What are Limiting Beliefs? You may not realize it, but when it comes to living your best life and meeting your potential, you could be your own worst enemy. Limiting beliefs, all that negative self-talk, are the single biggest thing holding you back. The bottom line: Limiting beliefs are stealing your freedom.
Limiting beliefs are the negative messages about your ability or your characteristics often imprinted from your childhood. Think of all the messages you might have received about being bad or lazy or selfish, even slow or ‘just not that smart.’
These messages go deep into your subconscious and help to create the adult self-talk that makes you feel bad – an Inner Critic who chips in to say you’re not that great. This continuous loop of ‘no you can’t’ becomes a pattern of self-sabotage that blocks you from achieving your dreams. To start with, you can begin to rescript or reframe that negative self-talk by turning it around and embedding positive beliefs.
Here are some of the most common limiting beliefs that may be lying low in your subconscious, stopping you from being your best you:
- I’m nothing special
- I don’t know what I want
- I don’t have time
- It’s too late
- Everyone else knows what to do except me
- I don’t need help
- I’m not good enough and I don’t deserve this
If any of these messages sound familiar, don’t despair! There is so much you can do to confront limiting beliefs and free yourself from their dead weight. You can start right now by challenging those beliefs and replacing them with more positive messages.
Switch your Negative Messaging to Positive
To start with, you can try some simple mindset techniques. Look at your list of negative beliefs and give them a reality check. Try challenging each belief that feels familiar and replacing it with a more positive take.
1. I’m nothing special
Believing you’re just an ordinary Joe with nothing special to offer is one of the most damaging beliefs. No one else in the history of the world has been just like you. You are unique, with an exclusive set of skills, talents, and experience. No one else has what you have to offer.
2. I don’t know what I want
You can’t move forward unless you know what you want, not just what you think people expect of you. Take some time to brainstorm what you would love to have in your life if money or circumstances were no object. Then write down another list of all your skills, passions, interest and experience. See what resources you already have to turn your dreams into reality.
3. I don’t have time
Sure, everyone is busy, but saying you don’t have the time to work on your limiting beliefs is just the same as saying no. It’s a signal that maybe you’re scared or that you don’t want to change. Start by working out what you like and don’t like in your current life, and you’ll find more motivation to find time to make changes.
If you want to be free to be your best you, you can choose to free up some time in your schedule.
4. It’s too late
It’s never too late to do whatever you want to do. No universal schedule says you must have achieved particular life goals like buying a house, getting married, or even finishing college by a certain age. You live your life to your schedule, and you can choose to change it whenever you want.
5. Everyone else knows what to do except me
Nobody has all the answers! Everyone on social media might look happy and wealthy and on vacation all the time, but that’s not the whole story. People curate their lives for social media, and they create a story to look successful. Don’t give in to comparisonitis! Everyone is doing the best they can, just like you.
6. I don’t need help
It’s okay, even necessary, to ask for help sometimes. No one can make it alone. Humans all rely on each other to some extent. And it’s reciprocal. Someone helps you, and you pass it forward by helping the next guy.
7. I’m not good enough
Feeling unworthy can be corrosive. Let go of perfectionism and accept yourself for the beautiful person you are.
8. I can’t do X until I fix Y
Procrastination is another way of saying you don’t have time to work on your self-worth. If you wait until life is perfect before you act, you’ll never get anything done! Tell yourself you can do whatever you want, right now. While limiting beliefs are stealing your freedom and dreams, know that you can turn that around, as I and so many others have done.
Going Deeper: Limiting Beliefs are Stealing Your Freedom… Or Are they?
As well as choosing to replace those negative messages with positive ones, you can go deeper to get to the root cause of your limiting beliefs. You might need some extra help from a professional, in one or more therapies designed to support you in working through deep-seated issues.
As well as mainstream therapies like traditional counseling and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, you can try alternative therapies like meditation, Emotional Freedom Technique or Reiki to help shift those negative beliefs.
Mindfulness and meditation are simple techniques you can use at home to step away from your negative thoughts and find inner peace. Practicing mindfulness concentrates your attention on the present, allowing you to detach from the things that are holding you back.
As well as making mindful meditation a regular practice in your life, you can decide to set the intention to release one or more of your negative beliefs.
Start by sitting in a quiet room or space. Make sure you’re comfortable and warm. Take a few deep calming breaths.
