Power Up Daily

7 Questions to Disempower Your Limiting Beliefs

Do you know what limiting beliefs are and how they are impacting you? If you don’t, this post is meant to bring you more awareness of what limiting beliefs are, where they come from, how they create emotional discomfort and “limit” you from growth, success, abundance and joy .

Everyone has limiting beliefs that are unique to them. Limiting beliefs are one of the most powerful drivers that are driving your life without much of your awareness. They live in your subconscious and are believed to be facts by our brain. All our beliefs come from our conditioning and repeated reinforcement and serve to give us control, justification and more certainty especially in uncertain situations.

During the first seven years of our life, we soak up everything we hear. Our young brains are like a sponge. They store everything we observe and are believed to be absolute truths. During these years we develop our most powerful, and often times the most life-limiting beliefs that can stick with us for the rest of our lives if we are not aware of them. Some are buried deep into our unconscious and as a result, we are mostly unconscious about them!

Our mind requires a belief system to function. It is designed to take in all the stimuli and information coming at us, processes and stores it in our unconscious and stores it in our memory and belief system. It is how our mind helps us make sense of our world, how it keeps us safe and helps us survive. It is a repetitive pattern that our brain processes and keeps reinforcing on auto-pilot through repetitive thoughts. It validates through ongoing observations, and creates assumptions and justifications that continue contributing to the beliefs.

We are not born with beliefs. We develop our beliefs through conditioning. Most of our beliefs come from conventional ways of thinking. The catch to our conventional way of thinking is that it has mostly conditioned us to survive, not to thrive. In fact many of our beliefs hold us back from thriving because a thriving mindset conflicts with a survival mindset. A survival mindset keeps us in a state of false limitations, disguised fear and self-justified excuses. These factors create “limiting” beliefs which then create a self fulfilling prophecy that then unconsciously self sabotages people.

Some examples of limiting beliefs take the form of thoughts such as “I can’t do that because… “:

  • I’m too old
  • I’m too young
  • I’m not experienced enough
  • I don’t have the time
  • I don’t have the money
  • You have to have money to make money
  • I don’t have what is needed
  • What if … I fail or I get judged, or I can’t perform up to the task ….
  • I’ve tried it and it didn’t work
  • I don’t need more – I have enough
  • It’s too much work
  • I am really bad at ….
  • I am not skilled at …..
  • I don’t have the talent that other people doing this have
  • I’m not as smart as …
  • I don’t have what it takes
  • I am afraid what people will think …
  • If I do this, then …. ”

… and the list goes on depending on each person’s unique beliefs and what they’ve learned, observed and interpreted in their inner world. People use their limiting beliefs to justify their actions within themselves or in conversations.

I’m sure some of those statements sound familiar to all of us. So how do you become clearer on what your limiting beliefs are so you can challenge them?

The first thing to recognize is whenever you state something in the negative, be cognizant of it and challenge it. Limiting beliefs create our doubts, our biases and come from our underlying fears. They ironically help keep us comfortable and justify to us why it’s safer not to grow or change. Many times limiting beliefs create negative energy and conflict within oneself and with others. They also disconnect us from our power to create more with our potential.

If you want to identify your limiting beliefs, start by challenging your thinking patterns. Whenever you have a thought that you realize is not serving you, ask yourself some of these questions:

1. Is this thought or belief really valid?

Once you’re more aware of your thoughts and can start learning to identify your limiting beliefs, ask yourself some “why” questions until you run out of answers. Why do I believe this? Maybe this was drilled in you when you were young. Or is it something people around you said frequently?  Perhaps you experienced something that had an impact on you and created this belief. Maybe you were conditioned to think it by your parents, or at school or by your friends.

For every answer drill down and challenge it. Find out its source and determine if there is still truth for you in this belief? Remember, not to put too much weight in making your past experiences determine your future. Also ask yourself if you still want to reinforce it? Is this belief coming from others? One of our most limiting ways of thinking is allowing the opinions of others to weigh into beliefs. Don’t forget that most people hold limiting beliefs that they project on others.

2. How is this belief serving you?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is, if this belief is propoerly serving you? We can tell if a belief is serving us by the vision, energy and action it creates as a result. Is it giving you an inspriing way to look at at things? Is it giving you energy? Is it driving you to take action that helps you move forward and make progress? Whenever the answer is no to any of those questions, reevaluate it and determine how you can change it so it is empowering you and serving you in your growth.

