Your Life. No Limits.
What is holding you back?
Your life on your terms, right?
Maybe your vision is travel and adventure, or an inviting home with a stylish social life. You plan, set goals, and work hard. But sometimes, it feels like you are swimming with lead weights around your ankles. Something deep inside of you is holding you back.
As a child, without even realizing it, you developed beliefs based on:
- your surroundings
- how people treated you
- things you heard your parents or others say, as though they were absolute truths
Children are avid learners, absorbing everything around them. But, they are not sophisticated enough to question the beliefs they are forming or to insist on evidence to support those beliefs. Some beliefs serve you well, especially if you were raised in a nurturing environment. But you may have some beliefs that limit you. In any case, beliefs tend to stick, because we often filter out evidence that does not support our belief.
Here is an example: Chelsea’s mother always said that what she lacked in brains, she made up for by trying. Though meant as a compliment, this convinced Chelsea that she is not smart. In a college course, she makes A’s on nine tests, then fails one. The one failure is all the evidence she needs to support her belief that she is not smart. She is a little down about that and doesn’t study well for the final. She fails the final, reinforcing the negative belief, in spite the A’s. It’s the classic “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Maybe your problem is different, but you wonder why you are not doing as well as you should be. Are you sabotaging yourself without even realizing it?
Let’s look at some typical limiting beliefs and see if any of them seem familiar. It is time to set yourself free.
There are many limiting beliefs. Let’s talk about five broad categories. Try to think about yourself and recognize your own limiting beliefs.
Limiting Belief 1- You Are Not Good Enough
- You have a bad quality – selfish, lazy, whatever.
- You lack something: looks, intelligence, ambition
- Past mistakes mean that you will fail or worse, that you deserve to fail.
This type of belief may come from experiencing failure, disliking your appearance or feeling frustrated when you compare yourself to others. Or, it may be the result of comments from parents or teachers. Comments can be overtly negative, “You can’t seem to do anything right!” or they may seem positive even as they help you form limiting beliefs, “It is a good thing you are so cute!”
Describe yourself. What would you say about your intelligence, your beauty, your integrity and so on? Would the description be generally positive? If not, what are the negatives? Where did these came from?
Limiting Belief 2 – You Need Permission
- You are only worth the salary that others will pay you.
- Just get a decent job like everybody else.
- If you don’t know exactly how something will work out, you have no right to consider that business or venture.
Our culture is big on education. That is a good thing. Often, education and learning are rewarded with degrees or certificates. We are conditioned from an early age to try and earn those things to qualify for good jobs, also a good thing.
I guess, where it all becomes a bad thing is when we start to believe that we must have some qualification, certification or permission to follow our dreams or create something from our own ideas.
Think of Anna Wintour – iconic editor of Vogue, Oprah Winfrey – self-made billionaire, and Rachel Ray – celebrity chef. None of these women have college degrees and they most certainly did not need anyone’s permission to pursue their dreams!
Instead of waiting for someone to tell you that you can, start to make a plan!
Limiting Belief 3 – Right and Wrong
- If other people are unhappy about what you are doing, you are not nice.
- It is wrong to question your family’s religious, moral or social beliefs.
- It is selfish to take care of yourself before others.
Doing the right thing is important, but what is right should be your call, not a way for others to manipulate you into serving their needs. I am not here to criticize anyone’s beliefs, but please consider exploring the beliefs that you were raised with to learn what makes sense for you.
Ultimately, there is tremendous moral value in crafting a worthwhile life for yourself. Other people’s emotions are their responsibility, not yours. You will be in a much better position to make a positive difference if you help yourself first.
Limiting Belief 4 –Money is Evil and Mysterious
- Liking money is greedy.
- Money is the root of all evil.
- Anything you do with money besides pay your bills or put it in a savings account at the bank is too risky or complicated.
True, greed draws people to money and they may resort to evil to get it, but money itself is not bad. In fact, most of the good that we do for ourselves and others requires money.
And, although you may not understand everything you can do to invest and grow your money, that is just a matter of experience. Money is no big mystery. You can learn.
Get it in your head – money is a good thing!
Limiting Belief 5 – Fairy Tales
- There are wolves and bears in the woods.
- If you are pretty, you get to be the princess.
- Prince Charming will rescue you.
Fairy tales have offered lessons to children for generations. Unfortunately, we don’t always learn the real lesson.
I hope that someday you find your “Prince Charming” and he adores you and gives you the world on a silver platter. Really, I do. But if that is what you are waiting for, you can do so much more for yourself. It won’t be just because of your looks either, even though looking your best can help!
As for wolves and bears, you will encounter obstacles if you dare to pursue your dreams. Just remember, like in the fairy tales, you can overcome any “wolves and bears” you may find.
Try to remember the larger lesson of many fairy tales. They are mostly about making the journey and finding the strength within yourself.
“You’ve always had the power…”
-Glinda, the Good Witch, Wizard of Oz
Beyond Limits – A Step by Step Guide
Recognize any of these limiting beliefs in yourself? How can you shake them?
Start by owning them. Write them down.
Next, acknowledge that they are beliefs, not truths.
Try on a different belief. Here is an example: If you have always said, “I don’t have a head for business,” try “I am good at business because I persevere until I get the guidance and answers that I need.”
Act as if it is true. What would you do if you were a person who…?
Maybe you have heard the expression “Fake it ‘til you make it.” But it is not really faking. It is deeper and more wonderful than that. I think it is called believing in yourself!
As you peel off your limiting beliefs, try to be in touch with some of the very first, and very empowering, beliefs that you ever had. As almost every young child does, try to believe in the impossible and believe that dreams can come true!