Are Limiting Beliefs Holding You Back From A Happy & Peaceful Life?
Letting go. Surrender. Release. Giving in. Emancipation. Freedom. Liberation.
What do these gorgeous ideas have in common? They are the essence of a content, happy, peaceful and inspiring life; and free of limiting beliefs. Navigating life from a position of letting go, keeps you from being held back from enjoying peace and happiness of all kinds.
Most people practice ‘letting go’ only under extreme, or extremely trying, circumstances. Yet, living in a state of surrender is the most ‘sane’ way to live. That is, if you enjoy emotional and mental freedom and calm.
I recently uncovered another huge limiting belief (LB) that was wrecking havoc in parts of my life. Once this limiting belief was revealed, I was then able to add a fresh layer of additional inner peace and happiness to my life. Before I tell you a bout this transformative experience, let me preface my ‘breakthrough story’ by sharing a little about limiting beliefs and the transformative powers available when revealed for the scoundrels they are!
Limiting beliefs are almost always unconscious and they, in effect, hold you back from enjoying the peace and happiness that is available to everyone. Limiting beliefs are frauds; wolves in sheep’s clothing. Fortunately, limiting beliefs are super easy to change- IF you’re willing to locate them! LBs lie just beneath the surface of your emotional well-being ready to pounce on you when an emotional trigger arises – like Jaws! When they surface and attack, it is much like a vicious bite which then elicits anger, upset, resentment, suffering, anxiety guilt and/or shame.
The evidence of limiting beliefs are the feelings, emotions, thoughts, words, results, experiences, and actions that feel bad to you. Limiting beliefs are the birth place of blame, apathy, anger, fear, shame, divorce, adultery, violence, aggression, job dissatisfaction, poor decision making, lack of assertiveness, boundaries or confidence, underachievement, lack of goal setting or goal achievement, and sometimes even injury and illness.
Honestly, limiting beliefs are at the root of any and everything which you experience as difficult, stressful, overwhelming or unwanted, or as holding you back in life, love, or career.
Take a moment to think back over the past 24 hours and consider at least two feelings, thoughts, and/or situations that you didn’t enjoy or want, or found upsetting. At the root of those situations are limiting beliefs. Though no doubt the LBs are unconscious at this time.
But, when you locate them (not always easy at first practice), you can re-arrange your beliefs and literally stop having similar icky experiences. Each limiting belief that is located and removed is replaced with happiness- which has a compounding effect on all compartments of life.
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Let’s look at the four basic parts of Limiting Beliefs.
1. Common Thoughts That Limiting Beliefs
Check out these examples of common thoughts and ideas where limiting beliefs lurk and ultimately trigger unhappiness and discontent of all kinds:
My boss (spouse, mom, dog) makes me so frickin’ mad (annoyed, frustrated)!
My job is boring and forces me to work way too many hours, this sucks.
Being injured stinks, I’m always injured, I’ll never be ready for my next race.
City drivers (employees, co-workers) are such rude idiots (jerks, mean, greedy).
My most recent Limiting Belief example: People who are mean or cruel to animals, children and elderly piss me off so bad, and I kinda want to kick their asses.
The above examples are fraught with judgment, condemnation, victimhood, powerlessness, and globally negative assumptions. All thoughts and ideas that align with ideas such as the ones above have hidden LBs attached.
Example of a common thought: ‘My boss makes me so frickin; mad.
Limiting beliefs: Others have the power to determine my emotions. My boss is the boss of my feelings. I am powerless against my anger.
Powerful new beliefs: You can choose to change beliefs at any time. You might choose to believe that, ‘no one has the power to impact my feelings.’ ‘Or, because I always have the courage speak my mind and set great boundaries, my boss respects me, speaks kindly to me, and appreciates all I do.
The think about limiting beliefs is that they are just like an old uncomfortable shoe, you can throw it out an get a new one. Do you best to consider ALL beliefs as disposable and replacable. And as ideas that are always being ‘tested for validity’.
My limiting belief example expanded, revealed, solved and replaced with love and joy.
