Discover How Easy it is to Get Unstuck
You need a clear understanding to overcome limiting beliefs. You must know what beliefs are, how they are formed, the function they play, and how to challenge them. We will take a journey together to find and replace the beliefs that are holding you back. Enabling you to find your happiness and success. I have a free tool to share with you below for challenging your limiting beliefs, be sure to use it as often as you need but be sure to read the guide to answer any questions you have.
A Quick Look into Your Belief System
Beliefs are formed by what we remember from the past that was either pleasurable or painful. The memories we retain are colored by the way we perceived what took place in the past. Each time we recall what happened, we recolor it with the mood we are in and the meanings we give it. Memories most often have an emotional component. That emotion is what conditions the perception of what took place.
Beliefs, therefore, are conditioned perceptions that we create from the emotions we have from our memories. We build our belief system then by attaching ourselves to circumstances, events, and most importantly people, emotionally. Beliefs are parameters or rules that we use psychologically often unconsciously, to distort or alter the way we see and understand the world consciously throughout the day.
Our beliefs are what we come to expect in our lives. They are the assumptions we make about others and ourselves. We have ideas, theories, and explanations about the way we think things are and should be. Beliefs then become our anchors that help us understand and express the way we understand the world around us.
When you have an expectation, it is based on a belief you hold. We use our expectations to help us better make sense of others, ourselves, and the world at large. When we have an expectation, we have a sense of certainty about the future, it makes us feel secure and safe. Even when we have a negative expectation because there is comfort in predictability.
Certainty can become our primary need because it makes us feel comfortable, even when the belief is irrelevant, or no longer serves you in the present. People will remain in ruts, maintain bad relationships, and stay at hostile workplaces because it feels safer than facing the uncertainty of finding something new.
To some extent, all of us crave a sense of certainty. Certainty helps reduce anxiety, stress, and fear and provides us with some peace-of-mind. In fact, it helps us feel secure, and security is a fundamental human need that acts as the foundation of all your belief systems.
Beliefs are Not Facts.
Often, deeply ingrained beliefs are mistaken as facts. These beliefs, however, are nothing more than the conclusions we came to from our childhood experiences. The emotions we had at the time colored or biased our memories of those events, and we formed many of our core beliefs from those experiences.
Back when we were a child these beliefs may have served us well. Which is why we have continued to hold onto them for so long. It is important to note however, that now as an adult, these beliefs may no longer even serve a purpose. Or in some cases, these beliefs may actually become a hindrance to us now. Because they may be no longer compatible with our current life or circumstances. If our life has changed, and our beliefs have remained constant, we will feel stuck in the present. Based on our old beliefs things in our life no longer make sense, we will feel confused and not know exactly why.
Beliefs You Hold
The beliefs you hold onto are very often entangled and reinforced in your language patterns. Meaning that when you talk, you use specific words to describe or refer to something. Words not only have definitions, but beliefs associated to them. Have you ever noticed that some words have strong emotions tied to them? Often, not everyone shares the same strong emotional accompaniment.
Because of this, everyone creates their own reality, through the use of language, and are trapped within a world based on their perception rather than facts. This is why two friends can watch the same movie and have very different experiences.
How are Beliefs Created?
The things we think about more often become ingrained into our nervous system. Over a lifetime, one’s beliefs are mentally repeated until they seem legitimate or true.
Throughout our lives, we will collect facts, evidence, and references that will help us form our idea of reality. But we will build up far more references using our imagination, through the influence of others, our personal experiences, and our acquired knowledge. The later references do much more to influence our perception of reality by forming the ideas or beliefs we have about things. These ideas then turn into opinions- that get backed up by additional emotional intensity and we become more certain about them.
Early on opinions are still flexible and do not yet cause concrete expectations. But they slowly transform into beliefs as we continually think about and act on them in real life. As we keep collecting more references, especially those that support the opinion, they grow more stable, robust, and stronger. If left unchecked, they can reach a stage in the evolution of the belief that they become so deeply ingrained into our nervous system that our expectations can no longer be changed.
