Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs

What do you think about most? Are your thoughts focused towards fears, worries, or concerns? Are your thoughts about your future shaped by your experiences of the past; thinking what will happen, because of what has happened? Or do you think about what’s possible; about the positive experiences you want to create in your life; about being the best you, you can be? A lot has been written about the role our thoughts and beliefs play in the shaping of our lives. It’s something we need to pay attention to.

Our beliefs can be a source of empowerment or they can be the greatest detriment to our happiness. I’ve encountered quite a few people whose beliefs are the primary detriment to what they aspire to in life. I can identify with many of them as overcoming limited beliefs was something I wrestled with myself, until I learned that we can change them.

At the heart, what determines our experience of life, are our underlying beliefs. Dave Gray, author of Liminal Thinking notes “beliefs are often the main things standing in the way of change, not only for individuals, but also for teams, families, organizations, nations, and even the world as a whole.”

The Book of Mark notes Jesus as saying: “Have faith in God.   For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  The importance our beliefs play in the quality of our lives has been established for quite some time. How are our beliefs formed? By our thinking. We think them.

To create change in my own life, which includes overcoming drug addiction, I had to work on discovering and changing my underlying beliefs. There are three key lessons I’ve learned in overcoming self-limiting beliefs in my life. I hope this helps.

  1. Realizing that our beliefs are not facts; They can be changed.

Our beliefs are mental constructs that we create in response to the experiences we have in life. They are shaped by a variety of factors including family, culture, and social interactions.  We allow these constructs to shape our opinions of ourselves, the world, and others; and we develop a set of habitual behaviors based on these beliefs. Our behaviors create results that reinforce our beliefs thereby making them stronger. When our belief constructs are negative, we unconsciously sabotage ourselves with self-limiting, self-destructive behaviors that hinder our personal growth.

Until we realize that our beliefs are not facts but merely constructs of our own minds the chances of making positive change are severely limited. When we realize that we created our underlying beliefs, they are not facts, and that we can change them, we can begin the process of constructing a new belief system, and creating the type of life we desire. This is not about, nor against, being rich and famous; it’s about living a life rich with meaning and value. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin, and valuing yourself as well as others.

  1. Trusting that we can create the life we desire.

This was the critical adjustment I had to make in reconstructing my belief system. Ironically, until you accept that it’s possible to change your life you’ll never make the effort to do so. If allowed, self-doubt will discourage any attempt you make. You’ll believe change is possible for others but not for you. You’ll compare yourself to others and constantly come up short. This results from a false belief that others have it all together, and that you are somehow inherently flawed and will never measure up.

Once we recognize that we’ve been operating from a set of false self-limiting beliefs, we can begin the process of challenging those assumptions and creating new sets of empowering beliefs. One of the ways I began challenging false assumptions was by reflecting on my life and writing a list of anything I considered a past success no matter how small, they all counted.

If you take your time, and thoroughly look back over your life, you’ll find that there were accomplishments; there were successes. This gives you a framework to build from. This exercise began the revamping process in creating new beliefs and building self-confidence. Referring to the list and using it to create positive affirmations rewires your thinking. It helps you to see that there have been achievements in life, and rather than disregarding or discounting them, you use them as platform to recondition your thinking. To change our life, is to change our thinking.

  1. Understand the process takes time, and continuous practice.

Changing belief systems is not something that happens overnight. It took time and experiences for them to settle into our psyche, it will take time to transform them. You’ll face situations where you’ll fall back into old habits and patterns, however, with conscious effort, you can break through. It requires courage to face limiting beliefs that we thought were real, challenge them, behave differently, and create new realities. With determination and persistence, it can be done.

A life full of meaning, value, and joy is possible. It’s up to each us to make it happen. Go for it. Namaste.