The worse thing about limiting beliefs is the way we treat ourselves because of them. Life wouldn’t be that rewarding if we didn’t have a drop of hesitation. So as long as you know how to deflect your negative thoughts and limiting beliefs you’re in the clear. However, it does sound easier than it actually is.
One of the greatest books you can find out there about limiting beliefs is Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, where a plastic surgeon talks about his experience with people that go to him to be fixed, but aren’t actually satisfied even after they get what they want.The author goes to explain that the same way you can have a facelift you can have a “mind lift” as well. When it comes to limiting beliefs we never stop to question the thoughts and beliefs we have, which ultimately is our biggest mistake. If someone was to stop you on the street and tell you, you were stupid, would you accept that instantaneously or would you question him first? That’s what I thought.
The author goes to explain that the same way you can have a facelift you can have a “mind lift” as well. When it comes to limiting beliefs we never stop and try to question the thoughts and beliefs we have, which ultimately is our biggest mistake. If someone was to stop you on the street and tell you, you were stupid, would you accept that instantaneously or would you question him first? That’s what I thought.
Let’s go through some of the most common limiting beliefs and how you could crush them with just a few minutes a day:
I’m not likable
Every time we meet somebody new we do our best to give the best first expression possible. But like it or not, not all of the people we meet will be compatible with us and frankly, we can’t do anything about it. Now let’s leave that aside and think about how we got to that conclusion.
Most of the time the false beliefs that we have date back to our early childhood. Be it that somebody got mad at us and told us that nobody like us or maybe your mother tried to protect you from being hurt by the bad kids by telling you they don’t like you. The most important thing is to dig deep down to the root of the problem and reevaluate it. Why could they have told you that? Could you have just overreacted?
Observe how people act around you when they first meet you and see for yourself if they truly change their behavior. You must be aware, however, that if you keep thinking that nobody likes you and you don’t deserve to be liked people will feel that. The more doubts you have about yourself the less positive references you will receive from people.
I’m too short/tall/fat/skinny….
This is something that kept me personally from opening to a lot of people, mainly women. I’m not extremely short I could say that I’m a regular guy 5’6, but even though I’ve always known that it took me a lot of time to get rid of that limitation. When I was in middle school I was one of the shortest boys so I always used to get picked on for being short.
Outside of school, however, nobody seemed to be bothered by my height. I was able to make friends who liked and respected me, girls still found me fun and attractive and some of them even became my girlfriends. And even when girls weren’t into me they never used my height as an excuse. So how could I linger onto that thought all this time when all the facts said otherwise.
Again, if you stop and think for a moment, there is no logic behind the belief, there is no proof to back it up just the memories from school that can’t be considered anything else but just kids being jerks to each other.
This is not for me
One of the worst things you can do is discourage yourself before even taking action. How many times have you heard people go “Oh, that’s not for me. It’s too….” or maybe you yourself have done it? The thought that just that something is too “hard” or “takes too long” is not something we should even engage in is the best growth stopper. If you don’t try it how would you know that it’s hard and not your thing?
This limiting belief is implanted by family members or friends who reflect their limitations on us. They believe that since something is hard for them it automatically becomes impossible for you as well. Some might say that they do it to protect their loved ones, but it’s just so that they don’t get hurt themselves again.
So, since we went through some of the most common limiting beliefs, now it’s finally time to learn how to get rid of them.
The easiest and the most basic one is the one we already went through in the examples above. You can’t simply accept everything you are told, you must question the validity of the information.
Do this when you’re confronted by a limiting belief. Go through the thought a few times and check for proof that that is true. Compare how many times that actually was your fault and not just an exaggeration.
Do a comparison
When you have some free time on your hands try taking out a sheet of paper and writing down all of your limiting beliefs. On one side of the paper write your limiting beliefs and then on the other side write down the statements opposing those beliefs. For example, if you think that you’re a bad writer the fact against it would be that a lot of friends and people liked your last article. Once you’re done with your list take a look at it each day and go through the facts briefly.
For example, if you think that you’re a bad writer the fact against it would be that a lot of friends and people liked your last article. Once you’re done with your list take a look at it each day and go through the facts briefly.
Re-wire your mind
I learned about the last exercise quite recently, but it quickly became my favorite one. In this exercise, there’s a lot more visualization and meditation involved. In this exercise, you can again write down the false beliefs you have and then the statements opposing those beliefs, just that there is a small innovation this time. In this last exercise, you can write down your false beliefs, be it “I’m not likable” or “I’m short/fat/skinny…etc.”.Lay down on your bed and close your eyes. Then start visualizing the belief that you have and imagine it slowly moving away from you. Keep imagining it moving away until it’s barely visible in the distance.
Once you’re done with that you can open your eyes and go back to the list with the beliefs. Now write down the statements opposing those beliefs and lay down again. Imagine now living with those statements. Imagine how you’re at a party and you’re the life and soul of that party. You engage in conversations with people with ease and everything is going just amazing. Make the image more vivid until you start questioning if that a real memory or really just a figment of your imagination.
Just like every other skill, we acquire throughout our lives, thinking positively takes time and practice. It is not as exhausting as weight lifting, but it should be taken just as seriously. We have only that many years on this planet and wasting that time hindering us and keeping us from being the best version of ourselves would be a shame.