When expectations can no longer be changed, regardless of any overwhelming evidence (facts) to the contrary, it is said that the belief is now so strong it becomes a conviction.
When an idea does not have enough factual references to lay down the foundation for it to become a belief, some people turn to faith. Faith is simply a belief about something that has insufficient tangible (real-world) references to support it. It comes from a desperation for something to be true despite the facts of the situation. Faith allows us to replace factual information with information from our imagination. We simply create or imagine the references we need to support our belief.
Faith, therefore, with enough time, can create a belief. As we build up more references in our imagination, it becomes more rooted in our nervous system. We may even find some real-world examples that help support those imaginary references. For instance, talking with people who also share our faith can help build enough references to establish a belief. Even though those references are only based on opinion and imagination as well, and not facts. This helps form the foundation of our faith, thereby, solidifying a platform for the formation of a belief, and quite possibly even eventually forming it into a conviction.
How Strong is a Belief?
Our beliefs are at our core, they define us, and influence every aspect of our life. Our beliefs determine our expectations and perceptions of reality. They influence our level of intelligence and impact our decision making as well as our ability to see or recognize alternative options or choices that are available to us.
Our beliefs dictate our inner voice. They determine the questions we ask ourselves throughout the day. Our beliefs influence what we ask as well as how we ask the question when posed with a dilemma. Our beliefs also influence our mindset, as either growth or fixed. They impact our ability to solve problems or can create additional problems for us. This influences our ability to think creatively, constructively, and critically.
Your beliefs dictate the way you feel about yourself. Likewise, they determine how you feel about others and how you feel about the events and circumstances of your life. Gaining an understanding of how your beliefs influence your feelings is fundamental. Because they often disguise what is real and instead present you with a false view of reality that only exists in your imagination. Resulting with you making choices based on this imagined reality having expectations of specific outcomes.
With a flawed view of reality, missing actual and essential elements, no matter what decisions you make, you will inevitably fail to attain the outcomes you desire in your life. So, it is crucial to challenge limiting beliefs.
Your beliefs determine the things you will and will not do. They dictate what goals you set, and how you go about accomplishing them. The beliefs you maintain determine if you can even realize the choices, you make as you work to achieve your goals, are correct choices or not.
Your beliefs essentially influence most of the decisions you make and the actions you take every day. They form the foundation of your self-concept, which determines how you see yourself in relation to the world around you. The limitations you put on yourself, the labels you give yourself, and the expectations you have of yourself are all built upon your belief system. If your belief system is not aligned with the goals and objectives you want to accomplish, then you will often feel stuck, unfulfilled, and miserable without understanding why.
What Types of Beliefs do We Have?
There are many different classifications of beliefs that we could discuss here. There are for instance cultural, attitude, unconscious, and beliefs that express your willpower, etc. These are all interesting areas to look at, but, for the purpose of this discussion we want to explore the underlying beliefs that are at the core of your belief system. These are the only beliefs that matter because they form the foundation of all other beliefs that you hold.
Core beliefs can be broken down into three very distinct parts. These parts are:
- Psychological Rules
- Global Beliefs
Let us explore each of these in a little detail.
Psychological rules are the foundation of each of your beliefs. For this reason, they should not actually be classified as beliefs, but rather as the rules that are the support for your beliefs. That being said however, I think it is important to discuss them here. Mostly because they help us better understand the beliefs that are currently directing our decisions and actions.
We believe something because we hold a certain set of rules that tell us that this “something” is accurate and makes sense. Therefore, if the rule appears to make sense, then it stands to reason we believe that what we are seeing and experiencing is the truth.
Psychological rules often stem from memories that are strongly associated with pain and pleasure. For example, when we have an experience, our brain asks questions. Primarily if we believe this situation will result in pleasure or pain? Typically, we make decisions to avoid pain and attempt to receive pleasure. But regardless of your choice, it will provide insight into your underlying belief at the core of that psychological rule.
