What we believe plays a huge part in the direction that our lives take. This is because beliefs drive actions and actions drive results. Therefore, if belief systems that put limits on what we can and cannot achieve go unchecked, the result will inevitably be low self-esteem, a fixed mindset and unfulfilled potential. It is therefore crucial that we make the time and space to consider what we believe about ourselves, which beliefs support us, and which hinder our progress. So what are ‘limiting beliefs’?
To believe something means to have a feeling of certainty about it. If the belief is an empowering one, this can be positively transformational for us. We will feel that we ‘can’. For example, if you believe that you are good at writing, whenever an opportunity arises for you to use your skills, you are likely to have a positive feeling towards the experience and take the opportunity. This can lead to you stepping out of your comfort zone more willingly and actively seeking out new challenges and chances for growth. Other common empowering beliefs might be that you are a people person, you are a good driver, you are a talented musician, or a fantastic friend.
The more empowering beliefs that you hold, the more opportunities you are likely to engage with and the more your self-esteem and confidence will grow- resulting in outcomes that you will perceive as successful and fulfilling.
On the flip side, if a belief is a limiting one, it can wreak internal havoc and make you feel like you ‘can’t’. For example, if you believe that your money management skills are bad, you will likely resign yourself to the perception that being in debt is inevitable and there is nothing you can do about it. Other common limiting beliefs include that you are not good at sports, you can’t stick to a healthy diet, you are not able to get a better job, you attract the wrong kind of people, you are stupid or that you are socially awkward. Thinking like this will stop you from responding to potential opportunities, as you will feel that there is no way that you could possibly be successful. Since limiting beliefs are rarely based on facts, they are essentially false and self-created. So where do these beliefs come from?
Our belief systems stem from our experiences, and the patterns, inferences and deductions that we make based on them. They are also formed when we internalise others’ opinions of us, or their reaction to us. Those of us who have sadly been repeatedly ignored, belittled, laughed at, mocked, doubted or ridiculed will have a much lower sense of worth and many more limiting beliefs that those of us who have been fortunate to have experienced praise, encouragement and the teaching and modelling of ways to overcome barriers and create possibilities. Regardless of where you are, a periodic analysis of your beliefs can really clarify which ones are helpful in supporting your growth and which need replacing.
Try this: Pick an area of your life that is important to you at the moment and give yourself a minute or two to write down anything you believe about yourself in that area. For example, what do you believe about yourself and relationships? Yourself and finances? Yourself and your health? Write whatever comes to mind.
Once you have written these down, identify which beliefs are empowering, and which are limiting. Next to each limiting belief, write down where you think it stems from: what led to its creation? What other events or behaviour have contributed to cementing it? Beliefs get cemented because when we start to form them, we look for evidence to back them up. And what we focus on, we find more of. Analysing the origins of the specific limiting belief will help you realise that it is not a fact and that it can be changed.
Now isolate each limiting belief, and reframe it, using a positive affirmation. For example, ‘I’ll never find the right person for me’ can become ‘I am worthy of a meaningful relationship’, or ‘I attract the right people to my life’. By replacing an existing limiting belief with an empowering one, you are creating potential, and your focus will shift to look for evidence to back this up, thus opening doors that you had previously denied yourself access to.
For me, it was only a few years ago that I started learning about the impact of beliefs on the outcomes in my life, and I can honestly say that this has been a real game changer. It got me wondering why we are not being taught these powerful tools and knowledge in school, before we’ve spent years setting our limiting beliefs in stone. I am still in the process of becoming fully conscious of, and banishing negative self-talk, but little by little and with the right toolkit, I feel I’m getting there. I’m aware that it’s a process.
I do hope that you will have a go at weeding out at least one limiting belief and replacing it with a new empowering belief. The trick is to continue to affirm your new belief until it is embedded: say it to yourself while visualising your best outcome, think it, sing it, write it down, have it as your screen saver- whatever works! Soon enough your attention will attune itself to opportunities in this area and your intuition and new-found confidence will help with the rest.
If beliefs drive actions, and actions drive results, then let’s ensure that our actions are driven by positive and empowering beliefs, resulting in positive and successful outcomes for ourselves and those around us.✨
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