Challenging your limiting beliefs

Today I want to talk about challenging your limited beliefs and affirmations.

What are limiting beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are things we hold to be true and which constrain us in some area of our life.  By believing them, we may be holding ourselves back in certain or all areas of our lives, be it social, professional, personal, etc.  These beliefs may be about ourselves, other people, and/or how we see the world.

They are usually stories we have been telling ourselves our whole life, and so we deem them to be true.  In fact, we may not even be aware that we have any limiting beliefs unless we choose to question our thoughts and belief systems, something which is not always easy to do.

Not all beliefs are bad; it is when they do not serve our best interests or they cause us unhappiness that they should be examined.  It is when we question these (negative) thoughts that we are able to break free from our own limitations and start to connect with our true self and discover what we really want.  An example of a limiting belief may be a person with low self-esteem who thinks People don’t like me.  Once questioned and worked on, this belief may become People love me for who I am.

So how can we discover what beliefs may be holding us back from moving on in an area of our life?

Start by looking at areas that cause you unhappiness, anxiety, stress, depression, anger, jealousy – any negative emotions you may be feeling.  What are you telling yourself that could be causing these feelings or situations?

An example could be: I sometimes get jealous when I see a successful person doing something that I would want to be doing.  The person doesn’t want to feel this way, but these feelings occasionally rise to the surface.

Now, these feelings are totally normal.  We all have felt jealous from time to time.  BUT if it’s something that is bringing you unhappiness, perhaps it’s worth questioning why you feel this way in order to get to the bottom of these reactions.

Another way to discover your limiting beliefs is to challenge your thoughts that start with a negative, such as I can’t, I shouldn’t, I don’t like, I’m not allowed.

After you identify a belief that is bringing you unhappiness, start questioning it.  I find that by asking myself question after question as to why I think the belief is true, it often points me in the direction to the right answer.

For example: I can’t (or don’t like to) meet people in a large group setting.  It’s stopping me from going out and meeting friends and has even begun to cause problems at work.

Ask yourself: Why don’t you want to?

Because I feel uncomfortable.

Why do you feel uncomfortable?

Because I don’t want people to see me.

Why don’t you want people to see you?

Because I don’t think they’ll like me.

Why wouldn’t they like you?

…..

Of course there are many reasons why someone would not want to meet in a large group setting.  I am just using one reason for my example.  This example could then go on to examine the person’s history, such as maybe they were bullied and/or publicly embarrassed and they’re still worried it’ll happen again.  Maybe there was one or a slew of incidents that caused them to think that no one likes them, or even yet, that they don’t deserve to be liked/loved.  Perhaps their limiting belief would then be I am not worthy of love.

Once this limiting belief is discovered, it is now time to turn it into a positive statement.  I am not worthy of love now becomes I am worthy of love.  This new thought must be reinforced daily through writing it out or telling it to yourself.

You are now beginning to challenge your self-limiting thoughts and beliefs.

Whatever your limited belief(s) may be, you have been telling this fake story to yourself for years.  So do not be discouraged when it seems like it may be taking some time to change your thought patterns.  Keep at it!  Other things you can do to help are:

  • See a therapist.  There is no shame in seeing a therapist.  S/he can help you identify what is holding you back.
  • Write out your new belief daily, which can also be called an affirmation. The more often your write it and repeat it to yourself, the better.
  • Try to find a moment every day where you can sit down and be quiet and relax, checking in with how you’re feeling, taking deep breaths, and and listening to your body.
  • Read self-help or growth books.
  • Make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who are SUPPORTIVE of you, and especially supportive of the “new you” (who is ironically the real, original you.  They may just not have met this authentic side of you yet).

 

Recommended reading:

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

You can heal your life by Louise Hay

DisclaiWhile I hope this article can be of help to you, please keep in mind that it is always best to seek help from a professional if you think it would be of benefit to you. I mention things that have helped me, but that does not mean that it my hold true or work for YOU.

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