Self Limiting Beliefs And How We Overcome Them
2020 has certainly been a monumental challenge for us all but even in challenging times there are some people for which self-belief and confidence come easily with a personality that says ‘anything is possible’. That’s sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s being given a challenge and thinking “what do I need to learn to do this, to overcome this challenge”. At our core it’s the internal belief that we have the self-esteem to be who we want to be and achieve what we set out to, even in adversity. There are circumstances and situations which hold us back but do you ever look at yourself to consider what it is about YOU that’s holding you back, or if you’re limiting your achievements because of your self-belief?
We all hold beliefs some of which are grounded in fact and others which are grounded in emotion and life experience. They shape our world view and the view we have of ourselves. They’ve been a story we’ve been telling ourselves for years, unconsciously searching for the proof that the belief is true. We search for proof and the more we search the more proof we’re convinced we’ll find and the more certain we then feel of it’s truth. Taking time to reflect on those experiences and how they have shaped your belief system is important in understanding the influences on your self-belief and all the components which empower you and those which limit you.
When we have empowering beliefs, what we want to achieve can feel *almost* effortless, but when we hold on to self-limiting beliefs it can feel as though we’re fighting against the tide, being pummelled and bashed, desperately needing to find the strength to overcome and achieve.
Becoming aware of the self-limiting beliefs which hold you back and learning how to overcome them is an empowering process of personal and emotional growth. Can you imagine how you would feel and what you could achieve if you had self-beliefs which were nurturing, supportive and empowering?
What are the common self-limiting beliefs and how do you overcome them?
1: I Am Not Good Enough
This is probably the most prevalent self-limiting belief we can all attest to. It’s the one that seeps it’s way into the cracks of vulnerability, when we’re feeling least safe and secure. It makes itself at home and gets comfortable in becoming that doubting voice in your head that says “you’re not good enough”. It’s persistent so we start to believe it’s truth rather than the fact that we are good enough. We are always good enough.
In believing the ‘I’m not good enough’ voice we create patterns of behaviour which are designed to protect us, we keep ourselves in our safety/comfort zone. When we start to step out of our comfort zone, and stretch ourselves, the voice warns us of potential fear or threat and tells us we can’t or shouldn’t do it. We restrict or stop ourselves, we get in our own way. We miss out on opportunities, relationships and experiences that can help us flourish and thrive.
- Don’t ignore the voice – if your resist, it will persist.
- Acknowledge and negotiate with the voice.
- Talk back to it (it’s not crazy I promise). Let it know you’re okay, you don’t need it’s help and you’re going to give things a a go anyway.
- As you continue to try new things, your self belief will improve by practice.
- You will see how good enough your are, experience it, feel it.
2: I Will Be Judged
Fear of what other people will think or say about us is a common way of holding ourselves back. We’re afraid that people will judge us and see us as lacking in some way. It’s a fear that we can focus on too intently, but the more we focus on it the more we will find examples of people judging us.
What other people think or feel about you is not in your control, and more often than not they aren’t thinking anything about you at all. They’re more focused on what’s happening for them and how they’re thinking and feeling. When we’re feeling judged it is often a reflection of how we’re thinking and feeling about ourselves; how we are judging ourselves?
When you’re experiencing this fear of being judged, pause and take a moment to
- Question: What am I judging about myself right now?
- Remind yourself that you are showing up and trying
- Acknowledge: ‘I am good enough’
3: I’m Not As Good As Them
Ah here it is…….comparisonitis! The self-limiting belief based in comparing ourselves to others. In the years since the birth of social media, this one has become a pandemic in itself.
Where and what does comparisonitis get us? Nowhere, nothing, zero, zilch, not a thing. The only thing it does is cause us to freeze, it creates feelings of jealousy, it saps confidence and lack of self-consciousness. If we’re feeling these it is probably the case that this limiting belief is playing out subconsciously.
- Remind yourself of your unique qualities
- Remind yourself of your strengths and natural talents
- Remind yourself ‘ we are all different’
- Remind yourself ‘no one is perfect’ (doesn’t matter how filtered the pics and life are)
- Just because someone is doing things differently to you doesn’t mean you aren’t as good as them
- You’re unique and that’s a good thing.
4: I Have Failed
Telling ourselves we’ve failed is disempowering because it’s underlying belief is that we’re a failure. In listening to this belief we avoid anything which has the potential to make us feel this way in the future. That sense of failure can come from specific experiences in our lives and statements we have heard from others around us. They creep into our vulnerability too and tell us that we aren’t able to achieve what we want to achieve, filling us with doubt about ourselves, our self-worth, our value. To combat this limiting belief:
- Notice the things in your life you have succeeded in; remember that successes can be personal, professional, relationships.
- What are the strengths and qualities you have brought to that success
- When you haven’t achieved what you wanted to, ask yourself what you’ve learnt from the experience, how can you grow from it.
- Banish this statement from your vocabulary, change it to a personal affirmation ‘I am……….’
5: I am stupid
If you are saying this to yourself…….please stop.
Sometimes we say this to ourselves almost in jest but your unconscious mind is always listening. It has the capacity to remind you regularly of the statements you make of and to yourself. We tend to use this limiting belief when we’ve made a mistake almost as an automatic response and it can be linked to the limiting belief of feeling a failure. Here’s the thing though, if making a mistake means we’re idiots then we will never try to do anything for fear of making a mistake and feeling stupid. This just keeps you in your safety comfort zone and the feelings of low self-esteem and confidence.
However, it’s important to remember that in making mistakes, we have stepped out of our comfort zone and we have gained a learning and growth from the experience. Making mistakes are part of achieving empowerment, success for ourselves and emotional resilience. To begin overcoming this limiting belief
- Recognise that mistakes don’t mean you’re stupid
- Remember: Mistakes create a scaffolding of learning and growing: what have your learnt from the mistake and how can you grow from it.
- Remind yourself that for each mistake you make you are closer to a result.
- and most importantly making a mistake does not mean you are less worthy.
My Take Home Message
Identifying and acknowledging your self-limiting beliefs is the first step in taking back your own power. Self limitation keeps you stuck erodes your self-esteem, self-worth and self-acceptance.
True sustainable emotional empowerment is achieved from the inside out, by choosing to work on your own belief system and challenging the self limiting statements. It’s vital you weed out any beliefs that are limiting you in any way. This is the way to true empowerment, where you will open up your full self-awareness and acceptance and living your life with self-esteem and emotional resilience.
I’m Helen Ferguson and I’m an Emotional Empowerment Coach and Therapist for children, young people and adults. During my 21 year professional therapeutic career in mental health and emotional wellbeing, and harnessing my extensive specialist therapy skills, I have developed a mission and passion in empowering people to live their lives to the fullest; with courage, self esteem and true self empowerment.
Through my bespoke programs of online and direct support I empower adults to transform from feeling defined by their emotional distress to feeling emotionally liberated and living life with self-esteem, courage and emotional resilience. In working with children and young people I support them with emotional overwhelm, helping them to notice, understand and manage their emotions so that they can live their lives fully and with joy.
If you would like to learn more about how I can support you or your child/young person/family please have a browse though my website. I can also be contacted for a free call to discuss how I might be of support.
I also have a wonderful warm social learning community for womxn who are seeking to learn, build or develop on their emotional empowerment and emotional resilience www.facebook.com/groups/womensemotionalempowermenthub