If you've done any self-development work you've probably heard the term before: self-limiting beliefs. But what does that really mean? And why does it matter? I'm here to tell you self-limiting beliefs are a huge part of our stories. They go back years and have worked to shape our lives as we know them today. In some ways these beliefs keep you safe, but in other ways they hold you back.
What are they?
Self-Limiting beliefs are any belief that is holding you small. It's keeping you back from realizing your full potential. These beliefs were usually formed sometime in your childhood or early adult life. They are the stories we tell ourselves about not being good enough and not being worthy. My favorite example of a self-limiting belief is "I am not smart enough".
Why should you care?
Care because these beliefs are holding you back. Whether you realize it or not, there are stories you've told yourself throughout the years that prevent you from going for that promotion, telling the guy you're crazy about him, losing the weight, whatever. We all have our stories, but they don't have to keep holding us back.
How to combat them?
The first step in combating these beliefs is identifying them. Once you've identified your self-limiting beliefs, rewrite those beliefs. Then keep telling yourself the new belief everyday until you fully believe it. Whenever I feel like my self-limiting beliefs are holding me back, I physically write them out. I start by making two columns on a sheet of paper. One side with the self-limiting belief, the other side with my new belief. One by one I write out the limiting belief, then the new belief. I then repeat these aloud to myself. To really make sure it sticks, I leave myself notes around the house. It WORKS!
Self-Limiting Belief Squashing Examples:
Self-Limiting Belief: I am not smart enough.
New Belief: I am smart, even if I don't get it right away, I am capable of learning.
Self-Limiting Belief: I don't have the discipline to do that.
New Belief: I haven't created the habit yet, but I am capable of turning this into a habit and becoming disciplined.
Self-Limiting Belief: I am unloveable.
New Belief: Many people love me. My family loves me, my friends love me and my fur babies love me.