Bring to mind one or more of your limiting beliefs. Say to yourself “I release this (negative belief) to the Universe.” Visualize the belief dissolving and leaving your body and mind. See yourself released from the fear and self-doubt.
• Emotional Freedom Technique
Emotion Freedom Technique, EFT, or tapping is a simple technique you can use yourself to work through your mental blocks and limiting beliefs. The technique requires you to tap with your fingers on points along your body’s energy meridians. You focus your attention and speak out loud what comes up for you when you think about a particular limiting belief.
For example, if your limiting belief is that you’re no good, you gently tap through the prescribed points working through all the issue that comes into your mind. Perhaps it’s ‘I always fail,’ or ‘I know I can’t do x.’ Tapping frees you to work through all the aspects of your limiting belief so that you can confront and challenge it. It may take a few cycles of tapping to dig down into your deepest fears, to release them and find a resolution.
Based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and neuro-linguistic programming, EFT is non-invasive and quickly learned. You might want to have one or two sessions with a trained practitioner to help get you started. There are also many websites, online videos, and books to help you become familiar with the meridian points and how to tap through them. This practice will also help to increase your productivity.
Reiki is another energy-based therapy that can help you to drop your defensive self-talk, identify your limiting beliefs and release them. It relies on the belief that our bodies can tap into the universal energy (chi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, prana in yoga) to help heal pain, suffering, and disease.
You can receive a Reiki healing from anyone who is a qualified Reiki practitioner. Or you can also benefit just by adopting the philosophy and practices of Reiki in your own life.
There are five pillars of Reiki which provide a sound basis for living an authentic, kind life, freed from harmful beliefs and focused on doing your best right now. People who practice Reiki commit to these five pillars every day.
1. Just for today, I will not be angry. That allows you to let go of resentment, envy, and anger and frees you to be open to peacefulness and kindness to others.
2. Just for today, I will not worry. This pillar frees you from fear, gives you permission to love and relinquish the need to control.
3. Just for today, I will be grateful. Practicing gratitude is one of the best things you can do to reduce stress and anxiety. Being thankful for what you have right now releases you from envy and fear of failure.
4. Just for today, I will work honestly. You are free to work in achieving your goals in a spirit of honest hard work and not for greed or to get one over the other guy.
5. Just for today, I will be kind to every creature I meet. Committing to be kind to all beings in your life immediately changes your attitude to them. You are open, positive, generous and kind. You start from a position of love, not fear.
Whatever modality you try, you don’t have to stay stuck in your limiting beliefs. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you take the first step so you can move forward to gain the personal freedom you want. Limiting beliefs are stealing your freedom right now, so begin turning this around.
Personal Freedom Begins in Your Mind
You might be surprised to learn that the biggest obstacle to your personal freedom is right between your ears. A negative mindset is the biggest block to freedom.
There are so many parts of your life you cannot control, from the need to earn a living to finding true love. But you can control your mindset, your thoughts, and how you act in the world. So how can you overcome your psychological blocks and open your mind to achieve greater freedom?
1. Change the record
Everyone has a constant inner monologue; what psychologists call self-talk. And most of the time, yours is probably set to negative. Any messages you get in childhood about being bad, hopeless or selfish or stupid all get absorbed in your malleable child’s brain and resurface in adulthood as your Inner Critic.
The good news is that you can reprogram your Inner Critic and turn it into an Inner Coach.
Make a list of all the negative things your Inner Critic says. Be alert for phrases that start ‘you always or ‘you never.’ Watch out for ‘shoulds’ too. Then take each negative message and turn into a positive one.
Change your self-talk broken record to a new track full of encouragement and positivity. When your limiting beliefs are stealing your freedom, it’s crucial to change your self-talk to a more positive tone.
2. Change your expectations
Studies have shown that the most significant contributors to success or failure are your expectations. Happy people expect things to go well and mistakes or problems do not crush them, they see them only as temporary setbacks. Conversely, if the expectation is to fail any issue will confirm the expectations, and you won’t try again.
Expecting things to work out is not wishful thinking; it is choosing to be positive no matter what the circumstances.
3. Change your focus
Modern society trains us to be dissatisfied with what we have now and constantly strive for bigger, better and shiner. You can choose to step outside of this and be grateful for what you have right now.
