Limiting beliefs are dream killers. They cut off possibilities before they even have a chance to see the light of day. They seem so real, but they aren’t. We just believe they are. Yes, they are really tricky that way.
Limiting beliefs start to influence us at a very early age. When we’re children we soak in all the limiting beliefs expressed by the adults around us. All the messages that tell you-you can’t do something you really aspire to, and back it up with bullsh*t reasons. As we get older, we start to assume that all the messages we get from our surrounding culture and society are all true. When we’re young we may even rebel against this, but in time we cede and learn to accept. Our brains become wired to believe any assortment of limiting beliefs, like a box of chocolates the flavors are varied, depending on our upbringing, circumstances, and other environmental factors.
The thing is we all have them.
My favorite analogy for limiting beliefs is the difference between a map and the actual territory. We have this map in our hands, we inherited it, and however well-intentioned the cartographer(s) may have been when they created this map for us, it’s based on their experiences, including their deepest fears and anxieties. Throw it away! Make your own new map. Chart your own territory, or better yet, create your new territory.
By the way, just because I’m writing about them here doesn’t mean I’ve mastered them, I don’t even think that’s possible. What I have gotten very good at is recognizing my own when I hear them coming out in conversation or in self-talk. I’m able to sniff them out and work through them. I’ve also developed a supersonic limiting belief radar, so when I hear them tumble out of someone else’s mouth I’m able to spot it, and call bullsh*t so that I’m protecting myself from falling into the hypnotic daze of “if everyone says so, it must be true”.
This has allowed me to see my possibilities as infinite. And that’s pretty kick-ass. When someone says’s “No, you can’t” they are speaking through the filter of their own limiting beliefs. I now know that, so I smile politely and get on with my own bad self.
Here’s a short list of common themes where limiting beliefs often show up:
I will be delving deep into some of these in my next couple of articles and providing some steps to working through them, so stay tuned. Because what’s the good of pointing something negative out without a solution? Right? You game? Good!
In the meantime let’s play a game, shall we? Pick one of the areas in life listed above where you feel stuck or frustrated. Now imagine yourself 3-5 years from now specifically in relation to that area of life. If you keep doing what you’re doing, working within the same framework, what do you see? How does your future self feel? No muy bueno? Then it’s time to look under the hood and at what the limiting beliefs are that have gotten you there and keeping you there in that holding pattern. Ignoring them will only lead to more of the same, even 3 years from now.
Comment below and let me know if this article struck a chord with you.
Do you think you have limiting beliefs?
How are they affecting your life?
I’d like to know.