Limiting Beliefs are the dark little lies we tell ourselves in order to feel safe in our fear. They’re created from years of personal experiences that have informed how we see the world around us, how we view ourselves and how we establish our worth. They’re called limiting beliefs because they’re sole purpose in our lives is to keep us safe and comfortable in our fear. As a coping mechanism they’re quite effective at convincing us that we aren’t worth the effort or we don’t deserve to be happy and fulfilled. Because in order to get from where we are now to where we want to be we have to be willing to take risks, expose ourselves and be vulnerable to others. And that shit is scary as hell!
According to Mark Manson, limiting beliefs come in “three flavors”:
Limiting beliefs about yourself. These convince you that you can’t do something because there’s something inherently wrong with you.
Limiting beliefs about the world. These convince you you can’t do something because no one will “let you”.
Limiting beliefs about life. These have you convinced that you can’t do something because it’s too challenging or difficult for you.
Of these 3, I think the ones that have the most impact on us are the limiting beliefs we have about ourselves. These can include our personal traits, our age, our abilities or our feelings. We often use these as an excuse to not chase our dreams or the things we do deserve. We convince ourselves that we can’t become a CEO, a ballet dancer or a painter. We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough for that person we’ve had a mad crush on or our that our spouse or partner doesn’t really love us, they’re just tolerating us until someone better comes along. These beliefs are embedded in our unconscious and they’re buried deeply…hence the dark little lies. That’s how they can hold us back so effectively, by convincing us that these beliefs we hold so close are actually true and anything else is bullshit. But…what if they aren’t true? What if they’re the bullshit?
If they’re so embedded in our unconsciousness that we’re often not even aware of them, how the hell do we overcome them? Well it sure ain’t easy but it’s absolutely possible. We can start by getting curious and asking ourselves questions like “What if I’m wrong?” or “How is this belief serving me?” and get really honest about the answers. What if you actually are worthy of the love and attention of the hot human you’ve been crushing on? It’s also entirely possible these beliefs have been serving you in some way up to now. Maybe they’ve been protecting you from something. But is that protection serving you in a way that allows you to move forward and become your most authentic and empowered self?
Once we’ve established that these limiting beliefs are no longer serving us we can start to reframe them in such a way that they empower us in the pursuit of our full potential. Reframing simply means taking a look at something from a different perspective. For example, if your limiting belief is that you’re a shitty ballet dancer so why even bother then you might reframe it as “I’m a great ballet dance and I love dancing! I just need more practice and time to hone my skills”.
Now that you’ve reframed the belief it’s time to take action and experiment. Go out and dance your ass off at every opportunity. Give as much of yourself as is possible to the goal of becoming the absolute best ballet dancer, writer, musician, gamer or whatever you can be. Listen to the experts, learn from those around you and apply what you learn. Be willing to make a shit ton of mistakes and see them for the lessons they are rather than the failures they aren’t. Be open to new ideas and ways of doing things. Ask out the really hot human and realize that no matter what their response is you’re still worthy of love and connection. Establish clear and attainable goals for yourself along the way and be open to modifying those goals as needed. Experimenting isn’t about “getting it right”. It’s about seeing what could happen if…
But most importantly, be kind to yourself while doing this. Be loving and appreciative of your efforts and surround yourself with people who support you and your ambitions. Honor your boundaries and your limits and always have a clear understanding of your intentions.
To conclude, when we shine a light on these dark little lies we take away their power over us so even if we decide that we’re too scared right now to take action, just being mindful of them can have a massive impact on how we see ourselves and our potential for greatness.