Breaking Free From Your Limiting Beliefs
Beliefs are powerful – they are able to harness an elephant! That’s remarkable in light of the fact that an adult elephant weighs between 2.5 and 7 tons!
If beliefs are able to limit an elephant, imagine how they are limiting you.
Elephants have been delighting circus audiences for over a century! You might be surprised by the process they undergo in preparation to perform. As babies, elephants are taught to have respect for their trainers through a system of rewards when they obey and pain when they don’t.
When an elephant is a year old, it is chained to a heavy stake in the ground that sufficiently holds them in place. While chained, the elephant is washed and examined. Over time, the elephant grows strong enough to break free from the stake, but doesn’t bother trying because it has been conditioned to believe that when chained to the stake, they are not free.
Just like the elephant, you are conditioned by your experiences, many of them formed early in life. Those beliefs linger into adulthood, limiting you in significant ways and preventing you from reaching your full potential. In fact, your Fear Monster came to be as a result of your childhood experiences. Ignored, your Fear Monster will keep you tethered and unable to walk in all God created you to be.
Not Yet Reached Your Full Potential?
If you’ve struggled to tap into your full potential, get the results you’re after, or experience true freedom, there just might be some limiting beliefs at work in your life!
Limiting beliefs are beliefs you have about yourself. That’s why they typically start with “I”. Beliefs like I…
- Lack experience – I am just a “_____”
- Don’t have anything to offer
- Have to do it all
- Must be in control – I am the leader
- Am a slow learner, poor reader, bad with people, etc.
- Need to avoid conflict – it’s bad
- Don’t have needs – or the needs of others are more important
- Am too old, too young, too fat, too out of shape, etc.
- Don’t have what it takes to do my job (get a promotion, lead, etc.)
- Am a failure
- Could never do that
- Am not an expert
- Lack confidence, money, knowledge, etc.
- Am not smart when it comes to “X“
- Doubt people will like me
- Don’t have what it takes to be successful
Perhaps you spotted your own limiting beliefs in the list above. Maybe yours is a variation of one mentioned or something else altogether. There are many!
Moving forward in life or work means overcoming your limiting beliefs. Ready to escape them and be free?
1. Identify The Belief
Limiting beliefs feel comfortable and familiar. They feel like truth! Challenging them feels like saying goodbye to a well-worn security blanket. After all, your limiting belief has provided you with the excuse you’ve needed to not take action and move forward. It might feel risky to put your belief into words, but it is the first step towards freedom.
Struggling to pinpoint your limiting beliefs? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What do you complain or worry about?
- What makes you anxious?
- Where do you tend to criticize?
- What do you repeatedly tell yourself?
- Where are you dissatisfied in your life or work?
- What words do you replay over and over in your head?
- Where are you not getting the results you desire?
Answering these questions will bring your limiting beliefs to the surface.
Two things to be on the lookout for when identifying your limiting beliefs:
1) Big generalizations, such as everything I do turns out badly
2) Blaming others for your beliefs. No matter how much others have contributed to the conditioning process, you still get to choose whether or not to believe it.
Your beliefs are so much a part of you, that it can be tricky to spot them yourself. If you are serious about doing what it takes to escape your limiting beliefs, working with a coach is for you!
2. Challenge Your Beliefs
Once you know what your limiting beliefs are, then you can challenge them.
Let’s say you were told over and over again that you would never amount to anything. Over time you believed those words. The lingering limiting belief: “I am a failure.”
There are several ways you could go about challenging this belief. First, you could list where you have been successful so far – things like…
- Finishing high school
- Graduating from college
- Paying your bills
Write down all the evidence you can come up with, big or small, that would disprove that belief. If you are successful at something, then you can’t be a failure!
Another approach is to define success, the opposite of failure. For you, is success having a million dollars and a luxurious car? Or is success doing your best, obeying God, or just authentically being you? What is your definition of success?
What successes have they observed in your life? Ask God to show you where He sees you as successful. You may even wish to seek the insight of trusted friends.
3. Own Your New Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are lies. In order to move forward, you must embrace the truth. When you are able to change your thinking deep down – that’s when you are free! The stake no longer holds you hostage. How you view and perceive life drastically changes. Opportunities will come your way that you never dreamed possible.
This isn’t easy. It takes intentional effort. It requires dwelling on the truth – a phrase, a scripture, or a visual image that’s a reminder of the truth. You will need God’s help. Seek out the help of a others who can support and encourage you along the way- a trusted friend, family member, or a coach.
4. Be Patient
Beliefs are stubborn. You’ve had them for a long time – they may not disappear overnight. It takes practice (taking consistent action) and allowing God to transform your heart.
Celebrate even the small steps in the right direction. Notice the ways you are stepping outside your comfort zone and operating more out of truth. When you slip back into the old beliefs, be kind to yourself. Acknowledge it; ask God to help you and keep pressing forward. Don’t let it keep you stuck. As you become more comfortable with change and find yourself becoming more able to adapt, your self-worth and confidence will soar. That’s exciting!
Don’t fall into the trap of being chained by your limiting beliefs. Have you allowed a past failure, funky feeling, or the negative words – your own words or someone else’s – keep you from freedom?
Moving forward is new – unknown – a road you have not yet traveled. The journey on that road will be an adventure. It requires that you cling to the truth. When tethered to the truth, you will feel more secure and capable of facing the unknown. And taking action is easier.
Be aware: when you feel uneasy, afraid, or uncomfortable, your limiting beliefs might be creeping back. Don’t feel bad if you need to walk through the four steps again. Be willing to do what it takes to break free from your stake! There’s so much more for you!
How are your beliefs limiting you?