Are limiting beliefs holding you back in life?
Human beings are estimated to have up to 6,000 thoughts a day. Some sources suggest it’s closer to 60,000. Most of them are repeated loops of things we’ve been telling ourselves our whole lives, and for the most part, we’re usually not even aware of what those things are.
If you tell your mind something enough times, it’ll eventually believe it. Repeated thoughts create our beliefs. And our beliefs drive our actions.
Have you ever wanted to make a change, or achieve a goal you set for yourself, but no matter what, you couldn’t seem to do it? You know what you want, you even know how to do it, but you just don’t.
It might have something to do with the thoughts you’ve been feeding your mind over time.
What’s a limiting belief?
Simply put, a limiting belief is a core subconscious belief we might have that either stops us from moving toward our desired behaviours or goals, or pushes us to behave in ways that we logically know are not healthy, but that we still do anyway. The key here is that it’s unconscious. Most of the time we’re not even aware that it exists, yet it shows up in the choices we make – or don’t make – in our everyday lives.
Let’s say for example that you’d really like to be in a relationship. On a conscious level, you desire partnership, but instead of going out and meeting new people, you complain to your friends about being single, avoid social interactions where you could possibly meet someone, and instead fixate on unavailable people.
What’s driving your behaviour? Your core beliefs. If you stopped to notice some of those 60,000 thoughts going through your head every day, you may begin to hear something like ‘He’s out of my league’, ‘She’d never like someone like me’, ‘Maybe I’m just meant to be alone’. Sound familiar?
If you’re like most of the rest of humanity, you’ve probably been telling yourself all the ways you can’t do something, aren’t good enough, or don’t deserve the things you want. Even if these thoughts are not explicitly in your mind, the way you talk to yourself – whether that’s with negativity, or compassion – will have an impact on the choices you end up making.
A kinder way of thinking about limiting beliefs is that it’s your mind’s way of trying to protect you. Your mind doesn’t care about you being happy. The mind’s job is to ultimately keep you alive and in the familiar, even if the familiar is miserable. You may think you want to be in a relationship, but if your mind codes relationships as unsafe, it’ll work really hard to keep you out of one.
So, what now?
You don’t need to be a slave to your mind. Living an intentional, meaningful life starts with the thoughts we entertain on a daily basis. It starts with becoming conscious of the script that’s constantly running in the back of our minds, and understanding how that script has been driving our behaviour for our entire lives.
It starts with becoming aware of how these thoughts have created the core beliefs that we now operate from, and how many of them are stopping us from the things we crave to experience in our lives. This is, of course, just one piece of the puzzle, but it’s an important piece, and a good place to start.
The key to any change you want to make in your life begins with self awareness. And self awareness begins with observing yourself without judgement. Releasing judgement is important here – it helps to reduce the shame around what you’re starting to notice about yourself. (You may initially find yourself horrified about the way you’ve been talking to yourself).
Instead, extend compassion to yourself, and begin to make tiny changes to the way you think about and speak to yourself. Start noticing the patterns in your thoughts and behaviors, and over time, the dots will begin to connect.
When you wake up to your thoughts, the possibilities for what your life can be will open up. You can choose to respond intentionally instead of reacting with conditioned responses.
And instead of sleep walking through life, feeling like a victim of your circumstances, you can choose to live deeply and meaningfully.
To learn more about how to reduce your self limiting beliefs, check out our episode with Mindset Coach Visa Shanmugam
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