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Are you tired of thinking “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t apply for that promotion because I’m not management material,” or “The attractive person on the 5th floor wouldn’t want to date someone like me”?
These are all limiting beliefs: They limit you in some way.
But I’ve got good news for you. It’s time to take back your life and eliminate the power of these kinds of beliefs. But how to overcome limiting beliefs?
Today, I’m sharing the exact steps you need to take to say goodbye to these beliefs once and for all. Kindly note, though, it’s a journey, and you’ve got to put in the work if you want to see the results.
What Are Limiting Beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are any beliefs, thoughts, convictions, or opinions you have that limit you. You believe these to be absolute truths. They prevent you from going after your dreams and goals, and they keep you in your comfort zone. While some limiting beliefs are good – like stealing and killing are bad – most of these beliefs aren’t good for you.
They are stories you tell yourself, and you believe that they keep you safe. Limiting beliefs keep you from growing into the person you are meant to be, and they keep you from being truly happy. Moreover, you won’t take risks, go after new opportunities, or make good decisions.
These beliefs are also defense mechanisms. Maybe something happened in your past, and now you generalize and try to protect yourself.
Limiting beliefs is like full paralysis. You may want to, but you won’t. You’re stuck because you believe you can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t, and you aren’t.
Examples of Limiting Beliefs
There are three types of limiting beliefs:
Limiting beliefs about yourself.
When you have a limiting belief about you, you believe that you aren’t good enough and there’s something inherently wrong with you.
Examples of limiting beliefs about yourself include:
Limiting beliefs about the world.
When you have limiting beliefs about the world, you feel like you can’t do something because of some external force.
Examples of limiting beliefs about the world are:
Limiting beliefs about life
When you have a limiting belief about life, you feel like things aren’t within your reach or you can’t do something because it’s too challenging.
Examples of limiting beliefs about life include:
If you want to know more about limiting beliefs, check out our article on 15 limiting belief examples.
Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?
Limiting beliefs originate from anywhere in your life. They come from experiences – things you have lived through, and now these limiting beliefs are blocks to keep you from experiencing something bad or negative or traumatic.
They can also be hereditary and related to our childhoods. From a young age, we learn certain behaviors in life – from our parents, family, friends, teachers, and mentors – and these stay with us, shaping our lives.
Society can also impose limiting beliefs, as can religious and educational institutions. Limiting beliefs also come from a place of fear, and these beliefs give you an excuse to not do something.
6 Steps to Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs and Live the Life You Deserve
So how can you stop these crippling beliefs? This step-by-step guide will help you say no to limiting beliefs and yes to unlimiting beliefs so you can live the life you deserve.
Step #1. Identify Your Limiting Beliefs
As with all things in life, you can only change something when you acknowledge the problem. In this case, you need to identify your limiting beliefs.
Unfortunately, these beliefs may be so deeply ingrained in you that you won’t even know you have limiting beliefs. So what now?
Be mindful and aware of your thoughts. When they turn negative, what are you thinking? What thoughts are getting in your way?
Are your limiting beliefs about your job, the promotion you want, your family, or something else?
When you’ve identified your limiting thoughts, reflect on them for a moment. How much have they affected your life? What is the personal cost of having these beliefs and believing in them? What could you have achieved in your life if not for these limiting beliefs?
Step #2. Ask Yourself 2 Question When You Have a Limiting Belief
When you’ve identified the limiting beliefs you have, you need to ask yourself two questions:
Limiting beliefs are thoughts you consider to be absolute truths. Except, they are not truths. They are merely thoughts or opinions.
So when you know what your limiting belief is and you ask yourself “what if I’m wrong?” you need to consider that your belief may not be true. Consequently, the limiting belief loses its power.
Question what you believe to be true, and believe that your thoughts are incorrect.
Consider the alternatives where you do ask the attractive person out or you do go after the promotion you want.
People sometimes like to be victims. It prevents them from taking responsibility and doing something. Unfortunately, when we adopt limiting beliefs, we like to hold onto them because they serve us in some way.
Your limiting beliefs may protect you from failure and struggle. These thoughts make you feel special – Oh, look at me. I’m too old to start a new career. Feel sorry for me.
But are your limiting beliefs really protecting you? Just because they serve you doesn’t mean it is good for you.
Step #3. Understand the Difference Between Beliefs and Truths
I briefly touched on this one, and it’s an important point to understand. Beliefs are not truths. Your limiting beliefs are not real.
You need to decide whether you want to keep onto your limiting beliefs and defend them, or do you want to go after your goals and dreams and live the life you’ve always wanted. You’ve got to decide now.
I can only say that it’s worth pursuing your dreams and goals and reaping the rewards of personal growth. Limiting beliefs don’t really keep you company or keep you warm.
Step #4. Take Responsibility
Overcoming limiting beliefs also means you need to start taking responsibility for your life.
Most people believe that life happens to them and that things are beyond their control. You need to shift this thinking: life happens for you. You have free will, and you decide how your life is going to pan out and where you’ll end up. You have the power.
While there are many things that happen that aren’t in your control, how you react is in your power. You can learn to master your emotions, look for the lessons, and make better decisions next time.
Step #5. Change How You Talk to Yourself
How you talk to yourself has a significant impact on your life. Negative self-talk sets you up for failure, lowers your self-esteem, and limits you. That’s right – limiting beliefs are a form of negative self-talk.
So doing the opposite – engaging in positive self-talk – sets you up for success and helps eliminate limiting beliefs from your life. Positive self-talk can even help you see the whole truth.
It’s important to remember that self-talk isn’t just a once-off. You need to continue talking to yourself – the more you tell yourself you can do it, you are good enough, and you do have time, the more you’ll believe it. Change your narrative for good and into being positive, and you’ll reap the benefits.
Positive self-talk changes limiting thoughts to empowering ones – and empowering thoughts does exactly that. They empower you to be in the driver’s seat of your life and not let pesky little limiting beliefs hold you back.
Step #6. Eliminate Limiting Beliefs
The last step is to eliminate limiting beliefs. All the previous steps outlined here are stepping stones that lead to this step.
You need to develop an alternative belief. Instead of thinking you can’t write the next best novel, think that you can and plan how you are going to do that. Do you need to learn more skills? Having an action plan and implementing it keeps you busy – you’ll think of ways you can make your dreams a reality.
You also want to keep proving your limiting beliefs wrong. The more you devalue your limiting beliefs, the less power they have over you, and the more you believe you can.
Positive affirmations and mantras further help you keep limiting beliefs at bay. Mantras are positive statements that put you in the right mind frame, and they also give you the boost you need to keep you on track.
Examples of positive affirmations or mantras you can use are:
Final Thoughts on How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs
It doesn’t feel great to want to but believing you can’t or shouldn’t. You know that limiting beliefs keep you back in life, and you also now know that you aren’t powerless.
You always have the power to direct your life and go after what you dream of. The first step is identifying what are the beliefs that limit you. Next, you need to consider how your limiting beliefs serve you and take the stance that they aren’t absolute truths. They are merely opinions that negatively influence your life.
To help you get started, check out this roundup of limiting beliefs worksheets that can help change the way you think.
Take responsibility and take action to speak positively and kindly to yourself. Use mantras or positive affirmations, find alternative – positive, you can – beliefs, and don’t give limiting beliefs any power over you.
Limiting beliefs sabotage you, but you can put an end to this vicious cycle! Check out our guide on signs of self-sabotaging behavior so you can stop and start living a happy and healthy life.