Have you ever wondered, “What exactly are limiting beliefs, and why does it matter?” Well, if you are looking to attract more success and happiness into your life, then it really matters.
For better or worse, your beliefs shape your reality. They are your innermost beliefs about yourself, the world, and other people.
By identifying the invisible forces that drive your thoughts, behaviors, and actions, you can harness beliefs that empower your life.
If you look in the mirror and ask yourself…
“Am I happy with the life that I’m living right now?”
…and the answer is an honest-to-goodness “yes,” you have discovered true happiness and your place in the universe.
What if your answer is “no?”
Then you should spend some time questioning your existing belief system. Nothing controls the direction of your life as much as your core beliefs. Finding out what they are will help you take control of your life.
Your belief system is one of the most powerful influences on any decision you make in life. These beliefs have an impact on your happiness, success, and personal fulfilment in all aspects of your life.
Your beliefs and perception of reality are shaped by your upbringing and experiences.
Once they are developed, it means that they are deeply rooted in your subconscious mind. And changing your belief system isn’t going to be an easy task.
If you believe that “nobody likes me,” your mind will find ways to further validate that belief. Even if someone is being nice to you, your mind will disqualify the authenticity of the act. You will presume that he or she has an ulterior motive.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ll be constantly affirming your beliefs.
“The basic idea is that the beliefs you have about yourself can drive your long-term behavior. Maybe you can trick yourself into going to the gym or eating healthy once or twice, but if you don’t shift your underlying identity, then it’s hard to stick with long-term changes.”
Given the profound impact of your beliefs on your life’s trajectory, it’s paramount to ensure they’re not holding you back. It’s important to make sure they’re positive and empowering.
When you detect these core beliefs hindering your progress, it’s time to take charge and rewrite your narrative.
The parts of your belief system that have a negative impact on your life are known as limiting beliefs. These are negative assumptions about yourself, others, and the world that are buried deep within your subconscious mind.
Many of these limiting beliefs stem from your early years. During childhood, you soaked up every experience that came your way, regardless of whether they were good or bad.
However, these beliefs are not only acquired through your own experience but also through people of authority in your life. It’s common for kids to adopt beliefs from well-meaning parents and teachers.
You have most likely (unintentionally) absorbed the beliefs that your parents, teachers, and other authoritative people have instilled in you.
Nina Cooke, a business mindset coach, put it succinctly:
“Many limiting beliefs are created in our childhood. Devastatingly, they become part of our identity… Mistakenly, we think these stories are keeping us safe, protecting us from rejection and humiliation. The reality is, they’re just stories we make up in our heads by attaching made-up meanings to events. And they cost us dearly all our lives.”
Just because you believe something about yourself doesn’t make it true. But, over a period of time, these beliefs start to brew in your subconscious.
What you believe has an impact on how you perceive events, how you feel, and how you act. And, in many cases, those beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies.
The “Dean of Personal Development,” Earl Nightingale, once said:
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.”
Ask yourself from time to time, “Does this belief serve me?” If it does, stick to it. As for those beliefs that keep you stuck or impede your progress, replace them with ones that empower you.
Making small shifts in your belief system is all it takes to transform your life. The quality of your belief system determines the quality of your life.
You can change any limiting beliefs you want and convert them into empowering beliefs. All you need to do is “rewrite” the way those beliefs are encoded in the subconscious mind.
This way of altering your beliefs is right out of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)* playbook. Inspired by Kent Sayre’s book, Unstoppable Confidence, it involves changing the structure of the belief and thereby changing the belief.
Let’s break down the procedure so you can see how it works before you start:
* NLP is a psychological technique for influencing your brain’s (Neuro) processing of the words you use (Linguistic) and how that impacts your past, present, and future (Programming).
Close your eyes and journey back to a time when you unquestionably believed something. Perhaps you were fed the childhood myth that swallowing chewing gum would trap it in your stomach for seven long years. Yet, as the years rolled by, doubts crept in.
Doubt, you see, is like a silent rebel, challenging the status quo of your beliefs and whispering that something “is not so” as you once thought. Think about those lingering doubts, like the enduring skepticism about chewing gum (or any other childhood mystery).
Now, turn your focus to the intricate tapestry of these beliefs. Notice how they’re constructed, much like a mental art installation.
Vivid mental images, sounds, and emotions are all woven into the fabric of your convictions.
Begin by scrutinizing the visual elements of this belief. As you explore, mentally jot down your observations.
How would you depict this belief that once stood as truth? What’s its shape? Is it flat, spherical, or perhaps three-dimensional?
Does it possess a hue, be it clear as a crystal or a tad blurry? How does it glow, if at all? Size matters here, so gauge its dimensions.
