Do you ever wonder if you have two personalities? First there’s the confident, positive, driven you. Then, there’s the you that tells you you’re not enough. That you’re never going to figure it out. That you’re not loved or worthy. If you shared what is in your head about yourself right now, what would you say? Go ahead, write it down. Get it out of your head and put it on a piece of paper. Look at what you wrote. Would you say what you wrote down about yourself is limiting you? If you answered yes to that question then the good news is you are here and you’re about to learn how to overcome self limiting beliefs.
But first, what you wrote down, is that the truth? My guess is, that if you are reading this right now you might be saying something that isn’t that kind about yourself. Maybe what’s in your head is actually quite negative and when you finally wrote it down, you looked at it and felt like crap about it or had a moment of “whoa, I actually think that?” . Maybe you’ve revealed something to yourself that often goes overlooked and on autopilot.
Whoa, that’s deep right?! The first time you become aware of your own self limiting beliefs it can be tough to process. Afterall who would want to say outloud to any other human being: “I am not enough”, or “I don’t feel loved”. Truth is you’re not the only one. You’re human and 100% of us have these thoughts from time to time. Though, some people have these thoughts more frequently than others. Unfortunately, most people never learn that they can tame them. You can control and overcome self limiting beliefs. Read on to learn how.
How to overcome self limiting beliefs
Why you feel this way
Self limiting beliefs are created slowly and repetitively over time. Over the course of our lives we all experience moments of pain or pleasure that get ingrained in our nervous system. When those moments happen we make them mean something, we add language to them. For instance, you raise your hand to speak at a work meeting and your idea gets made into a company joke. Your brain might record this moment as a painful experience. You might make it mean that you’re an idiot and you should make sure you’re more prepared with what you say before you share your ideas. You might come to believe that you should never share ideas off the cuff, or that you aren’t smart. This is how a belief system gets formed. And guess what’s crazy, you created it. Your internal self merged with your external world and boom. You learned something and it turned into a belief.
Self limiting beliefs are nothing more than rules or commands to our nervous system about how we are going to respond, they shape our thoughts and create a filter on our reality. Beliefs shape your daily experience whether you’re cognizant of that or not. What beliefs do you have that you see might by assumptions about yourself, about others, about the world? You use beliefs to help you understand the world around you. They help you feel certain about your future, make you feel safe and secure. We all crave a sense of certainty. When we are certain we can typically feel a sense of peace, calm, allowing us to either reduce or increase stress we have about a person or thing.
And here’s the kicker: You create your belief systems. Your beliefs about yourself and the world around are shaped during your childhood. You learn what to believe from all your experiences, and from role models. These beliefs are so ingrained that we think them sometimes without really questioning why we think them or where they originally came from. That means, you might be limiting yourself and no knowing it. So it’s critical you start to tune in, to notice your thoughts and to ask: Is this belief serving me or is it a self limiting belief?
The other crazy part about self limiting beliefs is we anchor them into our bodies. A song comes up, a word is said, and boom, our brain attaches to a memory and draws out an emotion that’s consistent with it. And that memory triggers us in a present totally unrelated moment. So the question becomes: How do you take control? How do you overcome your self limiting beliefs?
Awareness is always the first step
Our thoughts, patterns, behaviors and belief systems serve us at different points of time. Maybe for some period of time a belief you hold has worked for you and now it no longer does. Once you start to become aware of your thinking you can make more conscious choices. You can then assess whether what you’ve been doing, thinking or feeling truly works for you!
Beliefs are not facts. You have the power to change them. It might be time to do an audit on what you belief. Consider these questions about some of the beliefs you hold to be true….
- What is great about this belief?
- What are the negative consequences that are associated with me having this belief?
- What have I missed out on by having this belief, who have I affected?
- Where has it limited me in my life?
- What are the labels you’ve given yourself because you think or feel this way?
- What expectations have you set for others based on your belief?
- What value am I gaining by holding onto this belief?
- What good intention does this or did this belief provide me with?
Remember that when you created this limiting belief consciously or unconsciously you did it with good intentions. The question is does it still serve you or is it a self limiting belief? What new belief could you take on?
See the Big Picture
Let’s take this a step further, now that you have assessed the value and or challenges of a belief add more senses to it. Visualize how the belief has impacted your life.
- How do you picture it in your mind?
- What emotions do you feel when you imagine it to be true?
- What does it look like?
- What does it sound like?
- Is there a smell or feeling attached to this belief?
- Does it have a taste?
Open your eyes and write it all down. You may have noticed that visualizing makes your beliefs more intense, more vivid.
Now the ultimate question…
Do you want to change this belief?
Changing anything in our lives starts with a decision. That decision for things to be different than they have been in any other moment before this. From that decision we have to commit to what is necessary to change and take action to ensure things are different. In order to do that ask yourself these questions. If the following were true how would you act differently?
If you believed responsibility for this change rests in your hands, what would you do?
If you believed change happens instantly when you commit, what would you do?
If you believed things must change now, what action would you take immediately?
Choose your ritual
Before you move to believing a new more empowering belief, you have to toss the old self limiting beliefs away! The way you choose to do this is up to you. Burn it. Write it down and throw it away! Or, say your self limiting beliefs out loud to a friend and yell out how it’s such BS. The time for that belief to be ruling your life in any form is over!!
Step up and build your new belief
Now we get to step up into our new empowering beliefs. Here is where you can consider: Who do you really want to be? What do you desperately want to achieve in your life?
Consider your ultimate outcome for yourself, write it out in full.
- What would you need to believe about yourself in order to achieve this?
- What would you say, what would you think or focus on when you were challenged as this new version of you?
- What are things you can do to condition this new empowering belief?
- What actions can you take right now to strengthen this belief?
- Is there any roles models you want to align with?
- Is their a quote or tagline you want to create for yourself to ingrain this new belief in your mind?
Remember your old beliefs were built one strand at a time. Building new beliefs is like building a muscle. Transformation is a process, the level of pain we endure is somewhat up to us. Just as this self limiting belief wasn’t made overnight you may notice it wanting to creep back in. So we repeat the pattern of breaking this belief over and over until it is completely annihilated from our body and minds. If this old belief creeps back in try approaching it with curiosity. Why did it show up? What triggered it?
Pay attention to your thoughts. It may not feel as comfortable to have this new belief as it did with your old self limiting belief. It’s like a new pair of shoes, it takes time to adjust. Be your own observer, watch what works for you and what doesn’t. Monitoring and altering your thoughts is a major step in getting what you want in life.