It can be challenging to make a bold and courageous move to release your attachment to old thoughts and relationships that – for better or worse – have been separating you from true harmony and self-empowerment. Why is this? As humans, our emotional infrastructure supports our thoughts and behaviours. If all of your life you have believed what your grandmother said about you not having a neck that ‘suits an up-do’ (true story — my Nana told me this!), you are instinctively going to wear your hair down. A belief can only exist when the attachment and power associated with it continue to be supported. The wearing your hair up example is exceptionally simple but is one of the limiting beliefs that kept me stagnant for most of my life.
By the way, I now wear my hair up so often that somebody commented, ‘I never see you with your hair down!’ — those words made me reflect on how empowering and crushing that false belief I had attached myself to for so long has been. It seems trivial, but we all do this with so many aspects of our lives. We believe a false narrative about ourselves can hold us back.
WHAT IS A LIMITING BELIEF
A limiting belief is an unfounded, self-deprecating ‘truth’ a person believes about themselves.
They can be as trivial (though empowering to overcome) as my example of not having a ‘neck for an ‘up-do’ to a person believing that they are not worthy of meeting a loving partner, fulfilling career, or inner contentment.Do you struggle with limiting beliefs? Check out this quick post on how to tackle them for good! #growthmindset #limitingbeliefs #coach #holisticwellness Click To Tweet
It is a belief that is LIMITING your life. If there is a regressive ‘pull’ you have been experiencing every time you get close to doing something that is outside of your comfort zone, chances are it’s a belief that needs a serious fact-checking session.
YEAH, BUT HOW DO I KNOW IT’S TRULY A ‘LIMITING BELIEF’?
My go-to question for identifying a limiting belief is, ‘is there an area of your life that you have a burning desire to improve, but you cannot seem to DO it?’
I’ll never find a better job. Okay, what does getting a ‘better job’ entail? Searching for opportunities and networking — sure, but what is required most when a person makes a statement like, ‘I’ll never find a better job’ but then does nothing to try and obtain one? Identifying what ‘better’ means. ‘Better’ money? ‘Better’ hours? A ‘better’ boss? Defining what ‘better’ represents is the first step, but addressing why you will ‘never’ get it is the deeper issue. Hypothetically speaking, you can always find a ‘better’ anything because it’s a subjective concept. Maybe you like your job, but your mother or father keeps telling you that you can do/find ‘better’. Or perhaps you truly dislike your job but feel more security in keeping it rather than finding out if what you believe is that you aren’t ‘better’ enough to go out and find something else. What stands between you and a different work opportunity is a culmination of ideas and feelings that have likely been in the works since you were a kid. First, you must define what ‘better’ means to you and then – and only then – can you get to the real bones of why you believe you will ‘never’ get it.
An actual test of whether or not the belief you have is limiting is to examine how different life could be for you if that nagging attachment weren’t dragging you down. One way of doing this – as used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is to perform cognitive restructuring by utilising Socratic questioning.
One of the best ways to tackle limiting beliefs is to ask ourselves questions that challenge our thoughts. Take the example of the statement above, ‘I’ll never find a better job.’ — well, what evidence is there for this statement? Discover a clarifying concept:
- What exactly does better mean?
- Better in what way?
- What, in your mind, would be an example of a better job?
Does better mean more pay, flexible hours, benefits, the opportunity to work from home, or even less responsibility? Clarify what you desire.
- What evidence do you have to support this belief that you’ll never find a better job?
- Are you using that previous experience as a way to guide or restrict your job search approach?
Is there any room for growth in your current job? What methods have you been using that haven’t been serving you when looking for new opportunities?
Next is the probing assumption, where the belief itself comes under fire:
Once the information becomes more apparent, you can probe rationale and evidence to determine what is reasonable about the limiting belief.
For example, would you say your job previous to this one was ‘better’? In which ways was it better or worse? Does the fact that you can discern that this job isn’t what you want possibly stem from the fact that you have had a better position in the past? Is there anybody you know with the same or less experience/qualifications who has this ‘better’ job?
DO SOME DIGGING
Dig deeper into the clarification, evidence and rationalisation behind why these beliefs challenge your happiness and well-being. Why you have these beliefs is not your fault, but you owe it to yourself not to throw down and accept these things as truths. The truth is that which is following fact or reality. We create our reality. Every cell in our bodies is responding to what we think. The double-edged sword is that our thoughts create our beliefs and our beliefs influence our thoughts.
The only way to know anything for sure is to challenge yourself and your beliefs. Contrast is such an essential part of life.
Without light, there is no dark.
Without down, there is no up.
Without change, there is no growth.
If something in your life is holding you back, you deserve to challenge whether or not it is the truth.
Don’t fight yourself, do right by yourself.