Limiting Beliefs Halt your progress in life. Henry Ford – “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

 

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are simply beliefs that limit our potential. They are false beliefs that we perceive to be real that limit our current decisions. These beliefs were learned by making a decision about a past experience that was untrue. These decisions can inform the beliefs about your self-worth, who you are, people in the world, and/or simply the world itself. The problem here is that the past is not the present, unless you choose to live in the past & allow the past to continue to direct your present.

We are not always aware of our limiting beliefs because they reside in our unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is just that, unconscious, meaning that we are not always consciously aware of what is going on behind the scenes. These are the phrases we say to ourselves to justify why things aren’t working. We justify them to make us feel better about not succeeding in our lives. 

Here are a few examples of limiting beliefs:

  • I’m not worth it.
  • I am unworthy of love. (The mask of insecurity.)
  • All the good ones are taken.
  • I fear rejection.
  • I don’t have enough time/money/support/willpower/etc.
  • I can’t afford that/make enough money/support myself/etc.
  • Rich people are greedy. (Thus insuring you will never be rich, because you don’t want to be seen as greedy.)
  • I can’t <insert whatever statement here>.
  • I’m too tired/weak/selfish/etc.
  • I’m too <insert whatever statement here>.
  • I’m not good enough to <insert whatever statement here>.

You get the picture. All of these statements limit the bounds of what we can do. We disempower ourselves when we tell ourselves these types of statements.

Eliminating Limiting Beliefs

The first step to eliminating limiting beliefs is Awareness. Start paying attention to the little things you’re telling yourself throughout the day & write it down in a journal. Sometimes it is very subtle & since you’ve probably already established a pattern of telling yourself the same limiting beliefs over & over, you may have a hard time recognizing them at first. If you feel negatively about an area of your life, then you probably have some limiting beliefs that are behind that crappy feeling. So, keep at it.

The second step is the recognize that the beliefs are false. They are simply opinions that you have decided to adopt. So, just as you decided to adopt them, you can decide not to.

The third step is to change that belief into one of possibility instead of limitation. For example, if your belief was “All rich people are greedy.” Go do some research on those people who are rich & dedicated to helping others. Rich people are just people after all.

Once you are armed with this knowledge & are no longer allowing your limitations to guide your actions, go out & try on the new belief by creating your reality using the new belief. What will you create now after feeling more empowered after transforming that old belief?

 

“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” – Baltasar Gracian

I came to a point in my life where I started to take a real look at where my life was going. One of the things I started doing was that I began taking a mental inventory of how I felt when I was around certain people in my life.

I believed that I needed to keep people in my life simply because we had been friends for many years. I told myself that if I didn’t maintain my friendship with them, then I was the bad person. I began taking inventory of their actions, their stories, their manipulations, their lies. And I came to the realization that I was ALLOWING these people to be in my life.

Another thing I came to understand was that I always felt needed by those “friends” because I could save them from the troubles in their lives. I felt good about myself when I was “helping”, even if I had to endure some verbal or emotional abuse along the way. I told myself “I am strong, I can handle it … it’s for a greater good … I’m a bad person if I abandon them, they have nobody else”. I was dis-empowering them to take control of their own lives, allowing the abuse to continue, making up stories that they would be alone without me, and “helping” felt good because I was playing the martyr. If I continued to focus on their lives, I didn’t have to take responsibility for my own life.

Well, finally, when I started to really take a look at my life, I saw the bullshit lies that I was feeding myself. One day, all those “little” abuses added up all at once. I had enough & decided to absolve the friendships.

When I first started absolving these toxic friendships, I felt angry & hurt. This eventually faded and it became easier to endure. Looking at how I felt, the grieving I endured, the physical & emotional symptoms I experienced; these friendships mimicked addiction.

The withdrawal symptoms resembled those of a drug addict kicking the habit. I was addicted to helping in a way that was unhealthy for everyone involved. My “helping” dis-empowered them and I dishonored myself by allowing myself to be used & abused under the illusion that I was “helping”. My self-worth was wrapped up in these toxic relationships. And I use the plural because I had established a pattern of helping others who I felt could not help themselves. This same sort of playbook happened multiple times throughout my life.

The death of my father and ending a toxic romantic relationship helped me realize that some of my friendships were also toxic. Sometimes a traumatic event or death is the nudge it takes for us to evaluate our own lives.

I learned soo much about myself & my addictions. I learned that I didn’t feel worthy & that I didn’t value myself.

My hope for you is that my words move you to take a good look at the relationships in your life & explore anything that doesn’t feel right for you. Look openly & pay attention to that feeling in your body that is trying to tell you something. Get curious. And remember denial is a beast. Creating excuses for someone’s behavior is one way that we deny. If you’re making excuses, it may be time to take a long hard look at YOUR TRUTH.

Do you feel any emotional pain from ANY of your relationships? Is there a tug in your gut, whispering to you that something isn’t right?

 

Male sitting down, with hands in front of him, head down, elbows on knees, multiple hands on his shoulders

Kierkegaard – “If you name me, you negate me. By giving me a name, a label, you negate all of the other things I could possibly be.”

The label you give someone does not reflect all that they will do or be in their life. Labels are comparisons & judgements based on your own individual realities; your opinions.
Labels such as “addict” cause you to discredit the human being behind the label. The person may very well be addicted, where addiction is a behavior. A behavior is not the human being; it is merely a behavior that the human being is doing or did.

When you label someone, you make assumptions about that person based on the label. Take the label “addict” & what comes to mind? Whatever comes to your mind is filtered through your beliefs, beliefs which were formed based on your individual experiences in life. If the person labeled as an “addict” were your son or daughter, you may have a different association to the word “addict”. Within that situation, you still have your own individual values that feed your beliefs & attitudes about the “addict”. One parent may exhibit the behavior of co-dependency & denial, while another may exhibit behavior that is more closely related to patterns of tough love, & other possibilities. The child of the “addict” will have a different experience of the “addict” & thus will associate their labels of the human being differently based on their experiences.

You form your values, beliefs, & attitudes through your experiences & how you internalize those experiences throughout your life stemming from the judgements you make about those experiences. The judgements & the experiences compound.

Labeling people creates an environment of division, an “us” against “them” mentality. If you say someone is one thing, then they cannot be anything else. If you say that someone is different from you, then that automatically places a division line between them & you.

Labels are different from descriptions. Labels alter your perceptions, morphing that which you are labeling into something that, in reality, it is not. Description is more factually based & mostly observable. The label “stuck-up” implies many other negative labels about a person, but by describing her behavior instead may lead to other possibilities. Saying “she is sitting alone” or “she is not talking to anybody” leaves it open for other interpretations. Until you truly get curious about her & talk to her, you do not truly know anything about the girl.

Labels can be positive or negative, based on the speaker’s intent & on the perception of the listener. They do not necessarily have any basis in fact & are basically opinions.

In all reality, we are all human beings … being.