Developing a habit of gratitude frees you from this pressure and affects the structure of your brain. Studies show that the more you feel grateful, the more resilient you become in the face of life’s ups and downs. You feel happier with what you have and more open to receiving.
Even better, you rewire the neural pathways in your brain so that your mindset defaults to positivity. You start to see the good things before you notice the bad. Over time, you perceive life as positive, and your expectations change. You free yourself from the burden of negativity!
How to Be More Grateful for What Freedom You Already Have
There‘s so much emphasis on getting ahead, being successful and striving for change that it can be hard to remember that you already have so much for which to be grateful. Even worse, the constant pushing to change your circumstances can lead to dissatisfaction, and keep you trapped in a cycle of always feeling you’re not good enough.
Free yourself from the shackles of ‘must try harder’ by remembering to stop and appreciate what you’ve already achieved, what blessings you already have in your life. Keep in mind that you are free to be content right now. Here are some tips to help free you from the cycle of discontent.
1. Change your focus
Research has shown that the more you cultivate a habit of gratitude, the better able you are to weather the ups and downs of life. As you perceive life to be positive, you will come to expect more of the same. You can retrain your brain from negative self-talk to greater thankfulness, gratitude, and happiness.
By practicing gratitude, you rewire the neural pathways in your brain so that it becomes your mindset’s default setting. You learn to look for the good in things instead of focusing on the bad.
2. Step away from more stuff
If you’re like most people, you have more than enough possessions. The current mantra is that spending brings happiness, but deep down you probably know that it doesn’t. Sure, buying yourself a new car or outfit makes you feel good at the time, but that spenders high wears off pretty quickly.
Break the habit of buying the next shiny thing and appreciate what you’ve got right now.
3. Develop a mindfulness practice
Mindfulness and meditation can help you focus on the good that’s already in your life. By focusing exclusively on the present, you free yourself from that familiar yoyo-ing of brooding over past disappointments and future anxieties.
You can easily integrate mindfulness into your day. Whatever you’re doing, pause and focus on your breath. Ask yourself: what are five things I’m grateful for in my life right now? Your five items can be anything from having a roof over your head to having a job, your partner or your health. Or you can be grateful for a comfortable chair or clean sheets! Chose anything that makes you feel good at that very moment.
Choosing gratitude and contentment doesn’t mean being stagnant or giving up. It means stepping aside from judgment and freeing yourself from the bonds of negativity.
Tips for Reclaiming your Personal Freedom Today
Have you ever woken up and wondered how you ended up with this life of yours? Do you feel stuck in the rut of the same routine day after day, week after week, year in, year out? Maybe you feel trapped by obligations, by debt, by other people’s expectations.
If you want to get off the hamster wheel, you can! Here are five tips for reclaiming your personal freedom today.
1. Stop beating yourself up
Feeling dissatisfied is hard-wired into us as humans. If humans as a species were content with the status quo, we would have died out long ago. It’s in our genes to keep adapting and overcoming challenges. So, don’t blame yourself if that dissatisfaction comes out in a modern human being as wanting to go out and spend! On the other hand, thinking and strategizing also kept us going on the evolutionary path, so you can outsmart those spending impulses or give into them – your choice.
2. Stop comparing your life with others
It used to be called keeping up with the Joneses. Now it’s looking at other people’s seemingly perfect lives on social media. Everyone shows the best possible version of themselves to the world. No one takes selfies of their failures, their bad hair days, their overdrawn bank account.
Free yourself from comparisonitis by stepping out of the competition and focus on living your life your way.
3. Appreciate what you have
Discontent feeds on wanting something different. Take a look around you and count five things you’re grateful for in your life right now. Then five more. Once you start, you’ll find dozens of things in your life that are wonderful and life-affirming.
To be happy with what you have in the present sets you up to receive even more in the future.
4. Be a more conscious spender
It’s easy to fritter your money away on things that don’t make you happy or help you meet your goals. Before you buy anything, take a moment to consider why you want it. Do you need it? How will it improve your life? Is it worth the money? Limiting beliefs are stealing your freedom, so are you spending to meet an emotional need?
Test your purchasing against these questions before you hand over your cash.
5. Live your best life
Do you find yourself envying other people, or wishing things were different? Take action! Limiting beliefs are stealing your freedom right now, so if you want to live a more authentic life, go ahead and do it. Work out what you want, make a plan and give it your best shot.
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my comprehensive training on how to set up Funnels That Click and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.