Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: A 4 Step Process
Overcoming limiting beliefs is essential to having a fulfilling life.
Firstly, because they can act as roadblocks to achieving your goals and moreover they hold you back from being your greatest self.
Additionally, understanding what limiting beliefs are, why we have them, and how to overcome them is crucial.
What are limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs are false assumptions or perceptions we hold about ourselves, our life and the world around us.
They are usually core beliefs that lie below the level of awareness in our unconscious, shaping our perceptions, directing our actions, and often keeping us from taking new opportunities
Limiting beliefs, we hold about ourselves – sound like
“I’m not smart enough”
“I’m not attractive enough to go on camera”
“I am not good enough to lead a team”
“I don’t have enough appitude to move up”
Why do we have limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs often form during early childhood and can be influenced by factors such as family, society, and personal experiences.
When we have intense emotional experiences that we struggle to process and let go of, they can impact and shape our thoughts and future behaviour. And subsequentially act as a defence mechanism to shield ourselves from future discomfort or as a psychological coping strategy to protect ourselves from possible harm.
Maybe you can relate to Kate’s story…
Kate was the youngest of three girls.
By the time she attended school, her two older sisters were well-known for their academic aptitudes.
Unfortunately for Kate, she found it troublesome to focus and retain instructions.
Where her sisters quickly grasped concepts, Kate needed constant repetition for the knowledge to settle in.
One day the teacher attempted to explain an idea to Kate when she was having difficulty focusing on the instructions.
In a burst of frustration, her teacher threw up her hands and shouted, “You’re never going to get this, Kate; you’ll never be clever like your sisters.”
While the rest of the class laughed, someone called out, “Dummy”.
When Kate returned home to tell her parents of her embarrassing situation, her mother replied, “We all can’t be smart, Kate. Some people are good at other things. You need to find what you’re good at.”
The remainder of Kate’s school life was focused on sporting activities and leadership roles. She might not be wise, she thought, but she knew how to kick a ball and encourage others.
Years later, when Kate had worked her way up in Business and wanted to apply for the next level position, her boss asked her to consider enrolling in an MBA (Master of Business Administration).
Thoughts of her 4th-grade teacher came back, filling Kate with fear of having to go back to school and study.
Although that message was from years ago, Kate still believed she couldn’t focus and retain information.
This was despite the fact she was completing complex projects within short deadlines.
That old memory frozen in time was a still photograph located in Kate’s mind, far from her current reality.
Nevertheless, it had enough power to bring up feelings of shame and prevent her from returning to study.
On further investigation, Kate was able to recall other incidents of being told,
“At least you’re good at sport, Kate; otherwise, you would be an embarrassment to your family”, and
“Lucky you’re not like your sisters; otherwise, we would never have won the championship.”
4 Steps to Overcoming Limiting Beliefs.
When we believe something to be true, like Kate, we find evidence to confirm our belief.
And we disregard evidence that contradicts our beliefs.
Even though Kate had overcome any learning challenges, she may have had, she still believed that she was not intelligent.
Did you get told that you weren’t intelligent, focused or committed enough to fulfil your dreams?
If so, it’s time to break free from the old messages and beliefs weighing you down. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Uncover the limiting beliefs
Because our beliefs reside in our unconscious, we rarely question them.
So, the first step is to uncover them.
Start by identifying the roadblocks that are stopping you in your tracks.
What is it that I want?
What are my goals? Or
What are my heart’s desire?
And What is getting in my way?
What outdated messages and limiting beliefs are preventing you from moving forward?
2. Challenge the limiting beliefs
Once you’ve identified those old beliefs and messages, it’s time to challenge them!
As long as they remain unchallenged, they will direct your action or, in this case, inaction.
Does this belief have merit?
Is it my belief or did I inherit it?
Is this belief relevant to the person I am today?
Specifically, seek out evidence that contradicts what you’ve been told and what you were led to believe.
3. recognize your strengths and past achievements!
The third step is to recognise your strengths. Don’t hesitate to ask a friend for a fresh perspective if you find this difficult.
You may not have been able to do something when you were younger, but today you have more resources, stronger talents and greater abilities. So start acknowledging them. Undoubtedly, this will assist with finding the evidence you need to create new beliefs.
Here is a worksheet to help you get started, you can download it here.
Recognising my Accomplishments Worksheet
Recognising my Accomplishments Worksheet
4. Replace the Old with the New
Replace those old negative thoughts with new, more appropriate ones.
It’s time to update your thinking and focus on the positive possibilities ahead.
What is one step you can take to move forward in the right direction to achieving your goal? Do it now.
Identifying and challenging old, limiting beliefs can be a powerful tool in achieving your goals and aspirations.
By taking a deep look at yourself and your life, you can recognize the roadblocks that have been holding you back and work to replace them with more appropriate thinking.
Remember to celebrate your strengths and past achievements, and seek out the encouragement of friends when needed.
With a positive mindset and a willingness to challenge yourself, you can break free from old messages and negative self-talk and focus on the positive possibilities ahead.
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