Say for instance you need to make a sales call to a potentially lucrative client. Making this call appears daunting and will likely be difficult. But you know that if you secure the client, it would probably generate a large monthly revenue increase.
So, when you consider the situation, you imagine two possible outcomes. You can either make the call, or instead procrastinate and put it off.
The first option brings you immediate pain, and the second option provides you with some temporary relief that you think is pleasurable. The little voice in your head asks a few questions:
- If I do make the call- what will happen?
- If I put off the call- then what will happen with that?
Let us assume that you choose to put things off until tomorrow. You decide to procrastinate rather than focus your attention on making the call. This would be an incredibly significant indicator becauseyour psychological rules dictated the decision. What is even more significant is that behind that decision lies a hidden and potentially limiting belief.
That belief could be that you believe that you:
- “are not good enough to do this…”
- “don’t deserve to be successful…”
- “are a failure…”
Indicating your rules might be:
- “I should never attempt anything I’m not clearly capable of doing…”
- “I must never take a risk that is beyond my abilities…”
These beliefs and rules are leading your decision making. They are unfortunately outdated and are no longer serving your best interests.
What is significant about this is that your psychological rules influenced the decision you ended up making. In other words, your perception and interpretation of what gives you pain, and pleasure affected the end outcome. Your rules prioritized short-term pleasure over long-term pleasure, and this directed you to avoid short-term pain even though that short-term pain could have potentially brought you long-lasting pleasure (if you had secured the account).
There is a lot more that could be said about psychological rules. But what we have gone over should hopefully provide you with enough of an understanding to get a sense of how they fit into your belief system.
Global beliefs are over generalizations you make about people, things, and about life. Meaning, for instance, you believe X and you do not believe Y. You believe X because you have made specific assumptions about X and Y that make them always seem to be a certain way.
Global beliefs are assumptions we make that begin with:
- “I am…”
- “Life is…”
- “People are…”
These are things we do not give much thought to. We merely accept them as being the truth, and we do not even question that things might be any different. For instance, the sky looks blue, so, therefore, it must be blue. This assumes that something seems blue and therefore is blue, in all cases. But of course, we know that is not true, it is a wide range of colors. It changes during sunrise, sunset, storms, etc.…
Another assumption we might make is that all people lie and cannot be trusted. This may be true in some social circles, but it is not true in every case.
This global belief that people cannot be trusted might have been ingrained into our psyche from a young age, and now as adults, we do not even consider other possibilities. It is true for us, and that is all that matters.
This belief might very well have served us when we were a child. Not talking to strangers and not trusting people kept us out of danger. However, we should ask ourselves these questions. Does this global belief serve me today? What opportunities does it deny me in the present moment?
Many times, we are probably not even aware of the assumptions we have chosen that form the basis of our reality. It is the way we were raised, and that is all that matters. However, is it helpful to continue to assume these things and to hold such global beliefs? If they do not serve us any longer, then they might be hindering our current lives.
Convictions are our strongest beliefs -and are often completely immune to logic. They are beliefs that have unwavering certainty, commitment, and dedication.
Convictions are beliefs that we have built over a lifetime that have a tremendous number of references supporting them. Each of these references supports this belief and build the foundation of our conviction. Moreover, the amount of emotion, time, energy, and thought we have invested in these beliefs over a lifetime makes them virtually indestructible.
This is, of course, good news and bad news. It really depends on the convictions we hold. If for instance, we have a set of strong convictions that support our goals and the success we want to achieve, then we are on the right track. That is in essence how we high achievers find the motivation we need to keep going when facing adversity.
If on the other hand, if we have a set of convictions that conflict with the goals we want to achieve, then we will likely sabotage ourselves and end up making extraordinarily little progress.
