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What Are Limiting Beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are thought patterns about ourselves that were imprinted onto our subconscious mind when we were young and impressionable. They play out as opinions about ourselves that, because they joined us at a vulnerable stage of life, we assume to be true for as long as we live. They cloud many of our choices and behaviors in our present, everyday life.

Take a closer look and you’ll discover most limiting beliefs are FALSE! Yet they can hold great power over us. Identifying, then clearing these beliefs of their emotional energy is at the heart of much personal growth and personal development work.

tormenting limiting beliefs

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Where do limiting beliefs come from?

At an impressionable or vulnerable time in our lives, we heard certain messages about ourselves. It could have been a parent or other authority figure expressing disappointment, telling us we were slow, lazy, or stupid. Society at large sends messages to young people about their abilities due to race or gender ("Girls aren't good at math!" "Boys don't cry!"). These expressions became imprinted on our subconscious through repetition or from the emotional charge of trauma. We come to accept these programs as true, and they can influence us for the rest of our lives.

Even high achieving people can be weighed down by limiting beliefs. They may harbor nagging fears or feelings of unworthiness despite abundant evidence to the contrary in their present-day careers, relationships, and health. This creates cognitive dissonance that saps energy and blocks progress.

This is why some high achievers plateau in their growth as they hit limits imposed not from present circumstance, but from old voices expressing someone else's agenda.

Limiting beliefs play out as if they were real, but in fact they are an illusion. By moving away from the illusion, we can begin to see the world as it is. This is a powerful step in our personal growth journey.

Who Is Responsible For Our Limiting Beliefs?

It's very important to know that having limiting beliefs is not unusual, and that having them is NOT YOUR FAULT! Everyone goes through an impressionable time in their development, and it's natural that things heard at that stage of life make an outsized impression on us.

Helping you figure out the exact source of your limiting beliefs is work best done together with a clinical psychotherapist. This can be a rewarding process. When I coach my clients, however, I’m interested in moving them forward from where they are today, so this deep dive into the past may not be necessary.

But the fact remains: The responsibility for dealing with your limiting beliefs IS YOURS ALONE!

Therefore, just by being here, right now, you are taking an important step toward freedom from limiting beliefs. Understanding the problem exists is the first step, followed by concrete steps to identify, then clear away, any lingering limiting beliefs we're holding.

limiting beliefs

The Most Common Limiting Beliefs...

...fall somewhere in here:

  • "I'm not good enough"
  • "I'm not worthy"
  • "I don't deserve it"
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success

Put another way, they often manifest as a:

  • Lack of faith in an abundant Universe,
  • Insecurity or feeling undeserving, or
  • Lack of perspective about the way things truly are.
  • Impostor syndrome: "Who am I to want/desire/expect __________ ?" (Fill in the blank!)

Your attitude toward money might be limiting your mental and emotional access to a generous Universe. If you learned early that money is scarce, you tend to believe that all your life. Unless, that is, you take intervening steps to do something about it! Retraining your subconscious attitude toward money replaces a scarcity mindset with one of abundance, a fixed mindset with one of growth.

pinching pennies

How do we relax the grip of limiting beliefs?

Discovering limiting beliefs is the first step toward reducing their power. As your personal growth coach, I listen for negative thought patterns expressed through words and actions, and I will help you articulate what beliefs are holding you back.

Anyone can learn to alert themselves to the tone of their thoughts by monitoring the emotional charge of their feelings. Negative feelings are often felt in the gut before they are perceived in the head. Positive feelings produce a tingle and a jolt of energy.

Negative feelings are a reliable clue that point to a specific limiting belief.

Clearing limiting beliefs

The key to reducing limiting beliefs is simple in theory: turn off their emotional charge by disassociating from them. In practice this means retraining the subconscious through directed practice, and this takes time and effort. I help my clients by using several different clearing methods, and will figure out what works based on your learning style (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic). I'll stand by you as you do the work, and applaud your success when you come out the other side!

free from limiting beliefs

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