By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Hey, DreamChasers! There is an important topic that needs addressing and attention as we all go after our dreams. This little stinker is the antithesis, the archnemesis, the villain in the journey to the life you want to have. This little twerp might also be like one of those stealthy ninjas in action movies, lurking in the corners of your mind and you don’t even know he’s there. This is what makes him so powerful!
This scoundrel is none other than...da da da da...limiting beliefs! I know, I know. That doesn’t sound so scary or terrible. But, read on, DreamChasers. You need to take limiting beliefs seriously and deal with them head on if you want to cross that finish line!
Let’s start with getting a grasp of what we are dealing with. A limiting belief is a false belief that a person acquires as a result of making an incorrect conclusion about something in life. Did you catch a few of those important words? They are false, so not based on fact, and you acquire them, meaning you learn them. They can be general or specific. Limiting beliefs can relate to many areas in life such as money, family, friends, work, health, and fitness.
If you acquire them, where do they come from? Here's where limiting beliefs start:
As someone relays their beliefs to you, their personal opinion on a given situation may influence how you react to that same situation. You may believe you will have the same result even if you have never tried or experienced the situation on your own. This is how someone else’s opinion becomes your limiting belief. And, get this! Your confidence can be affected just by absorbing the limiting beliefs being imposed by others!
Before you get annoyed at other people for imparting their beliefs on you, you have most likely done the same. (I know. Ouch.). Give yourself grace, and others grace as well. This is where the stealthy ninja part comes in! You push your limiting beliefs on others without realizing it, and others return the favor. One of the biggest challenges with limiting beliefs is that most of us don’t think we have them, which makes them hard to spot.
The other challenge is that it is often easier to believe the negative limiting belief story than the positive one. Here’s a silly example. Say there are 2 boxes in front of you. Box #1 is labeled “heavy, lift with care” while #2 is labeled “100 pounds”. A typical reaction might be to carefully attempt to lift box #1 while assuming you cannot lift box #2. Reasonable assumption, right? Now, let’s say that the boxes are labeled incorrectly. Box #1 still says “heavy, lift with care” and box #2 still says “100 pounds” but there is actually only 10 pounds contained in each one. You will most likely have the same reaction, attempting to lift box #1 and being surprised when you almost throw it over your head because it’s so light. Meanwhile, box #2 sits untouched because you assume incorrectly that it contains 100 pounds, and you can’t lift it. That’s a limiting belief.
Okay, I know that was a silly example but, hopefully, the point is there. The danger of a limiting belief is that they constrain you in some way. They force you to live below your potential. They hold you back from making different choices in your life. They keep you from seeing the different opportunities presented to you each day. They prevent you from seeing your own gifts or the gifts of others when they offer them to you. They keep you stuck focusing on the negative aspect of your situation. They are that negative committee convening in your head telling you all the head trash like:
-I am not worthy.
-I am not _____ enough. (insert pretty, smart, fit, rich)
-I don’t deserve it. (or worse, I deserve bad things to happen to me)
-I don’t have enough _____. (insert time, support, experience, money, brains)
-I don’t want people to think I am_____. (insert your own word here)
-I can’t handle it.
-I am going to fail so why bother trying.
Did any of these resonate with you? Limiting beliefs are the poison of your dreams! They crush your goals and suffocate your success. One of the biggest differences between those that succeed, and those who don’t, is the ability to locate and eliminate limiting beliefs.
Don’t worry, there is an anecdote to this poison! SoulShine is here to deliver it. The kryptonite of Limiting Beliefs, the defender of Dreams and Goals and Success is none other than mindfulness, inquiry, and self-compassion. Simple solutions, my friends, are often the answer so don’t overthink this! You can eliminate limiting beliefs with purposeful work harnessing those three pieces of kryptonite. For those that love a plan of action, here you go:
Step 1: Awareness that they exist
By reading this post, you are already armed with the knowledge that limiting beliefs not only exist but also may be a negative force in your life. See? Already a win to celebrate!
Step 2: Assess where limiting beliefs lie
This might seem overwhelming as those pesky limiting beliefs can be hidden and anywhere, right? Don’t fret! A good place to find limiting beliefs are in places you want to change or have attempted to change but have failed. Chances are, a limiting belief is at the core of this repeated failure. Once you locate one limiting belief, it is easier to find them in other areas. And, also, easier to defeat them!
Step 3: Question the limiting belief.
Remember, limiting beliefs are exactly that, beliefs or opinions. They are not facts. Increase your knowledge in the area of limitation to base your belief on facts instead.
Step 4: Switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset
Limiting beliefs are firmly planted in the fixed mindset. One easy way to switch to a growth mindset is to add the word “yet”. I am not healthy, yet. I can’t do (that thing), yet. I don’t have enough time, yet. This opens your mind up to the possibility, not the limitation. Another strategy to use here is the good old strategy we like to call “Flipping the Script”. This is where you take a negative belief or thought and flip it around to make it positive. This will switch your thinking from fixed to growth mindset, too!
Step 5: Try it yourself
The best way to know if you have a limitation is with your actual experience. Keep that growth mindset in play during this part. You might fail. Failure isn’t a bad thing; failure is life’s best teacher. So, learn the lesson, live in the journey from “not yet” to success.
Step 6: Believe in yourself and never, never give up!
-You are worthy.
-You are enough.
-You deserve it.
-You have enough.
-You are amazing and everyone loves you for who you are.
-You can handle it.
-You will fail and those lessons will make you better.
P.S. Make sure you get the SoulShine DreamChasers Goal Getter Success Guide!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.