The biggest problem with convictions is that we probably do not even realize we hold them. We are so stuck in our own habitual patterns that it is almost impossible to imagine other alternative possibilities. However, this is an obstacle that we will need to overcome if we desire to unlock our full potential.
How to Identify Limiting Beliefs
For this next section to work most effectively, you should maintain a notebook or document for keeping notes and track of your beliefs. There are multiple methods for identifying your beliefs, use the one that most resonates with you.
1. The Out-of-Body Method
It is often easier to recognize limiting beliefs in others than it is to recognize our own. At least, that has often been the case for me.
For example, I have a friend who moonlights as a freelance web-designer. He is extremely talented, always booked and makes great money from his craft. Yet, he continues to hold down a 9 to 5 day job he does not like. Why?
Here are some of my thoughts as to why this might be…
He comes from a small, blue-collar town where the mentality is: “A good job with benefits is all you need” and “Traveling the world and catching up on work from his laptop is something snobby rich people do on vacation, not something you make a career out of.”
Doing web design full-time would afford him a lifestyle quite different from that of his family, friends, and co-workers. Given his background, it is likely that on some level, he believes he does not deserve that opportunity.
Or maybe he believes making such a career move would cause tension in his relationships. So instead, he continues to play it safe and straddle the fence even though he says he wants to commit to his passion full-time.
Of course, we are just guessing. But here is the point: We can use this objective approach on ourselves. Often, we are so close to a situation that we cannot see how we are tripping ourselves up. It is only when someone else points it out that it becomes obvious.
Find Underlying Beliefs
If we do not know what our underlying beliefs are about a particular area of life, I suggest we try this:
Choose a problem, or an area of your life where you feel “stuck.” If we are going to uncover limiting beliefs, we first need a specific situation to work with. Think of an area of your life you want to change.
For example: “I can’t quit my job,” “My relationship is soul draining but I can’t leave”
Once we’ve done this, we need to step outside ourselves and try looking at our situation from a third-party point of view. By acting as an outside observer, of our situations rather than participants in it, we can more easily see limiting beliefs without judgement.
Think of possible reasons this “imaginary other person or avatar” would have this problem. Why might they be stuck in this situation?
Be sure to write down everything that comes to mind, especially things that seem obvious.
Then we need to ask ourselves, do these beliefs ring true? Are these the only things keeping the avatar stuck? If not, dig deeper until you think you have found all the ones that do.
Take a second and think about your own values, your assumptions, and your unique life experiences. Are any of these contributing to unconscious limiting beliefs? They should have some significance to you.
2. Identify and Label Your Beliefs
To identify beliefs that are limiting us, we start by writing down all of our general beliefs on any particular topic.
Write down beliefs about anything you feel strongly about and that has an influence in your daily life. Group them into different topics or categories like finances, family, relationships, or health.
Once you have done this, examine which ones are helping you grow, and which could be limiting you. If you find this task too daunting, try the next method.
The Fill-In-The-Blank Method
This is a simple but super effective way to uncover limiting beliefs. Here is how it works:
Describe a situation you’re struggling with (for example: “I can’t start a business”) and add the word “because” at the end of it, then finish the sentence out loud, before writing it down. You may be surprised at what comes out of your mouth or the mouth of someone close to you.
Try it out now:
“I cannot start a business because __________________________________________.”
Complete this sentence out loud but do not judge your answer. What you say after the word “because” will give you meaningful insight as to what your underlying limiting beliefs are.
Do this several times for the same topic and write down your answer each time. Record the first thing that comes to mind. If you do this without overthinking, it can help you uncover your unconscious beliefs surrounding the chosen subject.
I cannot start a business because I don’t have enough money. In this statement, the limiting belief is “I don’t have enough money.”
In my upcoming Bindless-Mind Program, I’ll be giving you many more clear and practical strategies for identifying limiting beliefs and also showing you how to create new empowering beliefs that support your success.
Registration for the Program will open up Soon. Sign up as an insider to get notified when registration opens and to receive an early bird discount on the course.
