Identifying Your Binding/Limiting Beliefs

Identifying your binding/limiting beliefs is not near as complicated as most people think. I will show you how easily they can be identified when you know how. The first thing we need to keep in mind as we begin to look closely at binding beliefs is that all beliefs are neutral. Beliefs are just thoughts that we have giving a sense of truth or rationale to. We hold them and they hold us. They are not inherently good or bad. They can, however, allow us to achieve great things or hold us back from attaining our true success.

What Are Beliefs

I think beliefs bind us to our understanding of ourselves and the world. Our beliefs dictate to us how we act, behave, and react to everything and everyone in life. They guide our decisions and steer us toward or away from things. So, they are the rules we live by without having conscious awareness of them.

We share beliefs with those close to us. In fact, shared beliefs are one of the ways we connect deeply with others. The tricky part is some beliefs benefit different people in different ways. You may hold a belief with someone close to you that benefits them while holding you back from realizing a greater level of success. The same could be true the other way around as well.

Limiting Beliefs Are Different

So, it is important for each of us to consider how useful a particular belief is to us in different situations especially when we are trying to achieve a goal. If it serves us and supports us and the goal we are working toward, then we should keep it. However, if that is not the case, and it hinders our progress toward the achievement or attainment of our goal, it is a limiting belief and binds us to failure. We should therefore take measures to unravel and remove them. Identifying your binding/limiting beliefs should become a habit for us, so we can live in our unlimited potential.

Our limiting beliefs very often hide in our subconscious. We live everyday with the influence of our beliefs, yet most of the time we are not conscious of the way they affect us. But we can with practice, learn to identify the signals that clue us in to what the hiding limiting beliefs are. These signals show up anytime we are confronted with obstacles and challenges in our journey toward the goals we desire.

Typically, when we encounter what appears to be a major obstacle or problem, our limiting beliefs bind us to the idea that they are impossible to overcome. When ever something seems to be more than just a temporary hiccup in your journey, it will have a limiting belief attached to it, they bind us so well, that we usually do not question the idea that we cannot overcome it.

Limiting beliefs often manifest themselves just under our conscious ability to recognize them as unwanted non-beneficial beliefs binding us to missing our successes.

You may or may not have thought about this before, but…

Limiting Beliefs Are Present When:

  • We make excuses
  • Complaining about things
  • Indulging in negative thoughts
  • Give into unhealthy habits
  • Indulge in unhelpful patters
  • Talk to ourselves in limiting ways
  • We give into helplessness
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Make assumptions
  • When we are fearful
  • We worry about making mistakes
  • Thoughts of worry are allowed to become repetitive
  • Putting things off
  • We are too critical of ourselves
  • Indulging in self-doubt

If you find that you are doing any of these things while you are working toward a goal, become mindful and write down the things that come to mind as you identify these limitations.

Keep in mind, that limiting beliefs will influence not only your actions and decisions, they can infiltrate your thoughts and influence them. What I mean by this is when you think about your goals, they those pesky little limiting thoughts will pop up and try to derail your ideas of success before you even start the work toward actually achieving them.

The great news is you do not need to feel like you are not succeeding or have a negative mindset, when you find your brain working against you. Because if you are mindful enough to recognize the limiting beliefs influence, you can change them. You are actually on the path to success. In fact, when you can get to the point you see the signals quickly, you are just a matter of time before you conquer your mindset completely. You will have learned the secret to unraveling your limitations and unleashing your true potential. Identifying your binding/limiting beliefs is a talent we can all use and share.

Learning to Recognize the Signals of Binding/Limiting Beliefs

Imagine for a moment we are thinking about a particular goal, and while thinking about it we begin to sense a strong feeling of resistance just below our ability to explain it. It is more of a feeling than a thought, it makes us uncomfortable, for no clear reason. Rather than become down and give into the feelings, we should embrace the feelings and accept the challenge of digging where we see signals. The stronger the resistance and feelings of internal struggle, the more limiting beliefs we will find hiding just below the surface.

So, you might be asking, how do we expose the pesky little limiting beliefs? We ask them questions and wait for them to answer. I know that sounds silly, but this silly little exercise will change your life, if you let it.

Let us walk through an example together and make sure we are clear on how to ask the right questions.

If the goal of earning an additional $25k this year is the focus of mind, we can discover the limiting beliefs we hold if we quiet our minds and focus on the goal for a few moments. As we begin to imagine what it might be like to earn an additional $25k this year we watch for any sense of discomfort, any feelings that are uncomfortable. We should watch for a feeling of doubt, or that it may not be as easy as we think. If we feel any resistance when we say the words out loud “I have decided to earn an additional twenty-five thousand dollars this year.” We have limiting beliefs that unchecked will keep us from reaching our goal. So, here’s what we do, we start asking questions. Here are some questions I would begin with…

Questions to Identify Binding/Limiting Beliefs:

  • What is making me feel that I cannot achieve this goal?
  • Why can’t I overcome the challenges in my way?
  • What is holding me back?
  • Specifically, what are the challenges in my way?
  • What unhelpful pattern am I falling into?
  • How do I see the goal? As possible, or out of reach/too big?
  • What am I saying to hold myself back?
  • Am I doing anything to hold myself back?
  • What excuses am I coming up with?
  • Why do these excuses hold any weight?
  • These excuses mean what?
  • What do these excuses do for me?
  • These excuses keep me from what?
  • Is this goal actually too hard, or just a stretch?
  • What is stopping me from achieving this goal?

