Limiting beliefs are convictions you have about something that guide your decisions, life choices or even your level of success in a certain area. Limiting beliefs are built into your hard drive such that they are part of your unconscious mind.
Your unconscious mind operates beyond your level of awareness. Because you are not consciously aware of what you are thinking, you act on autopilot when it comes to these thoughts.
Here’s how this works.
For every interaction, you absorb the information and accept or reject things based on your existing beliefs and perception of the world.
Examples of basic negative beliefs
- You’re not the marrying type
- You’re a hard person to love
- Girls are not meant to be President
- You’re not college material
By the time you are age 7 or 8 you have a solid foundation of beliefs based on all the programming from people in your life, television shows, and other environmental influences.
Your programmed messages
Have you ever tried to achieve a goal, but keep sabotaging yourself at every turn?
The negative messages you have come to accept turn into damaging or limiting beliefs that you carry with you into adulthood.
Let’s look at 3 examples.
37 year old, never married Executive VP of bank.
Wants to marry, can’t find the right man.
Most men intimidated.
To find a man she has to “act dumb” and “laugh at all of his jokes.”
44 year old married mother of three.
Unhappily married for 15 years.
She is the main bread winner.
Husband doesn’t take the initiative around the home.
He defers to her judgment on all decisions.
Husband is a “lost cause,” makes major mistakes when paying bills or taking care of important items.
42 year old single mom of two.
Worked as a department store buyer for years.
Lost her job due to economy.
Wants to start own business.
Not sure if her business is a good idea, so she gets easily discouraged.
Fears the cards are stacked against her and can’t get business off the ground.
What do all three women have in common?
All three are unhappy with a specific situation and they have faulty thinking that keeps them in their negative situations.
How do you identify and eliminate these self-limiting beliefs?
Start with these four steps to first discover how your beliefs are blocking you
Step one – What situation are you unhappy with?
Step two – What do you want your life to look like regarding this issue?
Step three – What needs to change to get to this place?
Step four – Get an action plan in place to make these changes
Let’s look at our three women.
Step one – What’s Your Situation?
Jill –I can’t find the right kind of man
Angela –I don’t have a husband who can carry the load
Tina –I can’t get new business off the ground
Step Two – What’s do you want your life to look like regarding this issue?
Jill –I want to marry a man equally successful who supports my goals and aspirations
Angela–I want my husband and I to split the house responsibilities
Tina –I want to own my business earning 10K per month
What Needs to Change?
This is the key question to discovering your faulty beliefs.
Jill –Change the kind of men I date; only go out with successful men
Angela–My husband is lazy and won’t take responsibility
Tina –People need to be more accepting of women entrepreneurs
Get an action plan in place to make your changes. Have specific goals that advance your situation. The more specific your goals, the more focused you can be with your affirmations and action plan
Jill –Meet two professional men a month
Angela –Delegate credit card bills and flex spending accounts to my husband
Tina –Develop a full business and marketing plan in the next 6 weeks
After you work through these four steps, you can then uncover the content of your beliefs by asking yourself these four questions.
Why am I in this situation/conflict?
When the solution is dependent on someone else changing, ask yourself what is your contribution?
How am I getting in the way of what I want?
What advice would your parent give you?
Let’s go back to our three friends.
Question One – Why are you in this situation?
Jill –There are not very many available good men out there
Angela–My husband needs to learn how to be responsible
Tina –There are too many obstacles for a woman without means to get ahead
Questions Two and Three – What is your contribution to how are you getting in the way of what you want?
Jill –I’m very picky and put men down if they aren’t accomplished
Angela–I don’t let my husband do anything because I don’t believe he’s capable
Tina –I easily get discouraged if someone doesn’t affirm my efforts
Question Four – What did your parents teach you about this situation?
Jill –Don’t marry an ignorant man, he’ll only bring you down
Angela–Do what you need to do to keep your home in order even if it means leaving your husband out of the picture
Tina –Get yourself a REAL job so you can have stability
Parental advice becomes a problem when you generalize it to any situation.
Examples of generalization
Jill –Most men are ignorant unless they have credentials
Angela–Only women are capable of really taking care of the family
Tina–Owning a business is not a real job and does not amount to much
Once you discover your limiting beliefs, here are 3 tips to change your thinking. We’ll call these our Delimiting tips.
Delimiting Tip One – Address limiting beliefs/faulty thinking with affirmations.
Follow the 3-P Method for effective affirmations:
Positive. State your desired behavior in a positive manner. Avoid the words “not” or “never.”
Personal. You’re speaking to your unconscious, so use the word “I.”
Present Tense. Write your affirmations as if they are attitudes and behaviors you already assume in your daily life. Use words like “I am” or “I feel” or “I believe.”
Here are examples of affirmations for Jill, Angela and Tina.
Jill –I can be interested in a man who is different from me
Angela–I can recover from mistakes my husband makes. I can accept his different way of doing things
Tina –I am just as capable of advancing my business as those who have followed before me.
For this to be effective, you need to set aside time each day to reflect on your positive statements. Write them down as some may be more applicable depending on your situation.
Delimiting Tip Two – Control your environment and minimize negative influences.
Watch for environmental triggers specific to your vulnerable areas such as friends, television shows and web surfing.
Delimiting Tip Three – Give people the benefit of the doubt. Assume the person has benevolent intentions.
Jill –I will assume my date is secure about his position in life regardless of how successful he appears to me
Angela–I will assume my husband wants to be responsible and wants to do a good job
Tina –I will assume people are not trying to hold me back from succeeding
Your core beliefs are a result of childhood interactions and are reinforced by your current interactions. Negative, distorted thinking can negatively affect your position in life. To break free of limiting beliefs, use the four steps to discover your preprogrammed beliefs, then follow the four tips to rewrite the limiting messages.
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