One way or another, each one of us carries ingrained, unconscious ideas of just how happy and successful we can be. Not realizing that by holding onto these ideas, we set ourselves limits on what we can and cannot achieve.
Even when we set ourselves personal goals or targets, our limiting beliefs remind us just how much we can or cannot do.
I haven’t met a person yet who didn’t suffer at least a little bit from what I call the Self-Limiting Beliefs (SLB). Even if you’re already extravagantly successful, I’m sure that your own version of the Self-Limiting Beliefs is still holding you back from achieving your true potential.
Self Limiting Beliefs are Learned
Most of our SLBs develop as we are nurtured in childhood. We carry them into adulthood without realizing that these beliefs are nothing more than limitations that we set on ourselves. Clearly, this is something that we can remove or overcome if we so choose. If you just learn to give yourselves a try, or to close our eyes and just see how far you can go if we didn’t see how far you have come.
Well! for me, it all changed when I saw this video below. I was attending one of J.T. Foxx’s business seminars in Johannesburg, South Africa in late 2013. After a full day of listening to one speaker after another I was ready to go, then this video came up. I sat down to listen and suggest you do the same. Because this is a powerful message about overcoming your Self-Limiting Beliefs.
4 Steps to Overcoming Self Limiting Beliefs
Matthew B. James on psychologytoday.com recommends the following steps to overcoming self-limiting beliefs:
Step 1: Write the limiting belief down. Play detective and follow your thoughts and emotions to discover the limiting beliefs that hold you back. Put them on paper and stare them in the face! You might note how strong each belief is and what emotions they elicit in you.
Step 2: Acknowledge that these are beliefs, not truths! This is often the hardest step. “But, but, my limitations are real!” Here’s the place where choice comes in. Which are you more interested in: defending your limitations to the death or achieving your goals and desires? As author Evelyn Waugh wrote, “When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them.” You choose.
Step 3: Try on a different belief. Use your imagination and try on a belief that is aligned with what you want. It might be something like, “My financial difficulties in the past have taught me so much that I’m fully prepared to handle them now!” Or, “Now that I’ve been in an unhealthy relationship I’ve learned what to look for in a happy, loving partner!”
The trick is to go beyond just saying it. You want to really step into this new belief and feel how it feels. Done thoroughly, Steps 2 and 3 will go a long way to dismantling your old limiting decision.
Step 4: Take different action. This might feel scary, but act as if your new belief is true. In other words, if you really are the kind of man women adore, how would you act at parties? Who might you ask out? If you really are capable and have learned a tremendous amount from past financial difficulties, what steps would you take? How would you act differently? If you really are the kind of person who eats healthy food, what will you put in your grocery cart?
When you avoid taking any steps based on your new belief, you will just feed your old limiting belief. Taking action, even the smallest step, will help solidify your new un-limiting decision. Your first steps don’t have to be perfect, just headed in the right direction. And be sure to acknowledge yourself when you’ve taken that step.