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How to Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs

Most of us have self-limiting beliefs that hold us back. Perhaps you think you’re not good enough to get the job promotion or advance your career, or maybe you don’t feel like you can ask someone out because they might say no. If this sounds familiar, let’s talk about how to overcome self-limiting beliefs and get ahead.

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We all have self-limiting beliefs. Our thoughts about ourselves tell us that we can’t do something or that we shouldn’t even try to achieve something. These self-limiting beliefs can hold you back from achieving your goals and dreams.

Self-limiting beliefs are usually based on our past experiences throughout the different areas of our lives. They are often limiting because they come from negative thoughts that we have had in the past, or from negative comments someone has made to or about us.

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These thoughts are usually not true, but we believe them and let them shape our future actions. A self-limiting belief can be anything from “I’m not good enough to succeed” to “I’m not worthy of success” and anything in between.

However, no matter what it is, you can change it.

How to overcome self-limiting beliefs - African American woman raising her arms in triumph

How to Change Limiting Beliefs

Because of the way limiting beliefs can negatively impact your life, it is essential to learn how to change them. If you have self-limiting beliefs that are preventing you from achieving your goals or dreams, you will need to do a few things. Here are top tips to overcome self-limiting beliefs:

Become Aware 

During the day, pause and pay attention to your thoughts. Become conscious of the beliefs surrounding you as you work toward your goals. Pay attention to both positive and negative thoughts and beliefs. Write your thoughts down so you can refer to them later and explore their meaning.

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Acknowledge the Belief

Before you can overcome and change self-limiting beliefs, you have to acknowledge their existence. Approach self-limiting beliefs with kindness (not judgment) and follow up with gentle questions.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What do you believe about this situation?
  • What evidence do you have to support this thought?
  • How do you feel when you think about this thought?

Then follow up with:

  • What might be a different way to look at this situation?
  • What other evidence is there?
  • How would you feel if you thought a different thought?

Self-limiting beliefs often come from a place of fear or shame, and it’s important to acknowledge that before trying to change your perspective.

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It can be helpful to journal to get to the root of your beliefs. Writing about your deepest thoughts and feelings can help you uncover the origin of limiting or negative thoughts about yourself.

By exploring the cause of these thoughts, you can discover healthier ways of thinking. When you use the power of writing to uncover your deepest thoughts, you can find the root cause of your limiting beliefs. You can use this awareness to rewrite your story and rewrite your self-image.

Reframe the Belief 

Self-limiting beliefs don’t have to keep you stuck. You can counter them with positive affirmations that help you move toward your goals.

For example, your self-limiting belief might be that you can’t earn above a certain amount. Challenge this belief with affirmations like, “My earning potential is only limited by my choices. I do good work and deserve to be well compensated for it.”

Challenge the Beliefs

Challenging your limiting beliefs is an essential part of overcoming them. You can do this by actively seeking out new information that contradicts your existing beliefs.

You can also try to view situations from a different perspective or try to view your situation through the lens of a person who has a different belief system than you. By doing this, you can start to see your current situation from a new perspective, and you can begin to understand where your beliefs come from. Once you do this, you can start challenging your limiting beliefs and begin to change them.

An easy test for most of us is to think about how we would respond if our best friend or our child made that same statement about themselves. We would rush to defend them and reassure them that they aren’t “stupid,” “lazy,” or “incapable.” If it would bother you to hear a loved one say it, you shouldn’t say it to yourself.

Another way to challenge your limiting beliefs is to make a list of the evidence against them. If you think you’re not good enough to get the promotion, for example, write down all the reasons why you are. In this instance, you may have more experience than your colleagues, or you may have performed better in the past. By writing down the evidence, you’re challenging the belief that you’re not good enough.

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Replace them with healthier beliefs 

After challenging your limiting beliefs, you can work on replacing them with healthier beliefs. If you’re not good enough to get a promotion, you can replace that belief with the idea that you’re capable and deserve a promotion.

Make a list of all the beliefs you want to replace your limiting beliefs with, and then go through them one by one finding new thoughts to replace them with. You can also do this by going through your day, finding negative thoughts, and replacing them with positive ones.

It’s easier to reprogram your mind when you are actively trying to do it. Go through your day and try to find your negative thoughts about yourself, other people, and your life. Once you find these, replace them with positive thoughts.

When you do this often enough, it becomes a habit and a new way of thinking. Eventually, you will find that you no longer have these negative thoughts. You will have replaced them with positive ones.

Give yourself new challenges 

Another great way to overcome self-limiting beliefs is to set new challenges for yourself. For example, if you don’t feel like you’re good enough to get the promotion we discussed, challenge yourself to do something that shows you’re capable.

Perhaps you could volunteer for a new project at work, or you could ask for more responsibility. You could also challenge yourself to meet new people, do more in your free time, or learn something new.

The key to getting ahead in life is overcoming your limiting beliefs. The first step is to identify what they are, challenge them, and replace them with healthier beliefs.

Ultimately, you’re in control.

You can create a life you love when you challenge your self-limiting beliefs. You can change your life by changing your thoughts. You have the power to turn your self-limiting beliefs into empowering ones by stepping outside of your comfort zone.

You’ll grow as a person, become more confident, and start living the life you’ve always wanted.

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