We often refer to the famous saying by Ben Franklin, “You can do anything you set your mind to…”.
We even tell our kids this, often.
But the opposite is just as true: You can’t do anything you don’t set your mind to.
What we believe is incredibly powerful. It shapes how we feel and how we see the world, and ourselves in it. Our beliefs can propel us and give us fuel, but they can also limit us in our thinking, our actions and ultimately, our lives.
So what is a limiting belief anyway?
limiting beliefs are thoughts, convictions, or opinions that we believe to be absolute truths that hold us back in some way. As a result, they prevent us from growing, achieving our goals, taking risks or new opportunities, or becoming the people we want to be.
These can be beliefs about yourself (“I’ll never be good at math”), about the world (“I can’t change my eating habits, because my family will judge me”), or about life in general (“I should always put myself last, it’s the right thing to do”).
In fact, the word “should” is the prime suspect when we try to identify limiting beliefs. In the end, the result is the same: We keep ourselves in the same cage our minds have unconsciously built.
Many limiting beliefs are created in our childhood—learned from our parents and family, immediate environment, education and experience. In time, they become part of our identity.
Often, we think these stories are keeping us safe, protecting us from rejection and humiliation.
• “I am not smart/pretty/talented enough to be loved.”
• “I could never start my own business.”
• “I don’t have enough time/experience/resources to pursue my passion.”
• “I should avoid failure at all costs.”
• “I’m too old to go back to school.”
• “No one will want to date me because I’m divorced/too fat/too short/too tall/not a real blonde.”
• “It’s too late to change my lifestyle.”
• “Negative expectations will protect me from disappointment.”
The reality is, these are just stories we make up in our head by attaching made-up meanings to events.
And they end up costing us dearly all our lives.
So… what limiting beliefs do you have? And, are they protecting you, or are they holding you back?