Keep Asking More Questions for Deeper Clarity

  • Do I tend to blame others, and what for?
  • What do I often find to complain about?
  • Do I have any rules keeping me from this goal?
  • What do I see as negative about reaching this goal?
  • What do I think others would say if they found out I was working on this goal?
  • Do I have any shared beliefs holding me back?
  • What do I want to happen?
  • What do I think will happen?
  • Why are those different, what is the difference?
  • Are my standards too high, should they be lowered?
  • Are my standards too low, should they be moved up?
  • Do I have any values that are in conflict with my goal?
  • What do I believe about these values?
  • How do I describe myself?
  • What do I tell myself about what I should or should not be doing as I work toward this goal?
  • How do I think others describe me?
  • What stories do I tell myself about myself as I try to accomplish this goal?
  • What do I think should or should not happen in regard to my accomplishing this goal?

Identifying Your Binding/Limiting Beliefs

When we have taken the time to answer and reflect on the answers to these questions (or any others we can think of), it is time to specifically identify the limiting beliefs so we can remove them. Next, we want to ask ourselves questions like these:

  • What are the insights that occur to me as I review the answers to the above questions?
  • What specific limiting beliefs are holding me back right now?
  • How are these limiting beliefs preventing me from my goal?
  • How do the limiting beliefs deny me the opportunity to be the person I genuinely want to be?

There is a sense of relief that comes when identifying your binding/limiting beliefs is possible in our lives. When we know what is holding us back, we have the opportunity to make changes and take control of our future in ways that were not available to us previously.

Understanding How Your Limiting Beliefs Are Formed

If we want to identify how limiting beliefs find their way into our lives it is helpful to ask questions like:

  1. How did I form this particular belief?
  2. What is the reason I have held onto this belief so long?

Understanding how we came to believe the things we do, will give us insight into how we can work through them more effectively. Very often Limiting beliefs are linked to childhood memories and experiences that were of emotional significance to us at the time. They may or may not serve us in a beneficial way any longer.

Uncovering these memories can help us let go of outmoded and outdated beliefs that hold us back by binding us to rules that do not have the same value any longer. It may force us to look into areas that we find uncomfortable or difficult from our past. Many times, those beliefs kept us safe or out of harm, so tread lightly. It may even become necessary for us to forgive others and ourselves in order to progress through to the place we can remove and replace those limiting beliefs.

One especially important reason to search out and identify the origin of limiting beliefs is because they are unconsciously supported by psychological rules or references. By understanding the origins of your limiting beliefs and the references that support those beliefs, you equip yourself with enough knowledge to identify and replace the beliefs as well as the rules that are not serving you. You can ask yourself these questions to assist you in…

Identifying Your Beliefs

What are the references that support this limiting belief?

Take a look at the knowledge supports this belief?

What are the life experiences that support this belief?

What are the emotional experiences that support this belief?

How have I managed to hold this belief over the years?

What things about this have I imagined might happen?

What things do I imagine will happen?

Identifying the References

Many times, we use references that are imagined. Things we believe may happen, or could happen, etc. Lots of what we use as references for our beliefs are imagined occurrences that we have concocted in our imaginations that have no real basis in reality. Not to mention some of our references for our foundational beliefs are based on false knowledge, misgivings, or assumptions of others.

While there may be some references that are based on real-life experiences, our brains over time have a natural tendency to distort past experiences to protect us from painful experiences both real and imagined. Therefore, much of what we “remember” and think happened to us in the past, may not have actually happened the way we remember it.

For this reason, it may become necessary for us to talk with others who were there to see if they have conflicting recollections of what happened. But there too, take their “memory” with a grain of salt.

Digging into deep areas can be difficult alone. I have a free 3-day workshop in my Bindless Mindset Facebook Group that walks everyone through the step-by-step process to identify and remove limiting beliefs that are binding us and keeping us from our unlimited potentials. Just join the group and put in the welcome message that you are interested in the workshop, by adding #workshop to your welcome post. Looking forward to seeing you there!


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Aaron Jarrels

I am focused on helping anyone who wants to expand their reach. I help people overcome their limiting beliefs and show them how to gain the confidence to eliminate imposter syndrome that hinders success. I specialize in assisting people with shifting their mindsets and help them master the skills necessary to achieve professional and personal success.