3. How has this belief impacted your relationships, emotions, decisions, actions and results? 

It might not be obvious in the moment, but reflect on what you felt in the past when you got stuck or stopped pursuing something. What were your thoughts and feelings? Our thoughts and feelings all stem from our beliefs.

There is usually a pattern of thoughts and self-talk that happens that plays in the background in your mind. Pay attention to what your patterns are, become more mindful about them and acknowledge them as they surface. The only way you can disempower limiting beliefs is to mindfully bring them from your unconscious to your conscious and then challenge them so you can change them.

4. How important is it for you that this belief is so right?

Most beliefs are just that, beliefs, which we accept as facts. Beliefs and facts are two very different things. Snow is cold. We know that because we can feel it. There’s no debate to that fact. It can be measured. What you believe is subjective and just your opinion. If you look hard enough I’m sure you can find someone that thinks different or has overcome this belief.

When you are dead set on your beliefs, you will come to a dead end. When beliefs become unconscious assumptions, they drive results that may not be the desirable ones that will serve you best. Challenge the belief from a different perspective? Ask yourself, what if I’m wrong? How is this belief serving me? Is it going to help me with my relationship, my business, my health, my growth? How has it helped me so far? How has it not served me so far?

5. Are you willing to change this belief?

What happens if you challenge your belief? Let’s say you wake up one morning and you determine that you’re not going to let that belief control your decisions or behavior anymore. What do you think will happen?

Will you allow yourself to open up to the idea to look at it differently? In other words, what if you thought about something as possible, which didn’t think you can do before. Are you willing to see how that will open up your mind? What’s the worst possible thing that could happen if you challenge your belief? Do you know what the underlying fear is behind changing your belief?

Most of our fears boil down to failing, being rejected, being humiliated, being insignificant. But most of our fears are just fears. They are not real. Just as we create beliefs through “what if I fail” scenarios that are riddled with fears of things not working, we can similarly change our beliefs with “what if I succeed” scenarios that things can work. They’re both something we create in our mind. One powerful thing to remember is that we create twice. Once in our mind and then in form. So what we believe, we create. So if we believe we can’t, we won’t – but if we believe we can, we’ll find a way!

6. How are you continuing to contribute to your limiting belief?

What are you doing on a regular basis that’s contributing to your limiting belief? Are you reinforcing it by taking in stimuli that validate it? What are your “what if” scenarios related to the belief? Are you letting the opinions of others influence what you believe? Are you avoiding doing things that would eliminate the belief? Think of ways you might be continuing to contribute to your limiting beliefs, so you can become more aware of your thought patterns and think about ways you can replace those that are not serving you.

7. What benefit would you gain if you overcame this belief?

Think of what freedom you could gain if you reversed some of your limiting beliefs. Think of what it would mean if you thought differently? Would it eliminate negative feelings? Would it make you feel more courageous or more confident to do something you thought you couldn’t? Think of what impact it would have on your life and the lives of others if you were to overcome this belief? More success, health, joy and abundance are always just on the other side of a limiting belief. Make sure you aren’t keeping yourself from getting there.

Ask yourself these questions whenever you find yourself thinking “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t” or “I don’t know how ….” See how you can change that thought with what is possible rather than to what is not possible, Shift your mind to always think in opportunities and possibilities rather than in limitations. Shift your mind from what if it doesn’t work, to what if I can make it work….think in terms of what if I am more capable than I realize, or what if I could find a way.

To help you assess your own limiting beliefs, start by writing down some predominant thoughts that you have that are getting in the way of your growth, joy, relationships and success. Unconscious beliefs can be brought to the surface when we become more mindfully aware of our thoughts. Our thoughts come from our beliefs. Our thoughts are repetitive and can be reprogrammed. On a second piece of paper, write a list of new beliefs you want to think – and keep that list in front of you so you can keep reinforcing what you want. This is the first step to reprogramming your mind.

It is amazing how it all comes down to mindset. It’s never about whether or not we can do something. We can always do what we want if we open up our mind to empowering beliefs. When we reset our mindset to think in a thriving way rather than in survival way, unexpected things start to happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Open up your mind and heart to all opportunities and new doors will start to open up to infinite possibilities!