What are Self Limiting Beliefs & How Can You Stop Them?

by Laura Kronen on May 18, 2013

self limitationDid you ever find yourself in a situation where you saw someone just becoming successful or achieve a certain breakthrough and you thought to yourself, “I can never do that.” Have you ever limited yourself by saying, I’m too old to… I’m too fat to… I have never been able to… Good things never happen to me… People don’t like me… I don’t fit in… I’m not smart enough to…

These are known as self-limiting beliefs. Self-limiting beliefs are mental blocks, negative thoughts and beliefs, psychological hindrance or even inner monsters stored in the crevices of your mind. They tend to have negative effects on you, greatly limiting your ability and programming your mind to discard all possibilities of you ever achieving your goals and ultimately preventing your success. These beliefs lead to procrastination, laziness, low self-esteem and low confidence levels.

So, what are some examples of self limiting beliefs?:

1) Believing that you are not good enough to achieve anything. You truly believe that you are not smart enough and have no special abilities or qualities and since you don’t have them, then you are not worthy or you can’t achieve anything great.  You are stuck just doing what you are doing.

2) Rigid thinking.  You believe what authority figures tell you. Other people tell you that you can’t do it, so that’s enough to convince you.

3) Believing that people generally don’t like you. You think you have too many flaws or not enough desirable characteristics to make friends. You generally accept that you will never be liked and live your life without trying to make friends or have a social life.

4) Thinking That You Will Be Rejected. This belief is driven primarily by fear; the fear that the other involved party might not reciprocate the way you hope. This could happen with a member of the opposite sex or at work, or even within families.

5) Believing that certain tasks are impossible to achieve. People with these belief limit themselves by saying they simply cannot achieve these tasks because they lack the qualities, knowledge, tools, resources, or intelligence, and they leave it at that.

6) Having a one sided belief. The belief that there is only one solution to a particular equation or simply put that there is only one way to perform a certain task or to do things. An example is most employees believe that the only  way to earn money is to work long, hard hours, sacrificing their energy, time, interests, family just so that they can earn a monthly pay check from their employers. What they fail to understand is that there are many alternatives to earning money such as running a business and investing.

7) Believing that you are destined for failure. This is an extremely damaging self-limiting belief, and the worst part is, there are so many people who feel this way about themselves. Many of my Life Coaching clients originally come to me with this exact belief and I’m happy to say, NONE have it anymore. People with this belief truly believe that whatever they do will end up in failure and because of this, they don’t set out to try anything beneficial or stop halfway when trying it and ultimately end up failing.Believing that you cannot achieve success is the stepping stone towards a chain reaction of events that will steer you away from your core desires, propel you to not take effective actions and prevent you from seeing favourable results and outcomes. So, how can you stop these self-limiting beliefs from filling your head? Do you give yourself a pep talk and some positive pats on the back? The problem with that is it only addresses the symptom (convincing yourself not to feel bad) rather than the cause of your limiting belief (why you feel bad in the first place). Think about it, when you’re sick, would you rather just have your fever go away, or do you want the disease to be cured? The same concept applies with removing limiting beliefs.

Understanding why you have limiting beliefs helps you attack the cause and get rid of them for good. And the reason we have limiting beliefs is, in large part, because of our subconscious disposition to think in a certain way.  Our cognitive foundation causes us to think about our problems and other complex issues—and form conclusions about them—in a distinct and specific way, which in turn causes us to draw certain types of conclusions. Instead, look at your belief as a result of a logical and analytical inquisition rather than unfounded assumptions and emotional capriciousness.  Now you are trying to figure out how something can work rather than using unfounded assumptions that say it can’t work.  Start challenging your assumptions. Take emotion out of the equation and instead believe and do what seems most reasonable. Simply said, act on reason, not emotion.

There are a number of proven techniques that can actually stop you from thinking a certain way about yourself and can be accomplished in just one or two Life Coaching sessions. If you feel really stuck, consider getting help.  There is no greater investment you can make, than an investment in yourself.            

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