We all have limiting beliefs. But the question is, are we holding on to our limiting beliefs?
The potential of every human being is practically limitless. It’s only the realization and believe in your potential is important. Normally 5% increase in your existing potential can double the present capability.
“The only limits you have are the limits you believe”, Wayen Dyer
What really are limiting beliefs and how are they formed?
Limiting beliefs are thoughts, opinions that one believes to be the absolute truth. They tend to have a negative impact on one’s life by stopping them from moving forward and growing on a personal and professional level.
Beliefs like- I am too young, I am too old, I am too weak, I am not qualified, I cannot change, I have a weak personality, I hate this, I like it so much that I can’t leave it, I know everything, I do not enjoy good health, I am unlucky, I am poor, I have no support and every other thoughts like that are limiting thoughts.
Most of the self-limiting beliefs are created in our childhood and through our journey of life. They become part of our life and we are driven by them.
There are moments in life when something happens. We make up a story about the why and the what. We start to live as if our story were true. Because we believe they’re keeping us safe. The truth is, these stories are stopping you from getting the big results you’re looking for.
Let me tell you about an experiment conducted by scientists –
During a research experiment a marine biologist placed a shark into a large holding tank and then released several small bait fish into the tank.
As you would expect, the shark quickly swam around the tank, attacked and ate the smaller fish.
The marine biologist then inserted a strong piece of clear fiberglass into the tank, creating two separate partitions. She then put the shark on one side of the fiberglass and a new set of bait fish on the other.
Again, the shark quickly attacked. This time, however, the shark slammed into the fiberglass divider and bounced off. Undeterred, the shark kept repeating this behaviour every few minutes to no avail.
Meanwhile, the bait fish swam around unharmed in the second partition. Eventually, about an hour into the experiment, the shark gave up.
This experiment was repeated several dozen times over the next few weeks.
Each time, the shark got less aggressive and made fewer attempts to attack the bait fish, until eventually the shark got tired of hitting the fiberglass divider and simply stopped attacking altogether.
The marine biologist then removed the fiberglass divider, but the shark didn’t attack. The shark was trained to believe a barrier existed between it and the bait fish, so the bait fish swam wherever they wished, free from harm.
Like the shark in the experiment, we believe that because we were unsuccessful in the past, we will always be unsuccessful.
In other words, we continue to see a barrier in our heads, even when no ‘real’ barrier exists between where we are and where we want to go.
May be someone told you repeatedly as a kid that you are not good enough in your studies. May be your environment taught you that money is evil or it’s too hard to be rich.
It may also happen when something traumatic happens, the feelings from that moment can remain stuck in your psyche.
Your family and social belief system play an important role in forming your belief system and many of them may be limiting.
If you have been cheated or betrayed by someone, then you form an idea from that and that goes in your belief system and becomes your measuring standard for relationships.
The reality is, all such beliefs are only stories that you cook up in your thoughts by attaching made-up meanings of events and, they cost you a fortune.
What happens when you hold on to limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs don’t allow you to grow. With such thoughts you will never be able to use your potentials to its best.
Let me narrate an interesting story –
Once a psychology professor walked around on stage while teaching to an auditorium filled with students. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full”, question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”
Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds.
She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”
As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your limiting beliefs and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Hold them for a while and nothing happens. Hold them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Carry them with you for too long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”
We know that everyone has limiting beliefs. The question is how long we hold on to them? More we hold on to them, more incapable they will make us.
What can we learn from nature?
If you look around nature you will observe a lot of inequalities everywhere. There are big and small animals, strong and weak animals.
Somewhere there is abundance of water and then there are deserts, there are extreme cold and extreme hot zones.
So, you see imbalance everywhere.
But when you go into depth, then you realize that the imbalance is the basic cause of balance in the nature.
So a narrow outlook will see imbalance in the nature everywhere, whereas a broader outlook will prove that the imbalance is for creating balance. If everything was same, the nature would not have existed.
Your life is also like that. The good and bad, success and failure, happiness and sadness, ups and downs, all such imbalances are to have balance in life.
