Limiting beliefs are just erroneous ways of thinking. They can be dangerous because they can limit and restrict us; forcing us to live caged within a mental box. Each one of us can turn our limiting beliefs into reality. Thoughts are energy and most of the time we spend our days with inside chatter or mental clutter. I call it clutter because most of our internal talk is negative towards ourselves. We don’t treat each other gently and with love. We seem to be more focused on showing an idea of love towards others than we are towards ourselves. Why do I say an Idea? ..because until we connect with our “shadow”, our ability to love is limited.
If we allow limiting beliefs to rule our lives, we can end up living a life which is not fulfilling. We allow this because in our minds we do not accept or believe that we are worthy of having a fulfilling life. Our limited beliefs are usually connected to our wounds; until we learn to work on our wounds and reprogram our minds, our realities will mirror the clutter inside. There is no easy road or quick fix. The more wounds or traumas, the more entrenched our limiting beliefs are. Learning to meditate, to do yoga, to work on NLP, Dialectic Behavioural Therapy, etc. are all very good, however until we take a look at the roots of things and deal with them, we are simply putting bandages on. That is why more often than not, people who use “mental bandages” say “I don’t like baggage” ” I don’t want negativism around me”. There is not a single person who has no baggage; is part of living life. We all have good and bad days. Listening to someone express themselves about their bad day or someone who gives an opinion different than yours, is not the same as someone negative.
Carl Jung as well as Socrates pointed out how the more a person is healed, the more a person has confronted their shadow, the more that person can stand among the sea of “negativity” without being affected by it. The more a person has looked in, the more that person can handle. The more a person has worked on themselves, the less fear he or she has to stand up against violence, oppression, injustice instead of hiding from it and simply professing words vs showing actions.
There is no better or worst. There are simply immature and mature souls. Those who are willing to dive in deep within their psyche in order to confront the wounds hidden within, willing to look at the less desirable parts of themselves vs. the ones who are not ready or unwilling to look in. As we grow, we become less afraid. Depending on how extended the trauma or mistakes have been, the more time the process of reclaiming one self may take. Everyone is different so be patient with yourself but don’t fall victim to the modern idea that if you only focus on rainbows your pain will disappear. We came to this world to live, to enjoy, but also to grow, to develop. In order to achieve such a growth, work is required.
There are too many people out there who are so busy running away from themselves that they don’t take the time to ask themselves the hard questions. Many times they don’t even ask themselves the simple questions, such as why they have no success. Success varies according to each person; regardless each one of us could take the time to sit down and reflect on what success means for us and how to go about it instead of blaming life for not having it. A simply example would be the person who wants a better job but does nothing to learn the skills necessary to obtain a better job, instead that person chooses to waste time on countless hours of TV; escaping life rather than living it. To that person TV is not just a recreation but a place where they can escape hoping one day to live the life which is presented on that screen. Another example is that of a person who at the very first sign of an obstacle gives up and blames the world for their lack of progress. Yet another example is that of a man or woman who lives waiting for someone to support them. Many people look at marriage as a way to simply avoiding their responsibilities. Instead of trying their best to contribute to their relationship; they sit down and expect all things to be given. Often when they don’t get the life of the imaginary “princess” or “prince” they had in their minds, they blame the other party instead of assuming responsability for their own lives. We are all responsible for our lives. We can not escape our unhealed wounds; denying ourselves never works. Working on reclaiming ourselves; specially after extensive trauma; is one of the hardest things to do, but it can be done.
During my healing journey I have experienced and still do, days in which I am on top of the world vs days in which I wish I could crawl under the rock and not feel the pain; pain which is often brought up by triggers or by my own therapy. My journey isn’t over but I have not given up. I may not move as fast as I would like to in my path to being able to look at my wounds and see them exactly for what they are, but I refuse to give up. I am more patient with my self now than I was years ago. I have come to understand; although at times I need to be reminded; that my rhythm towards healing is unique. There will be times in which I will progress faster and times in which I will barely crawl, but the important part is that I am still moving. There are times I may not move, but those are simply “breathing” times…afterwards, I gather my strength and keep moving forward. No matter how painful at times, I don’t give up on my journey towards healing, because if I don’t believe on myself who else will?. I understand that no one can reclaim what was taken but me. I have to work hard for it, because I am worth it and so are you!.
Here are some of the most common limiting beliefs I have come across within my own journey and within my experience helping others:
- Not believing that you can obtain what you want in this life.- You can obtain what you want out of this life; this includes your love life. Some people do not believe they are lovable and that they can be in a healthy relationship. This limiting belief can cause people to stay in relationships they do not want to be in, simply because they do not believe they deserve more or that they can have more.
- The believe that you can succeed but only to a certain level.- There are many people who believe that success is for others who meet a certain profile. When one studies the lives of successful people, we can see that such limiting belief is simply not true; success comes from all areas of life. I like to see myself as successful at this point in my life based on who I am and my own challenges. I am being successful in reclaiming my life and in building a life which satisfies me. I do not believe where I am right now is the end of my journey or as much as I should hope for. I know my journey will get better but it requires me to do the work in every area of my life. Remember what I mentioned above; “The idea of success in one’s life is different for each one of us”. To me success is not on the amassing of material things; to me success is more encompassing than that. Success to me lies on the reclaiming of my soul before it got hurt. It is on the constant developing of my personal and professional skills. It is on the achievement of my own goals even if they may seem like small goals to others. Success lies in the fact that no matter what I keep on moving forward; improving my personal life, my romantic life, my career life. That is success to me, the building of a comfortable life which I control; not one where my success has turned into my new master and it controls me.
