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Neurodivergence and Self-Limiting Beliefs

‍Self-limiting beliefs are often deeply ingrained in our minds, formed through past experiences, societal conditioning, and comparisons to others. There tends to be a huge overlap between neurodivergence and self-limiting beliefs.

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Often, the comparisons to others happen more with neurodivergent people. They (or those around them) routinely compare themselves to their neurotypical peers.

When we hold onto self-limiting beliefs, we inadvertently place restrictions on ourselves. We convince ourselves that we’re not capable of achieving certain goals or that we’re undeserving of success. These beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, as we subconsciously sabotage our own efforts and hinder our progress.

Self-limiting beliefs have a powerful impact on our lives. They prevent us from taking risks, hinder our decision-making abilities, and limit our ability to adapt and learn.

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Neurodivergence and self-limiting beliefs - African American woman with a worried look on her face

Exploring neurodivergence

Neurodivergence refers to the natural variations in how our brains function and process information. It encompasses a wide range of neurological differences, including conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and many others. Neurodivergent people often possess unique strengths and abilities that differ from the neurotypical population.

We all know that neurodiversity is usually seen as a disadvantage. I mean, how can you not take it that way when the word “disorder” is so prevalent? However, it’s important to note that neurodivergent people bring fresh insights, innovative thinking, and valuable contributions to various fields. Their unique cognitive styles enable them to approach challenges from different angles, leading to breakthroughs and creative solutions.

By embracing neurodiversity, we challenge the notion that there is a single “normal” way of thinking and functioning. We open ourselves up to diverse perspectives and tap into a wealth of untapped potential. It is through this acceptance and appreciation that we can truly foster an inclusive society that values and celebrates differences.

Identifying common limiting thought patterns

Self-limiting beliefs often manifest as distorted thought patterns that become ingrained in our minds. These patterns can be categorized into various types, each with its own set of limiting beliefs. Here are some common thought patterns:

All-or-Nothing Thinking:

This pattern involves seeing things in black and white, without considering the gray areas. It leads to rigid thinking and the belief that success can only be achieved through perfection. People who struggle with this thought pattern will look at any mistake they make and think the entire thing is a failure. It either has to be perfect or it’s a fail.


This pattern involves magnifying the potential negative outcomes of a situation, leading to excessive worry and fear. It hinders risk-taking and stifles personal growth. These people always focus on the worst-case scenario as if it’s a given.

Mind Reading:

This pattern involves assuming that we know what others are thinking or feeling, often in a negative way. It leads to self-doubt, social anxiety, and a fear of judgment. If you struggle with this thought pattern, you often find yourself assuming that people think the worst of you. You assume they think you’re not smart or good enough, that they don’t want to spend time with you.

Discounting the Positive:

This pattern involves dismissing or downplaying our achievements and positive attributes. It undermines self-confidence and reinforces feelings of inadequacy. This thought pattern usually attributes success to things like luck. You will convince yourself that you don’t really deserve the success because someone didn’t really catch on to your mistakes or that it’s not as good as it should’ve been.

By identifying these common limiting thought patterns, we can become more aware of the beliefs that hold us back. This self-awareness is the first step towards challenging and changing these beliefs.

The Connection Between Neurodivergence and Self-limiting Beliefs

Neurodivergent people often face unique challenges and experiences that can contribute to the development of self-limiting beliefs. Society's lack of understanding and acceptance of neurodivergence can lead to feelings of inadequacy, shame, and a sense of not fitting in. These experiences can reinforce the belief that they are somehow “less than” or incapable of achieving success.

Furthermore, the education system and workplace environments are often designed to cater to neurotypical people, leaving their neurodivergent peers feeling excluded and unsupported. This lack of accommodation and understanding can contribute to the development of self-limiting beliefs surrounding their abilities and potential.

It is important to recognize the connection between neurodivergence and self-limiting beliefs to address these issues effectively. By fostering inclusive environments that embrace neurodiversity, we can create a supportive atmosphere where neurodivergent people can thrive and overcome their self-limiting beliefs.

Challenging Self-limiting Beliefs

Neurodivergent perspectives offer valuable insights and strategies for challenging self-limiting beliefs. Some strategies to consider include:

Embracing strengths:

Neurodivergent people often have unique strengths and abilities. By focusing on these strengths and leveraging them, we can build confidence and challenge the belief that we are incapable. Make sure you spend time looking at the things you’re good at, not just the things you struggle with.

Seeking alternative solutions:

Neurodivergent people often think outside the box and approach problems from different angles. By adopting this mindset, we can break free from rigid thinking and explore alternative solutions to challenges.

Building a supportive network:

Connecting with other neurodivergent people or support groups can provide a sense of belonging and validation. Sharing experiences and strategies can be empowering and help challenge self-limiting beliefs. It’s good to be around people who truly  get it, as long as it doesn’t become a bitchfest. Instead of being a support group it becomes a place to complain, and that’s not helpful.

By acknowledging that neurodivergent people have unique and beneficial perspectives, we can challenge and overcome self-limiting beliefs and embracing our differences.

Strategies for Overcoming Self-limiting Beliefs

Embracing neurodivergence and overcoming self-limiting beliefs requires a proactive and intentional approach.

Education and awareness:

Educate yourself about neurodivergence and the unique strengths and challenges associated with different conditions. This knowledge will help you develop a deeper understanding of your abilities.

Challenge societal norms:

Question societal expectations and norms that perpetuate stigmatization and exclusion of neurodivergent people. Advocate for inclusion and acceptance in all areas of life, including education, employment, and social settings.

Cultivate self-compassion:

Practice self-compassion by acknowledging and accepting your neurodivergent traits and experiences. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, challenging the self-limiting beliefs that may have developed as a result of societal expectations.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a supportive environment for embracing neurodivergence and challenging self-limiting beliefs, paving the way for personal growth and success.

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Resources and Support

If you or someone you know is neurodivergent and is struggling with self-limiting beliefs, there are numerous resources and support available. Here are some organizations and websites that provide valuable information, guidance, and community for neurodivergent people:

  • Neurodiversity Hub: A comprehensive resource hub that offers information, articles, and support for neurodivergent individuals and their families.
  • Autism Society: A nonprofit organization that provides advocacy, support, and resources for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
  • ADDitude: An online magazine that offers expert advice, articles, and community support for people with ADHD and related conditions.
  • Dyslexic Advantage: An organization dedicated to promoting the strengths and talents of people with dyslexia and providing resources for personal and professional development.
  • Executive Function Support for Women: My free Facebook group

Remember, you’re not alone in your journey. Reach out to these resources and support networks to find the guidance and understanding you need to embrace neurodivergence and challenge self-limiting beliefs.

Embracing neurodivergence and challenging self-limiting beliefs is not only beneficial for individual growth but also for societal progress. By recognizing the unique strengths and perspectives that neurodivergent people bring, we can foster a more inclusive and innovative society.

It’s vital to understand the impact self-limiting beliefs have on our lives and actively work toward challenging them. Ultimately, they hold you back. More accurately, they allow you to hold yourself back. Those beliefs do not give you a true picture of who you are and what you have to offer.

It’s time to challenge those beliefs so that you can rise to meet your true potential and create the life you want.

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