My belief in myself and my abilities trumped his limiting belief of me, and that made all the difference.
Before I go into detail about what “limiting beliefs” are, I’d like to talk about the subject of ‘Beliefs’ in general.
I see it as a feeling of certainty about what something is or means. We create our own unique belief system based on the things we’ve been exposed to from childhood… but not all of them are true – in fact, some of them are terribly and debilitatingly FALSE.
The problem with many beliefs is that they constrain us in some way. I may identify myself as a person with a firm belief in a Higher Being, but my personal feelings about this may lead me to avoid any discussion that threatens to disprove my belief. (This is just an example. My views on Deism and Theism are more complicated.)
By holding on too desperately to beliefs, we are also keeping ourselves from adopting a perception that lets us become better, smarter, more understanding people.
The good news is that beliefs can be changed. It’s not easy, but it is possible.
Knowing Which Beliefs Are Limiting You
You may or may not be aware that some beliefs are doing you more harm than good, but you hold on to them anyway. Maybe because you’ve held on to them for so long, or because you’d rather deal with the familiar even if it’s not in your best interest. In any case, people usually think that beliefs are not something you can change.
By refusing to accept that beliefs can be changed, you’re actually closing the door towards the possibility of a better life, and ultimately, a better you. I’m not saying that having strong beliefs is a bad thing, but a ‘limiting’ belief restricts you from growing as a person. And something that isn’t moving towards improvement will never reach its highest potential.
Let’s take a look at some common limiting beliefs that inhibit you from realizing your true potential:
“I should keep my thoughts to myself because no one wants to hear them”
“Things have always been like this and there’s nothing I can do to make it change”
“I am not enough” or “I’ll never be enough”
“I don’t deserve happiness or success”
“There’s no one I can trust”
“It’s too late to change anything”
“There’s not enough time left for that”
“I don’t have the resources, therefore, I shouldn’t even try”
“If I express my desires/ideas/beliefs, I’ll be shunned and ostracized”
“Other people’s opinions matter more than mine”
…and the worst of them all is:
“I don’t deserve to be loved”
I’m sure some of those lines sound familiar to you. In fact, you may be repeating them to yourself on a daily basis. I sincerely hope not, because I’ve been there and it does absolutely nothing for your self-esteem.
What My Experience Has Taught Me
…sometimes the only person you can rely on to say good things about you is yourself.
My dad isn’t in my life anymore, but back when he was, it was still hard to count on him for any emotional support. He was used to his position of power, sometimes managing his kids the same way he managed his employees.
I’ll never forget the day I first told my dad I wanted to become a writer. His response was “Why? Can you even write?”
I told him I’d learn. It was clear to me that he didn’t think I could do it, but I was determined. My belief in myself and my abilities trumped his limiting belief of me, and that made all the difference.
I realized that my opinion of myself mattered. It mattered because it dictated the quality of life I lived. From then on I made sure to keep my belief system in check, because sometimes the only person you can rely on to say good things about you is yourself.
How to Break Free from Limiting Beliefs
If you feel stuck with your life, or if you don’t feel in control of anything, then it’s time to get a new set of beliefs.
Ideally, beliefs should allow you to envision a life where you are happy, prosperous, healthy, and moving towards your goals. The good news is that you don’t have to be stuck forever.
Change is the only constant thing in our universe, and the sooner you embrace your natural ability to create a positive change in your life, the sooner you can achieve holistic growth.
Exchanging Limiting Beliefs for “Empowering” Ones
Think of your belief system as a table. Tables have legs, and those legs support the base and make it possible for the table to stand. The same way the base is supported by the legs, your belief system should be backed by ideas and thoughts that encourage a feeling of empowerment to make you feel strong, in control, and let you stand up to life.
Here are great examples of lines to repeat to yourself every day so you can kick the habit of self-limitation:
“I am responsible for the life I create for myself”
“Failure is not the end of the journey – it’s just a mountain to be conquered”
“Vulnerability is a chance for me to grow, not a life-sentence to fear-based living”
“The past is who I was. The present is who I am. The future is who I choose to become”
“My life is a continuous journey of stumbles and successes”
“I make mistakes, but I should never stop trying to become the best person I can be”
“The impossible is worth striving for, especially if it can make my life and the lives of other people better”
As you get used to repeating the above affirmation statements to yourself, you’ll start to see life not as a one-way lane where the outcome is always the worst, but as something that you can create and mold as you wish.
Life is a beautiful journey that gives you the chance to unlock your hidden potential, and for that to happen, you must be brave and change the beliefs that are not, or no longer, doing you any good.