Taking the Right Steps to Eliminate Limiting Beliefs

Each person has their own set of beliefs. Beliefs are so ingrained in each person to the extent that while some may make sense, others question where they came from and why they have them. Some beliefs are emotional, other are psychological, and some are held so highly in a person’s mental make-up that they are considered to be absolute no matter what.

People are not born with beliefs.  Rather, they acquire them all throughout their lives. Many beliefs are obtained in childhood and the adolescent period, through the different interactions people have with others – be it being scolded by adults or praised by peers. Thus, many beliefs that a person has are about relationships, as they are usually the ones with the most emotional impact both positive and negative.

Some researchers have theorized that some beliefs hold a person back from pursuing his dreams or desires.  They often serve no purpose other than to weigh people down with excess baggage. These are called limiting beliefs, and while a person may realize or become aware of them eventually, very few actually taking the steps to eliminate limiting beliefs. This is because some may consider these beliefs too ingrained to remove or all too familiar. Limiting beliefs may be considered a person’s comfort blanket or zone.  Stepping out of them or changing them completely could prove to be a challenge.

Some examples of limiting beliefs are:

  • “I don’t deserve to love or be loved”
  • “I’m not good enough”
  • “I’m not smart enough”
  • “Who would ever want to buy what I have to sell?”
  • I’m too old to do…
  • “I’m too young to do…”

Many guides have popped up all over the internet to help people change or remove their limiting beliefs. The guides make it seem easy, but a person needs to remember that a belief can be so ingrained that it could be hard to think of a counter-belief or discard it completely. Here are some steps to eliminate limiting beliefs:


Identify the Limiting Beliefs

The first step to change is accepting that a person must change. On a piece of paper, a person who wants to eliminate his limiting beliefs can write each one (or dispense the paper completely and do some mental reflection). This step is crucial because a person has to be brutally honest to himself about what he wants to change and what exactly his limiting beliefs are.

A good way of identifying limiting beliefs is to start with the phrase “I am afraid that I…” then completing it. A person’s fears, no matter how irrational, are usually the stem of many limiting beliefs. Once a person has identified his inner demons and is ready to accept that he must break free of them, he can move on to the next step.

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Challenge the Beliefs

Once the limiting beliefs have been identified or written down, the next thing a person must do is challenge them. This done by giving a counter-argument or counter-instance against the belief. For instance, a person’s belief could be “I am a terrible writer.” The counter-instance to this belief could be “But I was able to write a published article back then.” For each belief, a person must think of an instance where the belief was not completely true. It could be derived from a person’s own experiences or through the experiences of his friends, coworkers, or family members.

Taking the Right Steps to Eliminate Limiting Beliefs

When Had These Beliefs Held a Person Back?

This question is an important question to ask while taking the steps to eliminate limiting beliefs. This is because this question requires a person to look deep into one-self and remember all those times he wanted to do something or wanted something but was held back by his beliefs. Some supplementary questions that could accompany this one could be:

While asking himself these questions, a person can also dig deep into his past experiences to find the root of these limiting beliefs. Which specific memories helped propagate these beliefs and which were the most emotionally charged ones?

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Write New Beliefs and Repeat as Many Times as Necessary

Once a person has identified his limiting beliefs, written counter-instances, and found the roots of these beliefs, he should write out new beliefs that will empower him. For instance, his limiting belief could have been “I am a terrible writer.” After much reflection and introspection, his new belief could be “my writing isn’t the best, but with a lot of practice, I will become better.” Repeat this step as many times as necessary.

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