Where does this belief reside? Does it boast an ornate frame?
Now, let’s shift our attention to the auditory dimension of this belief. While keeping your eyes closed, listen to the sounds intertwined with this once-accepted truth.
Focus intently on the auditory qualities of this belief. Can you find words to describe it?
Zoom in on the sonic geography. Is there a voice of doubt, whispering dissent? Or do other sounds chime in, offering their two cents?
Try to gauge the volume, the resonance, and the textural richness of these sounds within the realm of your beliefs, where echoes of limiting beliefs may reside.
You can conclude your visualization now and gently open your eyes, grounding yourself in the present moment. Take a deep breath and observe your surroundings.
To further anchor yourself in the here and now, consider either taking a few steps to center yourself or name three items that you see around you.
Once you feel fully present, reflect on something that you hold an unwavering certainty about—a truth beyond a shadow of a doubt. It could be as straightforward as “the sky is very bright at this moment.”
Now, do a visualization exercise akin to the one you previously did for doubting beliefs. Direct your attention to a belief in which you are totally certain to be true.
As you delve into this exercise, take note of anything that comes to mind in connection with this rock-solid belief. Reexamine the visual facets of this belief, just as before, and capture your observations mentally.
What words spring to mind when you contemplate this indisputable belief? Does it take on a particular shape—flat, square, round, or perhaps a multi-dimensional form?
Does it radiate color, displaying clarity or a subtle blur? How intense is its luminosity?
Assess its dimensions; is it grand or modest? Consider its location; does it have a defined framework?
Now, let’s transition to the auditory dimension of this steadfast belief. With your eyes gently closed, attune your senses to the sounds interwoven with this unwavering conviction.
Delve deep into the auditory landscape associated with this absolutely true belief. Can you put words to its auditory essence?
Explore the sonic setting—do you detect any echoes of doubt? Are there additional sounds in the chorus?
Pay close attention to the sound’s volume, resonance, and unique qualities within the realm of this firm belief, where the echoes of limiting beliefs may remain unspoken.
Conclude your visualization exercise by gently opening your eyes. Inhale deeply and survey your surroundings. Take a few measured steps to anchor yourself firmly in the present moment.
This step helps recalibrate your mindset to a neutral state, priming it for transformation.
Now, let’s tackle some limiting beliefs head-on. Reflect on those limiting beliefs that have cast shadows on your life’s progress. Perhaps it’s the belief that “I can never save money” or the notion that “nobody at work likes me.”
With your eyes closed, meticulously note down every visual and auditory facet of these selected limiting beliefs. This process mirrors the one you undertook earlier.
The subsequent task is to recalibrate these limiting beliefs. It involves aligning the visual and auditory attributes of belief with those of doubt.
Take your time in this matching process, ensuring that the features of your limiting beliefs closely resemble those of doubt. The aim is to infuse your limiting beliefs with elements of doubt to transform them.
When executed effectively, you’ll notice that these once-entrenched limiting beliefs no longer hold sway over your convictions.
Now, you can open your eyes and take a deep breath. Observe your surroundings and point to three random objects, bringing yourself fully back to the present moment.
Having successfully dismantled your limiting beliefs, turn your focus to an empowering belief that has consistently propelled you forward. Let this empowering belief seamlessly fill the void left by the limiting belief you’ve just cast aside.
You can program new and empowering thoughts into your subconscious mind using the same method. Begin with new ones that you believe in and work your way up to bigger and better ones.
Start with a degree of belief that you are comfortable with. For example, instead of going from “I’m not confident” to “I’m highly confident,” work on it gradually.
Begin with, “Every day, I gain greater confidence.”
Close your eyes again and imagine the belief in which you want to totally believe. Allow yourself to become aware of the visual and auditory elements of that belief.
Then start changing every aspect of that belief to match the visual and auditory attributes of the strong belief (from #2 above). Upon completion, you’ll think about your empowering belief in the same way you think about your other deeply held beliefs.
Just make sure your new empowering belief matches up closely with your existing deeply held beliefs as much as possible. (In terms of visual and auditory aspects).
Beliefs help us to navigate our way through life. Now that you’ve learned how to tweak your belief system to triumph in life, why not adopt the empowering ones?
Identify and reframe any limiting thoughts you have in your life into empowering ones. Slowly but steadily, as the quality of your thoughts improves, your life will begin to take a more positive turn.
As the world’s most recognized self-help guru, Tony Robbins, aptly put it:
“The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself.”
It is what you tell yourself that determines what you believe. This can have a significant impact on how you perceive the world and how you feel.
Change your life’s narrative and live triumphantly.
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