Does your inner critic talk you out of great ideas and and your deepest desires? Maybe you desperately want to share your life with someone, but relationships never seem to work out for you. Or, you try really hard, but you keep repeating the same old patterns, treading water and feeling stuck. It could be that you overthink things to the point that you get paralyzed with fear, talking yourself out of finishing or even starting the process. Sound familiar? So, what is really getting in your way? Chances are your limiting beliefs are the culprits.
What Are Limiting Beliefs?
The easiest way to understand our limiting beliefs is to think of them as our inner critic. Unfortunately, they tend to come disguised as absolute thoughts, and they challenge any new ideas or changes we are considering. When people say, you are your own worst enemy, this is what they are referring to. Ultimately, you are the only thing that stands in your way of achieving what you hope to accomplish. That’s great news, because you have control over what you think and do, so you can change this!
Why Do Limiting Beliefs Exist?
Limiting beliefs do have a purpose. Somewhere along the line they stepped in to protect you
from experiencing emotional pain. Maybe you had an experience as a child where you tried
something new and everyone around laughed and made fun of you. Perhaps you expressed
your feelings for someone and they rejected you. Maybe you got passed up for that
promotion. These experiences can cause pain and wounds, sometimes leaving deep scars,
imbedding themselves into our psyche.
The normal human response is to try and avoid that pain the next time, so we unconsciously develop these beliefs as a protective shield to keep us from the pain. However, instead of helping us, they eventually develop into limiting beliefs, holding us back, forcing us into the same messed up patterns, and keeping us from what can be the most important experiences in our lives. They become our personal dream killers.
The Top 10 Limiting Beliefs
Believe it or not, self limiting beliefs are not all that unique. It turns out they are a common human experience, and we tend to have similar ones in common with each other. Individually we don’t typically have all of these top 10 self limiting beliefs, but my guess is that you will see yourself in at least of few of them.
I might fail if I try
I will end up feeling disappointed and then I will be depressed and sad. I shouldn’t and I can’t for a million reasons.
I’m not good enough
I don’t have what everyone else does. I’m not smart enough, or talented enough, or experienced enough. I’m not pretty enough. I don’t have what it takes.
I’m not allowed to change
What if people don’t accept me anymore? I’m not supposed to be any different.
I don’t deserve what other people do
I’m unloveable; I’m going to be alone forever.
I’ll embarrass myself
I’m afraid I will look stupid when I try. I will feel ashamed.
I’m always the victim
good things never happen to me; people always disappoint me; life is harder for me than everyone else.
I need to change before I can start
I’m always starting below zero. I need to be skinnier. I need to be older/younger. I need more education/skills.
I don’t have enough money
If I had more money then it would be easy to start. I’ll never get ahead.
I don’t have enough time or it’s too late
Why bother, it’s probably too late anyway. I shouldn’t have procrastinated.
Fear of rejection: What if they don’t like me?
I can’t let my guard down, because they might abandon me or leave me any way.
How to Stop These Dream Killers
It’s easy to get blocked by these limiting beliefs because they feel so absolute. But they don’t have to be permanent. You have the power to change them in an instant. Here is the formula to crushing your limiting beliefs.
- Pinpoint your emotions. Are you feeling frustrated, angry, embarrassed, disappointed, defeated, sad, or anxious? Force yourself to sit in the discomfort and the specific emotions will reveal themselves.
- Identify the trigger. Whenever you get thrown off course, start by looking for the trigger. Trace the emotions you’re feeling and work back to situation that caused it. Did someone say something that bothered you? Did something happen? There is always a root cause.
- Analyze the patterns. Are you noticing similarities yet, like not feeling good enough, avoiding failure and abandonment, or feeling like you have no control in your life? Likely you will start noticing your imbedded limiting beliefs within these patterns.
- Start fighting back! You’ve heard of the flight or fight syndrome, right? When you get thrown off course, you are essentially taking flight from your plans; you’re avoiding. Change your position and get into attack mode. Challenge your inner critic, and change that negative belief into a positive one that works for you instead of against you.
This is the secret: the only real limits that exist are the ones you believe and impose upon yourself. Stop giving your inner critic the last word; instead, use its wisdom to eliminate those limiting beliefs once and for all. You have the ultimate veto power!