From our earliest years, we are socialized to adopt certain beliefs. If we’re raised in a nurturing and supportive environment, our beliefs will be quite different than if we grew up in an abusive and shameful environment. The meaning we attach to our experiences can limit or enable the possibilities in our lives and minimize or maximize our potential for success.
A belief is an assumed truth that we hold without necessarily being able to adequately defend it. We create beliefs to use as a framework to understand and make sense of the world; but our beliefs can become so deep-seated that we confuse them with facts and limit our fullest potential.
Self-limiting beliefs are often defense mechanisms — conscious or unconscious — that we use to mask fear and anxiety. Examples of self-limiting beliefs are: There’s only one way to solve this problem; or My viewpoint is the only right one, so it’s needless to consider other perspectives; or I cannot succeed no matter how hard I try, so there’s no need in trying; or I was born with certain characteristics and abilities, and they cannot be changed.
Disempowering beliefs create a downward spiral that paralyzes our actions. However, identifying, dissecting and challenging our counterproductive beliefs and expecting favorable things to happen set events in motion to support our expectations.
Identifying Self-Limiting Beliefs
All change requires self-examination. Before you can break any non-productive cycle, you must raise your consciousness through honest self-assessment. To develop awareness of your self-limiting beliefs, consider how the following conditions are manifested in your life:
1. Recurring Problems – You repeatedly face the same problems.
2. Behavioral Patterns – You have conditioned responses to the same situations.
3. Verbal Expression – Your verbal communications emphasize your perceived shortcomings and inability to overcome obstacles.
4. Thoughts – Your thoughts and mental images are focused on negative experiences, expectations and outcomes.
Transforming Self-Limiting Beliefs
Our thoughts drive our feelings; our feelings determine our behaviors; and our behaviors produce results. When self-limiting beliefs emerge, it’s an opportunity for you to get still and focus your attention on some reflective questions: (1) What am I feeling? (2) What situation is driving this feeling? (3) What negative self-talk am I engaging in to reinforce this feeling? (4) What assumptions are embedded in my self talk? (5) If these assumptions are true, what supporting evidence do I have? (6) If these assumptions are false, what new beliefs could I adopt to cancel the self-limiting beliefs? (7) How can I begin to model my newly adopted beliefs?
Successful people have an absolute belief that they can succeed, persisting in the face of obstacles. They understand that there is always a sunrise (beginnings) and a sunset (endings), so continuously seek ways to improve their circumstances and lives.
Regardless of your experiences, you possess the power of this moment to create change in your life. Remember that your effectiveness and ability to produce extraordinary results are limited only by your beliefs.
Until Next Time,