The Power of Limiting Beliefs.

Don’t believe everything your brain tells you. 

For the statements below, answer true or false…

  • I am not good enough
  • He/she will be able to do it better than me
  • I can’t do that 
  • If I try to do that I’ll fail 

If you answered ‘true’ to any of the above statements you have a belief that is limiting your potential. 

What are beliefs?

Beliefs are things our brain believes to be true, formed mostly when we are children we begin to create a core value system.  We’re predisposed to believe what our parents and authority figures tell us to be true and so our core values are built by the authority figures around us. Did you believe in Santa as a child? Me too. I trusted what my parents told me.  Our upbringing, religion, culture, society, history etc shape our beliefs.  They can also be ‘deduced’ from actions and events. We can form a belief by watching and judging the outcome of something… this blows my mind! 

Not all beliefs are bad, some can help you excel in life. For example, you’re told you’re good at sport, you go on to pursue a career in football coaching. Amazing! But, some beliefs formed can have a negative impact on everything you do. 

For example, one of your teachers in school said you’re lazy. They are a teacher, in a position of authority, so they must be right. You believe them and carry this with you into your job and relationships. 

Because you were young and bored in said teacher’s class, does this mean that you are lazy? No. 

Why does our brain hold on to beliefs?

It’s not that the brain is lazy, it does a lot! It has to find a way of conserving energy and ‘shorting’ the system. 

“Beliefs are our brain’s way of making sense of and navigating our complex world.” A mental note on how we think things should behave, and relate to each other. “Beliefs are templates for efficient learning and are often essential for survival.”

Psychology Today

Once we have formed a belief our brain, our beautiful and complex brain, it looks for meaning in that belief. It will look for ‘patternicity’ (pattern in anything) and ‘agenticity’ (fusing pattern with meaning) to instill the belief.

So, if you’re told you’re lazy and the next time you don’t do something, you recognise this as being lazy. A pattern. Belief becomes fact! 

Most Common Limiting Beliefs 

1. fear of success

2. fear of failure

3. fear we are not good enough to achieve what we want

4. fear of not being loved/being unlovable

5. fear of rejection – generally leading you to avoid relationships or people please

6. having negative attributes assigned to being rich/having money

7. fear of greatness

8. we don’t deserve/we are not worthy of success

9. we have to work very hard, long hours for our money

10. others hold me back.

Do any of these sound familiar? I know more than one resonates with me. When you begin to recognise a limiting belief, and question where it came from, it opens your eyes to new possibilities.

Simple techniques to uncover your limiting beliefs

Recognise it – you’ll notice them creep in when you stop yourself from doing something. Compare yourself to someone else or shrink yourself in the presence of others. Is there something that you want to do but your inner voice is telling you you’re not good enough? It’s likely there’s a limiting belief at play. 

Question it – why do you believe that person is better or you’re not good enough? Did somebody tell you this? What were your relationships like as a child? Are there any memories that stand out? The more you question why you think something, the more likely you are to uncover what your limiting beliefs are!

Correct it – you have to replace limiting beliefs with empowering ones. When your inner critic stops you from doing something replace it with an affirmation. Change your negative to a positive. Your brain reverts to the same thought pattern for ease.  By stopping negative thoughts and correcting them, your brain starts to rewire. New neural pathways are built, how amazing is that?

It takes persistence and consistency to work out your limiting beliefs. It’s easy for your brain to revert to old ways of thinking, corrective action needs to be conscious. Eventually, with enough repetition the new neural pathways will become automatic. 

What are affirmations? 

Affirmations are statements said in the positive. They help to reprogram the subconscious, raise our vibration and reduce stress. They are really important for breaking down those old pathways. 

Affirmations can be whatever you want want them to be, there are lots online and even apps to get them daily.

General affirmations:

  • I am worthy
  • I am becoming the best version of myself 
  • Good things are happening 
  • How to make your own.

When I was pregnant with my son I was overwhelmed with anxiety. I used to think all kinds of terrible things would happen during the pregnancy and it was ruining my experience. To replace the negative with a positive my affirmation was:

My baby is happy, healthy, his heartbeat is strong. 

Every time I would think something negative, I would replace it with this. 

To break it down.

My baby {written in first person} is happy, healthy, his heartbeat {emotionally charged} is {present} strong. {positive}

Your affirmation should be written in first person, be emotionally charged, be in the present and of course, positive.

The Round-Up

  • A limiting belief is just that, it is stopping you from becoming the best version of yourself
  • They’re usually formed in early years by someone in a position of authority but that doesn’t mean it’s true
  • Common limiting beliefs are easy to spot as they usually bring up some kind of fear
  • Recognise, question and correct to reroute those neural pathways 
  • Create your own affirmations to unlearn old beliefs

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Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-purpose/201810/what-actually-is-belief-and-why-is-it-so-hard-change

https://www.nature.com/articles/474446a

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/smart-relationships/201403/affirmations-the-why-what-how-and-what-if

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/smart-relationships/201403/affirmations-the-why-what-how-and-what-if

3 responses to “The Power of Limiting Beliefs.”

  1. fear really hinders us

    1. It really does… Only now am I learning about “prison guards” and how they keep us trapped!

  2. […] women abandoning parts of themselves Laura shares how our own assumptions can be projected as fear. What we believe about our own abilities can really show up when in leadership positions and block us from achieving great […]

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