Want to know why identifying limiting beliefs is the first step to changing your whole attitude and outlook on life?
This post will outline how to start identifying limiting beliefs in 3 simple steps so you can take action to challenge them and re-write the story that’s keeping you feeling stuck, feeding your anxiety and isolation, or telling you that you’re not worthy.
I’ve talked in a couple of blog posts now (like this one, or this one!) about how our perceptions create our reality. This is true in terms of both our conscious thoughts and subconscious thoughts.
Thoughts that show up repeatedly and that steal a lot of our energy and focus become ingrained within us as beliefs – whether consciously or subconsciously.
You might not even recognise a belief as being a belief – as in, something that can be changed or proven wrong – because it just feels like the cold hard truth.
Whether it’s that you’re unlucky in love, you can’t make any friends, nobody likes you, you’re an unhappy person, you’re bad with money… all of these are simply stories based on past experiences and emotions.
They may well reflect an experience you have had in the past, even multiple experiences you’ve had in the past, but the pitfall is in projecting the past onto your future and making it a part of your identity.
This is symptomatic of a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset makes it really difficult to grow and challenge yourself because you mentally shut yourself off from trying things. It makes everything feel pointless, rather than an exciting opportunity.
The truth is, you will grow and evolve as a person for the rest of your life. Don’t be tricked into thinking that you will stay the same forever and have no potential to change.
With this in mind, you can begin to look at the kinds of stories you tell yourself about your life and your capabilities, and start to identify where you might be conflating beliefs with the objective, unchangeable truth.
1. Pick one or two areas of your life that you are most unhappy with
Write the category/categories down on a piece of paper. Let’s use the example of love/relationships.
2. For this category, write down beliefs you have and see which ones fall into a “fixed mindset”
For example: I always go for people who are wrong for me, I will never meet somebody who is right for me, I have too much baggage for a relationship
These are all examples of beliefs which limit the opportunity for growth by dissuading you from taking action and being open to new experiences. Therefore, they are limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are usually framed as objective facts and represent the problem as something that’s inherently wrong with you, rather than a product of your past experiences and emotions.
They tell a story that is ultimately disempowering you from adopting a mindset that will help you to achieve what you actually want. Limiting beliefs are not you – you are so much more than your limiting beliefs.
Another way to identify your limiting beliefs is to use the “fill in the blank” method, where you describe your situation out loud, for example “I’m not good enough for a relationship” and then add “because ____” after it, saying the first thing that immediately comes to your mind.
This will help you to figure out the limiting beliefs at the root of your disempowerment.
3. For each limiting belief, re-write an “unlimited” belief underneath it
Turn all of your limiting beliefs into “unlimited” beliefs – beliefs which are based on a growth mindset, the idea that you are always evolving and contain unlimited potential, and that make it possible and exciting for you to go out and pursue what you want.
For example, “I will never meet somebody who is right for me” becomes “there are countless wonderful people out there for me to get to know and explore our compatibility”.
Doesn’t that sound so much more exciting?
Re-writing the belief is a great starting point to identify the goal and begin to see what is possible. When working with clients, the next step in the process to overcoming limiting beliefs is to break down the specific limiting belief through a set of questions called Socratic questioning, where we begin to explore it in more depth.
This way, we can really begin to tackle the roots of the limiting belief and enable you to move on and find freedom.
Identifying limiting beliefs involves flexing your self-awareness muscles – getting really good at observing and understanding yourself in terms of your thought patterns, emotional responses, behaviours, etc.
This foundation of self-awareness is going to make it so much easier for you to start re-writing the stories that are holding you back and keeping you stuck in the same place.
It’s not easy to just simply change a belief that is deeply ingrained within you, but with the right tools and some practice, you have the power within you to change the game.
One really powerful way to re-write limiting beliefs is through working with a therapist or coach to start challenging them in a safe environment. The extra support can help you to feel able to try new things and take risks that you would ordinarily avoid.
Trying new things and seeing that it’s not as scary as you once thought, that the thought or fear of it was much more harmful than the thing itself, you can continue to challenge limiting beliefs and watch your life expand.
You will start to feel much freer and in control of your thoughts and beliefs, rather than the other way around.
If you’re ready to stop shrinking yourself down due to domineering limiting beliefs, and start seeing your incredible potential and believing that anything is possible, book in a Discovery call with me right here, and let’s work together to change the game for you.
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