A limiting belief is an established thought pattern that prevents you from achieving what you want or need, no matter how much you strive towards a goal. As long as there is a limiting belief in place, it acts like a three-headed dog whose job it is to prevent you from achieving your goal.
Simply put, limiting beliefs are things we tell ourselves, mostly with great conviction, as to why something is not possible for us. Why we can’t get rich, why we can’t have a fairytale relationship and so on. When you are operating through the lens of a limiting belief, your perception of reality is narrower and more grim than what it would have been otherwise.
Limiting beliefs are acquired when we are highly impressionable, especially when we are kids. But even as grown ups, there are times when we are vulnerable to forming such beliefs, particularly when faced with adversity. At such times, the sense of helplessness can be high and the mind wants to rationalize why we got into this state.
When we feel cornered, an easy way out is by forming a conclusion, mostly irrational, just so that we don’t get into this state ever again. We try to reach conclusions that we later label as “life lessons”. More often than not, these life lessons are exactly what keep us in the trenches.
For example, you go to an office party and end up making a faux pas, like blurting out something that lands you in hot water. In order to “protect” yourself from future embarrassment, you conclude that you’re just not that great at parties. That will cause you to pass up any future invites. This is a simple example, but you get the idea.
For a limiting belief to form, there is usually no logical check before a thought becomes embedded into your psyche. Here is a process that our brain might be following when it takes on new beliefs.
Experience → Rationalize → Believe → Follow
But a limiting belief may be formed by a direct jump to a conclusion, simply because of an impressionable state of mind.
Experience → Believe → Follow
Even if there is some rationalization, it is usually born out of an emotional need instead of logic. This happens when we are so impressionable that we don’t first stop to question why we should take on a belief.
For instance, believing something coming from someone you look up to to be true. Your primary school teacher may have said that you would amount to nothing, and it sounded like an ultimate truth. You’re probably still running your life based on that belief!
For years I struggled with driving. You see, my dad had met with a driving accident when I was seven-years-old, and although he wasn’t injured, he never drove again. My mom didn’t allow me to drive when I grew up for the fear of meeting an accident.
So I grew up believing that driving was very dangerous. That was a limiting belief. I did make a few attempts at driving, but failed miserably. Because of that, I came to believe that I was a bad driver. That was a second limiting belief.
Looking back, it feels kind of funny to have believed what I did in terms of my driving skills. I now understand how those beliefs had kept me under house arrest.
What came to my rescue was Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping, a powerful tool to help release limiting beliefs, often within minutes. EFT works by dissolving energy blockages when you tap on certain points on your face and body. For me, EFT has been nothing short of a wonder-drug to treat limiting beliefs. Millions of EFT enthusiasts around the world would agree, with their own stories to share.
As I did some tapping on my driving situation, I noticed my beliefs about how dangerous driving was and how I was a bad driver, simply withering away. What emerged was a safe and sane driver who now drives her son to school every day. And happily too. My husband often jokes about how women make bad drivers. But now I know not to let that become a limiting belief!
So what are you telling yourself to stop you from getting the best out of your job, your relationships and life in general? Could they be just limiting beliefs, and how would you overcome them?
P.S. Do you have limiting beliefs that are holding you back from becoming your best self?
The way we think about the world affects our experience in it — for good or for bad. Vishen Lakhiani’s transformational course, Consciousness Engineering, allows you to challenge any limiting beliefs you may hold. Try it out and live without limits today!