’s standards. And now you are aware of this, you will be amazed at how often you use this language.

The thing is, trying to live to others’ standards will never bring you true happiness or fulfilment. Even the use of this language brings a feeling of self-judgement and stress without even taking the actions associated with it. And over time, continually living this way, you will start to feel like your life isn’t your own; and you will lead yourself deeper into crisis as your self-esteem suffers.

If you hear yourself using this language, stop in your tracks. Explore where the thought actually came from and who said you should be doing things that way. Let go of the need to judge yourself according to someone else’s standards and start to think about what you really want instead.

When you let go of all the “I should’s” and start to replace them with your “I wants,” you will notice the feeling of lightness as your self-esteems rises again.

3. Get Clear on What Is Important to You

As you begin to let go of what you thought should be important, you create space to get clear on what is important to you.

Most of the time, like the majority of people, you are living your life unconsciously and unaware of what is really important to you. This means you will find it difficult to make choices that will light you up from the inside.

Dr John Demartini, a long time educator and international expert in human behavior states in his book The Values Factor, that true motivation is inspiration and is present when we are fulfilling our values. And, when we are living according to our truest and most important values is when we are our most fulfilled.

This means it’s important to get ultra clear on your most important values. You can do this simply by looking at what you put most of your time and energy into currently, and the moments in your life when you have felt your most fulfilled. Those moments may have been at any point in your life and may even mean going right back to memories of childhood.

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As you get clearer on what is important to you, you will gain even more clarity on what you truly want for you.

4. Change Your Environment

Feeling stuck can often be exacerbated when we stay in the same place, because our environment can have a huge impact on our state of mind. And, when you are in a stuck state of mind, it can be difficult to see past what you have in your life right now.

This doesn’t mean you need to sell all your belongings and go to live in an ashram for a year, although this may be the thing that feels right for you, and if it is that is okay.

You can gain the same benefits by going on a holiday, going away for a long weekend or even just going for a few day trips into nature, the forest or the beach where you can feel a real connection with self.

When you change your environment, you can change your state and your mindset. You shift yourself out of focusing on feeling dissatisfied with your life right now and shift yourself into thinking about how your life could be.

5. Enter the Dream Room and Ask Yourself “What If?”

There have been many great stories created in The Dream Room.

Walt Disney has been named one of the most remarkably creative, and as you may know one of the most successful individuals of the 20th century. The methods he used for all his creations are still being used today. Each of his creations began in the place called The Dream Room, the place where anything is possible; where there is nothing too absurd, there are no limits and no judgement. This was a place for brainstorming or dream storming as it was called.[3]

I always like to call it the “What if” room, which is a place where you ask yourself the “What if?” questions. This is the place where you can create your own outrageous wish list of what you really want. It doesn’t have to be a physical room; it’s a room you go to in your mind’s eye. This dream space is expansive and the expansion can be increased when you also change your physical environment by going to a place outdoors where you can see the horizon.

Find your space, arm yourself with a journal and pen, and ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything were possible, what would I do and what would I create for my life?
  • What if life was exactly as I wanted it to be, what would that look like and how would I feel experiencing that?
  • What if I were without fear, what would I aim for?
  • What if I couldn’t possibly fail, how can I see myself doing this?

Dream as you did when you were a child, when you knew without a doubt that anything is possible.

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When you embrace this and allow yourself to dream, you will begin to create the most exciting picture of your next chapter in life.

6. Be Patient and Let Go of Control

Human beings waste so much time trying to control how their lives evolve and if you attempt to rush this dream process, you will find it difficult to gain the clarity you are looking for.

Learn patience, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and you are creating your own private empire of what you want for you.

This means that your dream room vision may be created in one day, two weeks or even a year. However long it takes, make it okay for you.

Many of the answers you are searching for are locked in your unconscious mind, things you have forgotten over time while you have possibly been focusing on living the way you thought you should live.

As you start asking the right questions, your answers will begin to come little by little and, will often come when you least expect them.

Carry a small notebook with you or voice record on an app on your phone. Even keep a notebook by your bed for when you first wake up in the morning.

7. Ditch Your Perception of Life Always Being Perfect

Even if we create an exciting vision, we can often get in our own way by our fear of things not working out perfectly.

We see failure before we have even started and hesitate on something that powerfully lights us up on the inside because it’s not the perfect time. Before we know it, years have passed and we are still in the same place. This can cause an even bigger crisis in later years.

Life is always happening perfectly for us; the problem is our perception of perfection is imperfect.

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Over the years, we have made perfection mean everything it really doesn’t. As a society, we have chosen to see perfection as things always lining up perfectly, no mistakes, a flawlessness, always getting the right result and the outcomes we want.

Here’s the thing: the opposite of this is absolutely true.

Life happens perfectly for you all the time. This means all the mistakes you make, all the outcomes you don’t want and not getting things right first time, is absolutely perfect for you at the time. As you make these mistakes, the lessons and growth you receive are vital to you living the life you truly want in the long term.

If at any point, you feel your need for perfection is possibly holding you back, comfort yourself with knowing that whatever the outcome, it’s happening perfectly. You will be exactly where you are meant to be to enable you to eventually live the life of your dreams

8. Make a Stand for You

Often when we make a decision on our future, we can find those closest to us object to our plans, because they want what is best for us; they want us to be happy.

The thing is what they think will make us happy isn’t necessarily what will really make us happy, because their dreams and values are different to ours. This can often make us apprehensive and delay actioning our plans since we don’t want to disappoint them.

This brings to mind something an amazing mentor once said to me, he said, “dogs only bark at what they don’t understand”. To me, this means that if a dog barks, they are not quite sure what is happening and in that uncertainty, they sense danger.

Your loved ones are exactly the same. They don’t understand where you are heading because it’s possibly something they are not familiar with themselves. Or maybe it reminds them of past experiences of their own where things didn’t quite work out the way they wanted them to. They won’t be disappointed in you when you make a stand for what you want. They just love you and want to protect you.

Proudly make a stand for you and your dream. Reassure them that you love them and you will be okay with whatever happens, because life is always happening for you and you are grateful for their support in the life you are choosing.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, no one else’s life, desires or dreams can bring you happiness and fulfilment; only what is important to you and what you really want can do that.

By being patient and kind with yourself as you move through what can be your most exciting life-changing period, you will feel this crisis point end and find clarity on exactly what will light up your life.

More About Life Crisis

Featured photo credit: ZACHARY STAINES via unsplash.com

Reference

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