Human beings have been thriving since ages to understand and solve the mysteries of nature and today we know many things but a huge part is still a mystery.
However, we accept the nature even without fully understanding it and believe that it is unique and full of abundance. It’s controlled by a higher power.
The inequality is not a limiting factor but each has a unique quality and unique role to play. Each of them are important.
In this reference, some of the big lesson we can learn from the nature –
- Everything has a purpose
- Nature teaches us that strength lies within us
- Nature follows a process
- Nature is an endless source of inspiration
- Nature doesn’t hurry but everything is accomplished
- Nature has ability to heal itself after a storm
- Trust in yourself
- Believe in the power of nature
- Change is essential
We human beings are unique and different from all creatures because of our brain and our brain has capacity beyond our imagination.
You should believe and accept the tremendous capability of your brain and realize that the only limitation that can be the hurdle in your path to growth, is your limiting thoughts.
You see around you people with many inequalities. Rich and poor, tall and short, strong and weak, intelligent and not so intelligent and so on.
These inequalities, if seen with narrow outlook will make you feel that not everyone is equal.
Whereas the reality is, each one has huge capability but some make it big and others are average or below average.
We are all gifted with unique brain with huge potential.
The difference is not because of physical limitations or brain power but what limits us from making it big, is our limiting beliefs.
We should learn from the nature and trust that it has given us brain with limitless capabilities and each one of us has unique role to play and make best use of our brain.
To make best use of our brain, we must overcome our limiting beliefs.
How to overcome limiting beliefs?
Well, the change in thought process can’t be done overnight. Your existing thought will have a dominant influence on you and you yourself will have to fight with yourself to change yourself.
Just think and feel how powerful you are. This is very crucial. Once you have realized it, you become unstoppable. Nothing can stop you from success.
The important fact is that these are your own thoughts and they are in your procession. You are your own master. It is only your willingness to accept your limiting beliefs and change it.
The successful people have realization of their power within and we are all blessed with this power.
Following steps will help you to overcome your limiting beliefs –
- Pick an area you want to clear limiting beliefs – It can be from any one area from wealth, health, relationship or spirituality. Select one that you feel is critical to you.
- List out limiting beliefs you have in that area – write down all your negative beliefs. Say for example money, some of the common points are –
- Money is the cause of all evils
- Money does not grow on trees
- Rich people are bad people
- It’s hard to earn money
- I don’t care about money
- If I have a lot of money, will loose my loved ones
- Money can’t make me happy
- Money makes you selfish
The above are just indicative pointers. Ponder on your own thoughts and write them down.
3. Thank these beliefs – This may sound counterproductive but these thoughts have been your companion for a long time and were created in response to something that happened to you.
It must have served some purpose at a point of time or had some relevance but now it’s going against you.
Thank that belief for serving your purpose at some point of time but now you need to change that perception to move forward.
Thus you are not be fighting with that belief but are moving forward for better. So there will be least conflict.
4. Forgive yourself and others – The recognition of limiting belief can cause guilt and anger and it’s essential to get rid of them.
The best way to get rid is to forgive. Forgive yourself and also others.
Forgive yourself for letting them in your life and carrying them so long and forgive others for being the cause of them.
Without forgiveness, your thoughts will hold on to the guilt and anger towards these beliefs and will work as a force to pull down and not allow to move forward.
5. Give yourself permission to move forward – Now that you have recognized these limiting beliefs and forgiven yourself and others, permit yourself to do what’s right for you in the present context.
You know that you have great potential and something that was holding you so far has been removed, your path forward is clear for growth.
The above five step process can be of great help to overcome Limiting beliefs. You can repeat this process for any area where you have limiting beliefs.
When you follow the steps sincerely and with believe in yourself, you will feel much lighter and will build confident.
Please remember that changing old beliefs need practice and repetition. Be persistent till it becomes natural to you.
Be aware of the fact, you are the master of yourself and can command your life. You have no limit. Do not let limiting beliefs stop you ever. You can get more clarity with a better understanding of Growth Mindset.
It is your belief in yourself that can free you from all the saddles of limiting beliefs and set you free to fly high.