“If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you.” - Louise Hay
Just like we can hang on to material things that have served their purpose and are of absolutely no use to us anymore, we can also hang on to beliefs about ourselves that are not serving us and are standing in our way of achieving our full potential.
We all have dreams and aspirations – that little voice inside our minds reminding us every now and then that “this is not all there is”, “there is more to you”, “there is more to your life”.
There might be very real practical obstacles that stand between us and our dreams, but in most cases, the reason why we never take the steps to make our dreams a reality, is because of our self-limiting beliefs.
It might be that you are very much aware of what your self-limiting beliefs are. If you struggle to identify it though, here is a little exercise to help with that:
Identifying your self-limiting beliefs
Imagine someone you admire and that had achieved a goal that you would love to achieve, but believe that you never will.
What are all the reasons you believe you will never achieve that goal?
What do you imagine did the person who achieved the goal believe about themselves?
How are you and that person different from each other? E.g. They are more confident than me, better at public speaking, more charismatic.
These differences often point to your limiting beliefs.
E.g. I’m not confident, I’m not good at public speaking, I’m not likeable.
EXERCISE TO HELP YOU LET GO OF A SELF-LIMITING BELIEF:
Now that you have identified some self-limiting beliefs, choose one of those beliefs and ask yourself:
How has this belief been serving me? How has it been useful?
E.g. Believing that I’m not good at public speaking has made me avoid speaking in front of an audience, keeping me safe from any possible criticism or rejection.
What are the costs of having that belief?
E.g. It’s holding me back in my career. It keeps me small.
How does the costs of this belief compare to the benefits?
Write down all the evidence that support that this belief is NOT true. (Try to find as many examples as you can of situations, interactions and experiences that contradict this belief about yourself.)
E.g. When I did that speech at my brother’s wedding, a number of people told me they really enjoyed it and that I was a good speaker.
When I did that presentation in front of my class back in varsity, the feedback from my lecturer and peers was really good.
Letting go of a self-limiting belief is not easy (just like it’s not easy to let go of that pair of expensive shoes at the back of your cupboard that you have never worn because they are just too uncomfortable!).
However, once you can see that it really is not serving you and that in fact, it’s not even completely true, it does makes letting go just a bit easier.