One of the top issues I support my clients in working through during their mental wellness coaching and hypnotherapy appointments is overcoming limiting beliefs. That’s because we all have them! Any belief that holds us back and keeps us from doing, saying, or thinking something is a limiting belief. The problem is when they are negative and so hold us back from reaching our goals and getting to where we want to go in our lives. Limiting beliefs are usually about ourselves, our identity, and how we move through the world. They could also be about our rights, roles, responsibilities, and our ability to achieve our goals. And typically they are surrounding the core themes in our life such as money, success, and relationships. When you recognize a limiting belief, you will often catch yourself starting sentences with I don’t, can’t, must, should, or shouldn’t. You may also find yourself comparing yourself to others and making excuses for why she can, but you can’t do something. And once those limiting beliefs are set in, our brain looks for evidence to support it. Your brain doesn’t actually know if something is made up or not, it only listens to what you tell it. Which means that it will search for anything that backs that belief us as true.
So now that we are aware of what limiting beliefs are, what can we do about them? In working with my private clients as well as in my emotional empowerment project course, I have several techniques that I use to help identify and change limiting beliefs and I will share a few of those today. The first step is identifying the belief. Sometimes they are so ingrained that we don’t even realize they are there! Start by becoming your own observer and anytime you find that you have a block around something, and you’re not seeing the results you want or you are stopping yourself from even starting or making progress toward your goals, really examine your thoughts and beliefs about that. Ask yourself what beliefs you have around that issue and start writing them down. And don’t second guess yourself! Often my clients’ conscious minds will try to correct them and be critical when they are trying to access hidden beliefs in their subconscious mind, which is why hypnotherapy works so well to remove those blocks and access hidden beliefs. So you could meditate on the answer and let the possibilities come freely to you. Make sure to write down everything you think of, whether it seems rational or not.
After you have identified the belief, now you need to identify where it came from. It could be from past experience, learned from someone close to you, or from fears. Sometimes one thing happened and you just overgeneralized and decided that it would always be that way. To figure out where a limiting belief originated, think back to the last time you thought or felt that way, and then work your way back through your experiences to the very first time you remember forming that belief. The answer might surprise you! One remark your mom made when you were 10 years old could literally be holding you back in your career today. One of my clients had a limiting belief that no one would want to buy from her and she would be bothering them to contact potential clients about her products. Well way back when she was 10, she was tasked with selling chocolate bars as a school fundraiser. Her mom shot down the idea saying that no one would want to be bothered to buy something from a 10-year-old and forbid her from participating. Her excitement was crushed, and as she watched all the other kids sell their candy bars and earn prizes, she wanted to be having fun and winning with them but couldn’t. 20 years later she was holding herself back in her business because of a limiting belief that wasn’t even hers, it was her mother’s! But she had internalized it and always wanted to succeed in sales but held herself back for fear of what others would think of her.
The next step after you identify the belief, and figure out where it came from, is figuring out if the belief is valid or not. Again, your mind is always going to want to prove itself right, so make sure to examine the belief objectively from an outside perspective. Question how you feel and why, and if that is truth or just perception. Not all limiting beliefs are wrong. For example, you likely believe that if you touch a hot stove with your bare hand, you will get burned. And that is true. It’s a limiting belief because it keeps you from doing something. But it’s protecting you. And your subconscious mind typically is trying to protect you from something as well, such as from feeling bad in any way. It doesn’t want you to be uncomfortable, afraid, or embarrassed. So is your limiting belief protecting you from true danger, or is it just keeping you in your comfort zone?
And now finally, you get to overcome your belief and replace it with a new, more productive one! Write down all your negative self-talk that surrounds that belief, and turn it around into a new validated belief. Start your new positive statements with I can and I am, and remember that it has to ring true so you probably don’t want to try telling yourself that you are a master pianist when yesterday you never played before. Saying things to yourself like “I can learn” and ‘I am becoming” will trigger your brain to start proving you right and it will search out ways to make that happen. Create small wins for yourself to back up your belief by starting to take steps toward your goal and very soon your new belief will be solidified.
The last step in the journey to overcoming limiting beliefs is to envision your future and what that will look like when you have this new, positive empowering belief and carry that with you every single day. What will life be like in a week, a month, or 3 months from now? Right now we are going through an unprecedented and challenging time. If you believe that there are no opportunities for you to learn, grow and be prosperous in the midst of this pandemic, you will find all the evidence in the world why you can’t succeed right now. But if you chose instead to believe that there are opportunities available for you, and all you have to do is find one and run with it, what would your first step be? And then what would you do next? How would life be different if you took those steps to prove to yourself that there are opportunities around every corner if you just decide to look for them? That is what overcoming limiting beliefs is all about. You truly can change your mind and change your life!
If you’d like to explore further what having the support of a mental wellness coach looks like, let’s talk.