Journaling: An Exercise to Find Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
We know our words and thoughts have the power to create. But if you are like most people, you don’t always pay attention to the internal dialogue going on in your head. You do not listen to what it’s really telling you. But fear not! That is where journaling comes in!
Journaling is an exercise that helps us uncover our limiting beliefs by showing us what is going on in our heads in a way we have not been thinking about.
Here is a step-by-step journaling for limiting beliefs guide:
You will need something you can use for writing – pen and paper, a computer, a tablet… Whatever you prefer.
- Pick a goal or dream you desire but are having trouble or an area where you feel stuck.
- Get in touch with your thoughts. Start free writing, put down everything that comes to your mind. Be sure not to edit anything. Do not dismiss anything. Everything that comes to your mind during this exercise matters, write it down. Even the “disjointed or unrelated” things.
If you a little need help, here are some ideas to help get you started:
- Write what will happen if your dream manifests.
- List what you will lose.
- Consider what might you have to change?
- What might go wrong?
- List the potential problems that will arise.
- What cannot be changed that is preventing you from achieving your goal?
- Where are you not good enough to get what you want?
- Are you too tall?
- Do you procrastinate too much?
- What is it about this dream that you do not want?
- Is there something you are trying to avoid?
- Why is it not possible for you to manifest your desire?
- What makes manifesting your goal wrong?
- Is there something preventing change?
- What is keeping you stuck?
- Why won’t things get better?
- Will things never change?
- What are the obstacles?
- Why don’t you deserve to get what you want?
- Write until you have nothing left. You might feel completely drained but that is good. Your mind should be quiet.
- Take a break. Then look back over what you wrote. Highlight every negative thought – everything that is the opposite of what you want to create, every complaint, every criticism – all of it.
You should see a pattern forming. Some of the negative thoughts might even overlap. Everything you have highlighted is a limiting belief.
Pro tip: You can even do this with old emails and text messages you have written to others.
Now that you know how to identify limiting beliefs, you may want to read this article on how to dissolve them for good!
Write Down Areas Where You Feel Challenged
If you have noticed that you have recurring challenges in certain areas of your life, this could be indicative of limiting beliefs.
Perhaps you cannot seem to land a well-paid job, or you never have luck when it comes to love. These challenges may simply be the byproduct of erroneous beliefs that you have adopted as truths.
As you go through each challenge you write down, also make a note of which of your beliefs pertain to that challenge. So, if you are always struggling to make enough money, uncover what you think about money and how accessible it is to you.
3. Assess Your Behavior
Another approach you can take to identify limiting beliefs would be to assess your behavior.
Think about scenarios where you have acted in negative or toxic ways and think about why. If you look closely at your toxic behaviors, you might discover that the underlying cause is limiting beliefs.
For instance, if you find it difficult to speak your mind when someone has offended you, you may possess the limiting belief that conflict is bad. This, in turn, could keep you from having truly intimate relationships as you are unable to speak your mind and have healthy confrontations.
Using Feelings to Identify Limiting Beliefs
Your feelings are a built-in tool to help you find limiting beliefs.
It is as simple as checking-in to see what you are feeling in any moment in time. Are you scared, nervous, impatient, frustrated, obsessing, doubtful? Well, guess what!?! Whatever you are thinking that is producing those feelings is a limiting belief.
Your negative feelings are how you identify self-limiting beliefs.
Do not fight the negative feelings! Be sure you do not try to resist them or suppress them! Just notice that they are there and allow them to be. You will notice that they will start to fade on their own.
4. Assess Areas You Feel Challenged In
If you have noticed that you have recurring challenges in certain areas of your life, this could be indicative of limiting beliefs.
Perhaps you cannot seem to land a well-paid job, or you never seem to have much luck when it comes to relationships. These challenges may simply be the byproduct of erroneous beliefs that you have adopted as truths. Use one of the aforementioned techniques to assess any areas you find especially challenging.