- A negative self image.- Many people do not think of themselves as worthy of love and respect. This type of limiting belief often goes back to our childhood. The things we learn at an early age may become so ingrained in our subconscious mind that they may seem like a logical conclusion when in reality they are not.
- Thinking you have to depend on something.- Many think that one has to have an Achilles heel because we as humans are meek creatures who are damaged. As such, this limiting belief can cause people to seek dependency on external things such as alcohol, drugs, pornography or pharmaceuticals in order to deal with stress, problems and physical ailments. As complex as addiction can be, it is often rooted in our limiting emotions and beliefs. The belief that we are not worthy, that we are dirty and less than divine. Whenever I have helped people to stop drinking or to stop using pornography as an escape, they are often surprised at how well they can function without the addiction. Painful experiences are part of life; they can not be avoided. Running towards an escape is another “band aid”; it will not make the pain go away, it will simply compound it. Addictions often have a high price; that price lies on your denying of self because it forces you to live pretending and hiding the real you. As you work through your pain, you will discover that pain doesn’t have to control you. Pain will occur and it will pass.
- Believing that money is hard to come by.- Success and abundance are everywhere. Even in the same industry some are struggling while others are succeeding easily. It is true there are cases of people in situations where no matter how much they try, the opportunities are simply not there. Usually however, those people are not the ones who complain about life, they keep pushing forward. In most common cases, people just complain. They spend so much time focusing on the “success” of another than on investing that energy in reshaping, recreating their lives. Success follows success; what you give is what you get. If you are out there using people, you will get use. If you envy what others have, the universe simply will follow the command you give. You are focusing on your lack, so lack it will grant you; specially if you simply sit down and expect things to manifest simply because you want them, not because you deserve them. It is true that you are deserving of a good life but only if you act in tune with that which you desire. I have seen people who often expect others to solve their problems when they themselves make no effort to improve their lives. The same rule that applies to material abundance applies to love or mental health.
- Thinking that you are too old or too young.- This is a particularly dangerous one because it causes people not to take action and stay in stagnant situations, all based on how they feel or how they perceive themselves. Every day is a new day; it is better to start late than to never take the chance at creating the life you wish to have.
- There is never enough time.- This is probably the greatest form of self-deception that exists. You will never have the time unless you give yourself time.
- To think that because something has been a certain way in the past, that it always will be.- If you accept something which is limiting and do nothing to change it, then you are condemning yourself to the same fate. Things will only change when you change them. For example: If you come from a family where no one else went to college, it does not mean you can not be the first to do so. If you come from a family where abuse was entrenched, it does not mean you are incapable of being the first one in your family tree to heal, to stand, to show love to your children without enabling them. If you have battle depression for a while, it doesn’t mean you won’t conquer it. I know changing old belief patterns isn’t easy. I am guilty of having had and still at times experience moments where I let my history take control of my life. I battle with my over vigilance because I have a deep history of abuse. I am learning that just because people hurt me in the past, it doesn’t mean it has to manifest in my present.
I don’t want you to feel guilty or less than worthy simply because you have experienced any of the above limiting beliefs. We all have had them; we all battle with them at one point or another. The point of this article is to help you make those limiting beliefs conscious so that you may transcend them.
Limiting beliefs prevent us from doing everything we can do to grow and succeed in life. Some of these beliefs come from our childhood, others we create on our own. Regardless of the source, it is important to recognize the limiting beliefs which are restricting and robbing us of life. It is important that you do not look the other way so that you can make the changes necessary to improve your life and stop your limiting beliefs. Stop looking at the lives of others while expecting your life to magically change with no effort from your part. Stop wishing for your love life to improve without you focusing on it. If you spend your time wanting the life others have without dedicating effort to your own relationship, then of course your relationship will deteriorate. Maybe you spend a lot of time seeking the acceptance and compliments of others instead of focusing on what you have, as a result you may experience a partner who will do the same or who will focus on other type of external things; remember what you put in comes back to you.
Do not let yourself be trapped and limited by your own mind. It is important to train your mind to see your unlimited potential. I can tell you first hand this won’t happen overnight; as much as we may wish it to. It will require and test your commitment to improving your life. How much do you want a better career, a better love life. How much do you want psychological peace, the healing of your wounds. How much do you want to conquer your anger or your depression; overall how much do you want a better life? It will take work, but keep in mind you are not working for someone else’s benefit; although that may be a consequence; you are working, investing in a fuller, happier you. That is why no matter how shitty some of my days may feel, I don’t give up. I am worthy, I am deserving, and so are you.
If you keep working on healing, on improving, on reprogramming, your mind will support you more each and every day. There will be days when fears will arise which may paralyze you, but your subconscious can feel the changes you are making and it will support your conscious and carry you through the dark times. Although the dark times of the soul won’t suddenly stop, the lighter times will also be there. With each victory, you will grow and you will be able to breathe more easily as you get to reclaim the marvellous being you were created to be!