• Beth

Understanding Limiting Beliefs

In the 5 Days to Self-Love challenge, we take a peek at limiting beliefs and how we can begin to unpick them.

So let's think about what beliefs are. Beliefs are a state of mind in which a person thinks something to be true without there being any empirical evidence to prove that it's factual.

This is why limiting beliefs are so easy to have! A limiting belief is simply a belief that limits us in some way. They can hold you back from making different choices in your life, prevent you from seeing your own gifts and keeping you from seeing the different opportunities presented to you each day.

So many of our limiting beliefs are formed in childhood without us even realising it. In childhood our brains aren't fully developed so we're unable to distinguish what is real and what is not. These limiting beliefs come from many places, including family, teachers, media and general society, now this isn't to say that we should blame these people! Not at all, it's about acknowledging the limiting belief and working with it.

Nothing binds you except your thoughts; nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs - Marianne Williamson.

There are so many examples of limiting beliefs, they can be general or specific. Our general limiting beliefs can relate to many different areas (think about those generalised beliefs of "I'm not worthy") whereas the specific limiting beliefs are more focused (an example could be, "I'm not smart enough")

Which limiting beliefs show up more for you?

A good way to explore your limiting beliefs is by free writing in a journal around the question "What beliefs do I hold about myself?" You might be surprised as to what comes up.

Something that I like to do after free writing is to re-read what I've written and highlight my positive beliefs in one colour and my limiting beliefs in another colour.

This allows me to have a great visual of which type of belief I have more of. Dr Rick Hanson says "Your brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones, even though most of your experiences are probably neutral or positive" and this is so true! It's interesting to see which kind of beliefs pop up in your writing.

Now I imagine you're thinking "It's all well and good knowing what my limiting beliefs are, what am I meant to do with them?!" Well, as with most things it comes with practice!

Develop an awareness of your limiting beliefs and decide to choose a more positive belief anytime you notice yourself thinking the limiting one.

Gabby Bernstein talks about choosing again in her book The Judgement Detox. When you notice your limiting belief rearing it's head, simply acknowledge it and choose a more loving thought.

This is the first step in working through your limiting beliefs. This work can be challenging so working with a coach can be a great option. Having an outside perspective is a brilliant way of being gently challenged to move those limiting beliefs to a more loving belief.

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