I’m sure you’ve heard about limiting beliefs somewhere by now, but what are they, and how do you know if you have them? And most importantly, what can you do about it if they are affecting you? Read on to find out and start taking action today to clear any limiting beliefs that you might have lurking around!
Well, think of it like this. Your subconscious mind is like an operating system running along in the background, and it’s the system that all the other programs run off of. So things like the work that you do, the partners that you choose, the friends you have, the bank balance you have, all of these are the ‘programs’ that are running off the operating system that is your subconscious mind.
So when we think about limiting beliefs, a great analogy is to think of the operating system, your subconscious mind, as being, well, a little behind the times. Like it hasn’t been updated in a while. Oftentimes in a very long while. In fact your subconscious mind carries with it beliefs that were formed in childhood, and this is what’s driving the choices we make – subconsciously – as adults.
So what does that mean? It means it’s like trying to use a brand new Mac with the operating system of a Commodore 64, that’s what! Or from the era when floppy discs were actually floppy. Or even from the days when you could have the phone or the internet, but not both! (If you’re not that old, don’t worry, because you’ve probably still outgrown whatever belief system was in operation when you were little too).
So as adults we grow and change our views on the world, but our deep hardwiring, our programming, is still there from when we were just little children. Which may or may not be helpful to us in our adult lives, depending on the upbringing we had and the circumstances of our early life experience.
So how do you know if you have limiting beliefs? Well, take a good honest look at your world, and identify areas where you want more than what you have right now, but have not yet been able to achieve it. Anywhere you feel that there’s an ‘upper limit’ to what you can have, or even when you don’t allow yourself to imagine what you really want because you don’t believe it’s possible for you.
Here’s a few examples:
You want more money in your bank account but can never get ahead financially, no matter how much you work or how much you earn.
You deeply desire your own business but can never get started, or you have your own business but can’t seem to make the money you want from it.
You crave independence but always find yourself situations which limit or block your sense of independence.
You base your decisions on what other people will think of you/your decisions.
Your ‘dream’ life is considerably different from the life you’re living, and it has been for a long time, and nothing ever changes.
At it’s core, a limiting belief is any belief, held in your subconscious mind, that places an upper limit on what you can be, or do, or have. So if you’re feeling like you want to be more, do more, have more than what you have, and you’ve never been able to break through a seeming invisible barrier holding you back, there’s a strong case for limiting beliefs being at play.
Okay so now what? The great news is that you can clear limiting beliefs! Here’s an exercise that can help you get started right now.
Step 1: take a blank sheet of paper and a pen, and set the timer on your phone for 15 minutes. Then write everything that comes to mind, that was a negative experience or belief for you as a child, that you received from your mother. Keep writing anything and everything that comes to mind, no matter how small or seemingly irrelevant it is. No thinking here, just free writing and only stop when the timer goes off.
Step 2: repeat the process on another sheet of paper, but this time writing down any negative experiences or beliefs that you received from your father. Again, no censoring, just free write no matter how strange or unrelated it may seem. (If your mother and father were not the most influential people in your early life, substitute them with whoever was most influential).
Step 3: in steps 1 and 2 you’ve most likely uncovered some of your core limiting beliefs, maybe even some things that you didn’t realise were impacting on your life now. So what you want to focus on is flipping each of these negative beliefs or experiences, into a positive belief or experience that you would like to have now. So take a fresh sheet of paper, and write down the opposite of each item you listed for each of your parents – something that would be helpful and powerful for you right now.
Step 4: this is the easiest part – destroy the paper that you used to write your answers for steps 1 and 2. Burn it (safely), shred it, tear it up, whatever you like, but make sure you destroy it, as this is a powerful way of affirming that this is no longer true for you.
Step 5: optional (well not really, not if you want to create lasting change in your life) – read aloud your list of positive beliefs every day and imagine them as being real for you right now. This is a very simple, but super powerful way of changing your life experience. Don’t worry if it takes time to see changes from this – when doing work like this there is always a new momentum that has to build for the new beliefs to bed in and become accepted, and start to work for you in your life.
Remember this – what your subconscious mind believes to be true, is what you will create for yourself over and over again in your life. You can feed your subconscious mind anything you like and after enough repetition, it will believe it. So feed your subconscious mind the things you want to experience, and starve it of anything you don’t want!