Limiting beliefs: What are they? How do we get them? And how do we get rid of them?
Without making it too complicated, limiting beliefs are just that; beliefs that limit us. And surprise surprise, they live in our minds.
Sometimes in order to understand the meaning of a sentence it’s important to understand the meaning of the words that make it. So I journeyed into The Dictionary for the meaning of the word ‘limit.’
“Limit refers principally to the establishment of a maximum beyond which a person or thing cannot or may not go.”
From a coaching perspective, beliefs are our view of the world, which are not always necessarily the way the world actually is, but the way we perceive it to be. When we internalise beliefs that limit our potential to have a better life experience in every way possible we put a cap (establish a maximum) on our ability to excel beyond where our mind has been. We tell ourselves we “cannot” or “should not” do something and our bodies obey. And not matter how much we may want to be in a different place, our bodies always tend to obey our thoughts.
“There are no limits except the ones we place on ourselves” (someone owns that quote but I can’t seem to pinpoint it’s exact origin). Napoleon Hill‘s book, Think and Grow Rich, masters this topic. We are not who we think we are; we are what we think about (thoughts). We are the sum total of the thoughts that occupy our minds most of the time. The thoughts we focus on grow and anchor our behaviour to a place we may not necessarily want to be. However, the desire to change is outweighed by the power of the thought and we resign ourselves to “our lot”.
Often we watch and see others excel greatly at something we would love to do ourselves. And for most people a desire arises to aspire to the same heights. But what usually happens is that desire is slowly or instantly quenched by our internal “gremlin”: “Oh no, it would never work for me”, “I always fail anyway, so why bother”, “I just know I’m going fail and I’ll be so embarrassed!”, “It means I have to do wake up at what time?”, “The Insanity Workout? Are you crazy?!”
Limiting beliefs are often self-imposed as a result of personal experiences that cause a paradigm shift in the way we view ourselves as part of the world; painful experiences, passively observing and believing what we see without question, laziness or the lack of a will powerful enough to propel us to initiate change.
At times, limiting beliefs can be caused by listening to and believing other people’s opinions about us or about situations that concern us. Over time we have experiences that reinforce these opinions making us believe them. It therefore becomes imperative that we choose our circles carefully. Even more so who we choose to listen to most of the time.
How do we get rid of beliefs that hold us back from personal, physical, emotional, financial and spiritual abundance?
All battles are won or lost in the mind before they manifest into our experiences. Limiting beliefs are overcome mentally before they are destroyed physically. Mentally because we need to master the things we think about most of the time and physical because our bodies need to be trained and brought into alignment with our thoughts through behavioural change and daily habits.
To a great extent, the beliefs that are projected upon us externally are within our control. As adults, we teach people around us how to treat you. People will speak to and treat you the way you permit. Cultivate an atmosphere where only uplifting and positive people and conversations can thrive. Anything less will feel stifled and migrate swiftly. Decide today what you will permit into your experience in dialogue with others. Words carry heavy weight with the power to uplift spirits, destroy souls or kill dreams.
“Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” For in fostering a positive mind-set, we become the people capable and worthy of being stewards of the good things life has in store for those who believe “it is possible!”