“We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience.” -Louise L. Hay
Limiting beliefs are the silent saboteurs that lie in wait ready to prevent us from achieving our goals, or to cause us to self-sabotage our achievements, because deep inside we falsely believe that we don’t deserve them.
The difficulty with limiting beliefs, is that they are not always obvious, but with a little reflection and conversation with your inner voice, you can normally identify them.
Limiting beliefs are predominantly formed at a young age and become a part of your story. Perhaps you lost a running race when you were young, so you told yourself that you weren’t good at sports; or maybe your English teacher told you that your writing skills weren’t up to scratch so you just accepted that you weren’t good at languages. It could even have been that you told a joke once and no one laughed, so you decided to shy away from ever telling jokes again or speaking in public. Each of us have had a number of these experiences in our lives that shook our confidence and went on to shape the person we are today. The important thing to remember, is that you are not the same person you were 5 years ago, 5 months ago, or even 5 minutes ago. The only moment in time that has any relevance is now, this very second that you are reading this article.
Aside from labeling yourself as a particular type of person, you can often spot limiting beliefs in the way you react to certain situations. For example, if you’re experiencing financial problems, you may go through a number of feelings, including anxiety, anger and hopelessness. If you allow yourself to sit with those feelings, you’ll find the limiting belief right beneath them. Anxiety normally arises when you are worried about what others will say. Anger comes from a sense of injustice. Hopelessness arises when you don’t feel good enough.
Releasing limiting beliefs:
- Speak with a trusted friend, family member or coach and share with them the moments when you have experienced really strong emotions towards a situation, or perhaps things that scare you like public speaking.
- Get them to ask you questions about these feelings and get to the root of where the emotion comes from. When was the first time you remember being scared of public speaking?
- Write your discoveries down on paper.
- Say aloud a couple of times and write the words, ‘these are only beliefs, they are not truths’
- Use your imagination to reframe the belief in a way that is aligned with what you want. ‘In the past I have prevented people from seeing the fantastic public speaker that I am.’ Once you realize that these limiting beliefs are only thoughts in your head and that they have no power over you, you are free to write the next chapter in your story exactly as you wish. Ask your friend or family member to keep you accountable to speaking your new truth.
Beyond specific limiting beliefs, many people are also unaware of the negative language that they use on a daily basis, that constantly wears away at their self-confidence and prevents them fulfilling their dreams. A powerful exercise to help you become aware of the language that you are using, is to keep a journal for a week of any negative statements or thought patterns. At the end of the week, review your notes and rephrase each statement in a positive way. You’ll be amazed at how negativity sneaks into every day phrases. For example, rather than saying ‘Don’t forget to pick up the dry cleaning’, say ‘Remember to pick up the dry cleaning.’
Once you release your limiting beliefs and become aware of the power of self-talk, you will feel your life shift massively. You deserve success and you will achieve it.
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