Labeling and Lessening Self-Limiting Beliefs

When we have a goal in mind, it's easy to identify the external obstacles associated with it. If we want to get more fit, then we may think about how we cannot afford a gym membership or cook healthy meals because of a busy schedule.


Taking time to analyze how we get in our own way when working towards something near to our hearts doesn't happen as often as it should. Lack of success in accomplishing a feasible goal can be explained by what goes on internally.


Self-limiting beliefs are thoughts that we hold to be true about ourselves and inhibit our flourishing in some way. They come in all shapes and sizes based on experiences throughout our development. The good news is we can overcome them by being mindful and proactive.



What Self-Limiting Beliefs Sound Like


Being able to point out self-limiting beliefs is the first and probably most important step in getting rid of them. The common theme in self-limiting beliefs is that they downgrade.


Our progress and potential aren't aren't really taken into account when self-limiting beliefs intrude into our minds. Here are just some types of self-limiting beliefs you may encounter:

  • "I'm not good enough" assumes that you're incapable of bringing what you want into fruition.

  • "What's wrong with me?" supposes that you're seriously dysfunctional in a frustrating way.

  • "I'm too broken for that" accepts that you're not worthy of good things because of all the pain you've been through or are going through.

  • "I don't deserve this" bears that you're not worthy of good things because of being imperfect.

  • "I'm going to fall short of that" concludes that because of certain failures you're not going to bounce back and succeed.

The exact wording of what your self-limiting beliefs say may not fully align with this list. Being cognizant of the ideas you have about yourself that aren't letting you unlock your potential can help you know whether they're self-limiting beliefs.



What to Do About Self-Limiting Beliefs


When we hear hurtful things from others we may internalize them or choose to ignore them. If these things come from someone we put on a pedestal we're more likely to be devastated by them.


One strategy that could be effective in dealing with your self-limiting beliefs is to think about them as coming from another person or a gloomy version of yourself. Give a name to this person and greet them when you start hearing their voice, but also aim to establish boundaries with them by using if-then statements.


One of the self-limiting beliefs I have is that I'm not a good enough public speaker. Whenever I start doubting myself about my expressiveness I think that my shy, teenage self is trying to speak up.


One of the tenets in the book The Power of Now by the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle is that we aren't our minds, we're the awareness of what goes on within and around us. By transferring this idea to self-limiting beliefs we recognize that they're not who we truly are, we need to break free from them because they do more harm than good, and our awareness is always there to guide us.



To Wrap Up


We can get closer to our ideal lives by focusing on how we're becoming our own obstacle. Overcoming self-limiting beliefs involves recognizing them, setting boundaries with them, and detaching from them.

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