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Fives Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs is the final installment in the Going Beyond Series. Check out posts one and two, if you haven’t yet, and then dive into learning about moving beyond limiting beliefs. Of the three…fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs…this one is perhaps the most challenging to shift.
No worries though. I’ve got you!
What are Limiting Beliefs?
We all have beliefs. Many we acquire during childhood, passed on to us by others. Or beliefs develop due to an experience, usually a negative one. We hold onto those limiting beliefs…thoughts, convictions or opinions…as absolute truths even when they have a detrimental effect on us.
Common limiting beliefs include:
- fear of success
- fear of failure
- not being good enough or not being enough
- being unlovable
- fear of rejection
- negative associations with money
- fear of greatness
- believing we have to work very hard for financial gain
- blaming others for our problems
Our brains work to protect us, at all times. Limiting beliefs do that by preventing pain in the future. When a child touches a hot surface, she learns that hot equals pain. She avoids touching anything hot in the future.
If that child has a parent who passes on a fear of swimming, or she has a bad experience while in a pool, the child carries the limiting belief that swimming and bodies of water are bad and cause pain. She avoids going into the water, even as an adult.
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs
Work through these steps for identifying and going beyond the beliefs that are keeping you stuck and keeping you from living the life you desire.
Identify Which Beliefs Hold You Back
The first step to going beyond limiting beliefs is to discover what they are. Once identified, you can overcome them.
Do you want to overcome them? Yes, if they are holding you back and keeping you caged. As I shared in the second post, your comfort zone becomes a cage, with the bars strengthened by limiting beliefs. Fear is the jailor. If you feel stuck, small, afraid or bored with life, it’s time to break out of that comfortable cage by destroying those bars. Fear will bow and step aside.
What are your thoughts about the world you live in? Circumstances seem out of your control. Bad things always happen to you. The world is against you. You don’t have enough time, enough money, enough talent.
What are your thoughts about other people? Does it matter to you what other people think about you? You feel you have to please others, not show up as your true self, hide, stay small. Do you believe that others are out to “get you”?
What are your thoughts about yourself? This is where deep limiting beliefs hide. Do you think you are incapable, unlovable, too old, too young, or that you can’t learn new things? What story do you tell yourself about who you are?
Grab a piece a paper and spend time identifying your thoughts/beliefs about the world, about other people, about yourself.
Real life example
You know that I grew up afraid of the dark. My belief told me scary things hid in the dark and I was not safe. That belief kept me from many adventures because I was afraid to go on sleepovers as a child and afraid to travel as an adult.
The truth is, there ARE things that hide in the dark. At least that is true for me as an intuitive. To overcome the belief that I was not safe, I acknowledged that my spirit visitors don’t hurt me. I am safe, even if I feel surprised or momentarily frightened. I also learned how to clear negative energy from structures and surround myself with divine, protective light. That shifted my fear and my belief with it.
Take Responsibility for Limiting Beliefs
When we choose to believe that life just happens to us, rather than for us, we fail to take responsibility for our lives and beliefs.
Believing that life happens for us, for our good, for our growth and development, we can own responsibility for making changes.
Look through the list of limiting beliefs. Where did each one come from? Find the source. Was the belief passed on to you? Did you have a bad experience that birthed it? Ask yourself, “Is this belief really true?”. If you shift that belief, what might happen?
If you wrote down the belief, “I am too old to do what I want to do” then you are allowing a circumstance beyond your control to dictate what you can do or not do. You’ve adopted a limiting belief. You are the age that you are. Accept that. Own it. And shift. “I am the perfect age to do what I want to do”.
Go through the limiting beliefs you wrote down and take back responsibility for them, one by one. Then you have the power to shift them.
Real life example
I dealt with the limiting belief, “I am too old” a few years ago. I began blogging at age 56. What began as a hobby quickly became something else. I wanted to monetize my blogs and social media sites. However, I lamented the fact that I was too old. Nonsense! I took responsibility for that belief. I am the age that I am and I bring lots of life experience to the brands, companies and organizations I work with. For them to believe in me, I must believe in me and make no apologies for my age.
Develop an Alternative Belief
You’ve identified the limiting beliefs. And you’ve taken responsibility for them. Now you are ready to shift them by creating alternative beliefs.
