I can honestly say that self-limiting beliefs have ruled my life. I am pretty sure that I’m not alone on this one. Perhaps this article in which I share the top 10 self-limiting beliefs experienced by people like you and me might be just what you need to flip the switch.
Self-limiting beliefs sabotage and stop us from moving forward in life. Sometimes they happen unconsciously, leaving us wondering why we can never get ahead. “I’m not ready” or “I don’t have enough experience” are examples of these toxic beliefs. But what exactly are self-limiting beliefs, where do they come from, and how can you turn them around? This article explains and shares the self-limiting beliefs people have.
What are self-limiting beliefs?
Self-limiting beliefs are negative beliefs about ourselves and the way we see ourselves. They hold us back from achieving what we desire, whether due to anxiety, insecurities, fear, inefficiency or just lack of interest. They hold us back from fulfilling our potential. They are so ingrained that we can’t even see them for what they are until something reminds us. But they are a natural defence mechanism of our mind, designed to keep us safe.
How do self-limiting beliefs form?
These self-limiting beliefs are often believed so strongly that they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. You begin to think these negative thoughts, and you believe them to be true. This is usually because these negative thoughts become the truth to you. They lead you to continue making the same poor decisions, saying the same negative things to yourself, and falling into the same kinds of traps that keep you stuck.
Are you following these self-limiting beliefs? When these negative thoughts about yourself form, these thoughts will consume your mind, even if you don’t realise it at the time.
Here are the top 10 self limiting beliefs examples that can hold you back and the positive ways to make positive changes.
Common self-limiting beliefs
“I’m not good enough to do this job?”
You go to the interview thinking: “Will they hire me because I don’t have experience?” Either way, you are unknowingly limiting your future opportunities. You have to believe you are good enough and the job will work out. No excuses.
“I don’t have enough money.”
You think to yourself, “Maybe I don’t deserve it, maybe I don’t deserve to be happy. Why should I be happy when I’m still poor?” All these beliefs come from the ego or negative self-talk, as our subconscious mind is often too quick to try and fix our present situation. Money is a mindset.
In a way, it’s not really about the amount of money you make but the amount of discomfort you want to live with. Even though it’s not always possible, try to spend only as much money as you can afford. Start working out if you can afford it. Start saving up if you can’t. That’s how you build wealth. But you’ll only do that if you set your mind to it.
“I’m not talented.”
The right mindset and a little creativity can turn anything into a success. Everyone has a talent. You just need to know how to look at it. Revisit your past achievements, try new things and assess your strengths. These are just a few ways you can discover your hidden talent.
“I’m Too Old (Or Too Young)”
Many of us are guilty of saying this at some stage in our lives, and it’s probably not true. We tend to believe that pursuing something, whether it be to start a new career, a business, or buy a particular outfit, is based on the belief that we are old or young enough. Of course, the reality is, age is not a barrier, but the mind is.
“I don’t have enough experience.”
You think you need a lot of experience to be good at something. It’s a common self-limiting belief, but the experience isn’t a reflection of how good we are. Experience is the outcome of being out there, doing, getting things done. You gain experience as you take the risk of trying something new.
Experience also means learning through trial and error. People who say “I need a lot of experience to be good at something” aren’t wrong. But they also need to realise that there is no point in measuring how good you are if you aren’t taking any risk.
What if you go for that challenge that seems overwhelming and scary, even though you have no experience in doing it? What if you grab the courage and give it a try? You may end up being great at it.
“I Don’t Have the Time.”
I am entirely guilty of this, one hundred times over. It’s a real problem for so many people. We get stuck in the idea of being ‘busy’ all the time, but are we really busy or just making the wrong priorities and excuses? Suppose you’ve been using these sorts of excuses, perhaps an excuse for inaction on renovations or exercise. In that case, it could be because it’s a self-limiting belief.
“I need to be perfect.”
Perfectionism. It’s a common belief that stems from fear of failure. “If I make a mistake, I will look bad.” “I might get fired.” “What will my friends think?” “What if no one wants to invest in my business?”
So the initial self-limiting belief is that you need always to do things right, to do things perfectly. But this creates the opposite effect. You are so driven to succeed that you do everything to the “T”, and you are rarely satisfied, so the belief becomes even more robust. And that’s when you reach a point where you don’t even care if you achieve your goals anymore because you’re so afraid of not living up to your expectations. So that’s the worst-case scenario. This comes with the additional mental burden that you don’t even know what to do next if you fail.
“I don’t deserve to be loved.”
If you believe you are unlovable, you limit yourself in a big way. When you love yourself, you’re open to being loved by someone else. Low self-worth means relying on other peoples opinions instead of our own to feel loveable. When a relationship fails, we feel inadequate and unloveable. Instead of moving forward, we get stuck. We withdraw from relationships or avoid them altogether because we fear being hurt. The result? Aloneness and even lower self-worth.
“I have dreams, but I can’t pursue them because I’m worried I’ll fail.”
We all experience failure. Focusing on how to do better next time takes the sting out of failure. The actual loss is abandoning your dreams. We learn by failing, we get up and try again, and eventually, we’re walking. It’s time to try new things. If you resist trying new things, you’re not trying.
“I can’t be my real self; otherwise, no one will like me.”
It’s hard to relax and just be if you continue to believe that others are judging you, simply for being your authentic self. Pleasing everybody is impossible, and when you do, you lose yourself in the process. Figure out who you really are and be yourself. There will never be anyone else precisely like you. Your job is not to please others, it’s to live a fulfilling life. Figure out your uniqueness and value it. Don’t worry about what others think of you. Don’t try to fit in. Just be yourself.
Overcoming self limiting beliefs
There are ways to eliminate self limiting beliefs when you discover you have them.
What is it that you are telling yourself?
Write down your self-limiting belief and do a little digging into the thoughts and emotions contributing to the beliefs. How do these emotions and thoughts make you feel? Write it down.
Ask yourself how this belief could be working against you, not for you?
What are the consequences if you keep repeating this self-limiting belief?
How can you say or hear this phrase in a different way?
Affirm the opposite of your limiting beliefs. It might feel strange initially, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. For example, if your self-limiting belief is that you can’t be your authentic self for fear of what others will think, swap it around. For example, “I am not afraid of being my real self. I am unique.”
What evidence do you have that supports these self-limiting beliefs?
When writing down your self-limiting beliefs and investigating the thoughts and emotions that go with them, ask yourself if there’s any evidence that supports them to be true. You will find that most of the time, they are not truths at all. Don’t believe everything your mind conjures up!
What is it that you have already started doing to try to change this belief?
Keep tabs on everything you’re doing that is associated with this belief and revisit it. Making changes to our thought patterns is like exercising our muscles. We have to repeat the process and create new pathways. One of the best things to do the change the belief is to read daily affirmations.
While it’s all well and good reading tips like these, you have to put things into action and give some good thought to your new beliefs. For example, if your new belief is that you are not afraid to be the real you, what action will you take to realise this? Will you go to more social functions or start doing Facebook lives? Perhaps you’ll put more effort into friendships?
When left to infiltrate our minds, these top 10 self-limiting beliefs and more are damaging. It takes some strong mindset work to turn them around. The good news is it’s completely doable. Our brains are malleable and respond pretty well to cognitive behavioural exercise. We focus a lot on physical exercise, but cognitive exercise is also crucial for mental wellbeing and living as our true selves.