“The world is against me” becomes “The world works for me, for my growth.” “I must work hard for my money” becomes “I fund the perfect life for me and live in abundance.”
Flip the belief. Write them down. Practice believing them by living as if you do. Life shifts, in magical ways, when you shift.
Take each limiting belief on your list and create an alternative one. Adopt it as your belief and put action with it. “I can’t afford to travel” becomes “I can afford to travel” or “I go on adventures”. Plan a trip, even if it’s to the neighboring city. Go on an adventure. Feel all the emotions of that fun trip. And then watch for more opportunities to show up, for more adventures.
Real life experience
I longed to visit Scotland, since early childhood. My first attempt to travel to Scotland cancelled because of my dad’s declining health. And that cancellation almost killed the desire to go, ever. I believed I “wasn’t supposed to travel to Scotland”. How sad.
When the second invitation to visit that beautiful country arrived, I almost didn’t accept it because it showed up in an unexpected way. I realized I needed to shift some beliefs, and quickly! I embraced the alternative belief, “I am traveling to Scotland”. And, “I deserve to visit Scotland.” My father had passed away and my Scottish heritage comes from him. A part of me didn’t believe I deserved to go to Scotland, since he was gone.
Three trips to Scotland later, I’m so grateful that I changed a belief that limited me. And I look forward to more Scottish adventures.
Shift Self Talk
One way that we reveal our limiting beliefs is through self talk. Self talk tends to dwell on the negatives. We tell ourselves, “I can’t” “I’m not supposed to” “I must not.”. The more we tell ourselves something, the more we accept that it’s true.
Do you have a constant, negative narrative running in your mind?
Shifting self talk begins with noticing that inner dialogue. Jot down repeating words or phrases that you say to yourself. And then shift those, just as you did with the list of limiting beliefs.
Change “I am stupid for doing that” to “I just learned something important”. Shift “I am not good enough” to “I am perfectly created and growing into my best self”. It might feel strange, but practice saying positive words to yourself in a mirror. Look deeply into your eyes and talk about your gifts, your abilities, your charms…all the good things.
And when you catch a negative conversation starting within, stop it. Undo it. Take it back. And then shift it to the positive and say that instead. Develop affirmations and mantras to counter your most common statements to yourself.
Real life example
I have perfectionist tendencies and hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else does. So a failure can really start the negative self talk. I’ve learned to catch those conversations early and stop them. Sometimes I have to stop them over and over before I can shift them. I see failure as lessons in growth now. And by reminding myself of the lesson or lessons I’m learning, I can halt the inner dialogue that tells me I’m not good enough. Asking myself, “What am I learning here?” is usually enough to shift that negativity.
Deal with New Limiting Beliefs Immediately
Finally, deal with any new limiting beliefs that pop up. And how do you know if they are limiting? Because they stop you from growing, from moving forward, from learning new things, from life itself. That’s how you know a sly new belief has taken root.
A new limiting belief is much easier to deal with then one that is deeply entrenched from childhood. Recognizing the new belief, identifying it and its source and shifting it is minor compared with uncovering and changing long-held beliefs. You have the tools now to shift and go beyond.
There’s so much freedom in living with beliefs that truly reflect who you are, how the world is and in realizing that other people’s thoughts and opinions about us don’t matter.
Real life example
I suffered injuries in a major car accident in 1995. The pain in my back, legs, feet and sternum was intense and unrelenting. After years of physical therapy and specialists, and no relief from pain, doctors told me that my condition would worsen in 20 years and I’d eventually lose mobility.
I believed them, adopting their beliefs about me as my own. And guess what? Exactly 20 years later, my condition and health began declining, to the point where I needed a cane to walk and was looking at using a wheelchair. An upcoming trip to Italy with my grandson motivated me to shift my beliefs. And ask for divine guidance. Both led to new ways of thinking, believing and being. I recovered, at last, from my injuries and pain. And my second blog, Journey with Healthy Me, came into reality along with improved health and wellness.
Living Life Beyond the Edges
Living life beyond the edges…of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs…leads to a more expansive, adventurous life. And while adventures might include exploring a country, extreme sports and daring deeds they also encompass inner exploration, extreme creativity and doing good deeds. A life lived beyond the edges opens up new possibilities and opportunities because you are unhindered by fears, free from limiting beliefs and continually stepping over the edge of comfort zones.
Are you going beyond?
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