I grew up in a home and extended family environment which was aggressive, often violent, and included a great deal of alcoholism (in the men), and enabling, depression and anxiety (in the women).(There was also love and kindness ).
Of which I all except the alcoholism (food used to be my alcohol addiction replacement).I have long since healed and transformed essentially all aggressiveness, enabling, and depression.But still harbor and am clearing some fragments of fear / anxiety / guilt, and situational anger.
For the past several years, anger had basically only shown up when I perceived a situation to be ‘unjust’. For example, if I saw / perceived a child, animal or elderly person being abused, mistreated, or treated unfairly I would become angry, very angry. Or if I perceived myself as being treated unjustly. Even mean or cruel FB images of harmed dogs could send my blood to boiling and I would think about how I wanted to hurt the abuser for hurting others. Which might make sense to many of you reading this…
But these thoughts made me feel heart-sick, even though I actually believed this kind of anger was justified, even righteous (additional limiting beliefs). Unhealthy desires to protect others when one has grown up in an environment where one was not protected is very common – but serves only to hold ups back from living in peace and happiness.
And though I didn’t act on this anger, this kind of inner angry experience was fairly common place and painful, until recently!
I had been discussing with my husband and other coaches for many years, ‘how do I stop being and feeling angry about this kind of situation?’ I just couldn’t figure it out…. But wanted to so badly, as a primary goal of mine is to approach ALL people and ALL situations with love. But until recently had been only a little successful in this realm and on rare occasions.
Enter: Limiting belief realization! The limiting belief I had stemmed from lessons about love that served as unspoken ‘truths’ in my growing up experience. In my family, love was inextricably coupled with worry, guilt, aggressive protection and anger.
Meaning: If you didn’t chronically worry about people, you didn’t love them; If you didn’t feel guilty about not doing everything other people asked of you, you didn’t love them; and, if you didn’t become extremely angry about injustice, then you not only didn’t love, but you were also weak. And, not only were you poor at loving others under these conditions, you probably were ‘unlovable’ as well.
These are profound and devastating lessons for children, and most of us have some version of these lessons (limiting beliefs) related to love to reveal and heal.
In effect, I had to live a life covered in guilt, shame, worry and anger in order for me to be a loving person – and I did, for too many years. Obviously, these interpretations of love and lovability are lies and limiting beliefs and even sound comical and ridiculous when brought into the light. Yet, we act on hidden LBs and arrange our entire experience of life and love and care and work and everything else strictly to align with and support our beliefs- whether they are true or not, healthy or not, or useful or not.
I uncovered and uncoupled the beliefs about chronic worry (which ensures enabling and codependence), and guilt about pleasing, performing and being perfect (which ensures a lack of healthy boundaries, codependence, perfectionism, fear of disapproval, fear of not being liked and many other fears), a long time ago.
But I had not yet revealed and uncoupled the piece about loving equating to having to be angry and wanting to be aggressive in order to effectively love and protect others. Uncoupling LOVE from anger and protection has been a monumental release and relief for me.
Now, I can simply love others who mistreat others with no strings attached. Why, because I believe that ALL people deserve life.
I can take loving protective action where I am capable. I can illuminate love and healing for those who have not yet learned basic human kindness. And I can honor that fact that if others choose to be cruel or mean, that it is ‘their’ journey to figure out and heal, not mine to internalize as anger that I experience.
‘Love’ had many bastardized strings attached in my growing up experience –which of course were passed on from generation to generation, as most limiting beliefs are. Love is wildly misunderstood and used as weaponry more often than not. Even if your ‘love lessons’ aren’t like mine, you no doubt have some revealing and uncoupling of limiting beliefs to do of your own.
The truth about love: LOVE is stable. Love is unchanging. Love is a state of being. Love is a gift that can only feel bad when confused and coupled with limiting beliefs and painful emotions (though at that point it is not actually love). Anything that feels yucky in any way, is NOT love, nor could it be love.
Engaging and receiving another level of healing and freedom is pure bliss … I couldn’t be more filled with joy regarding this beautiful revelation. I have shed many tears of release and relief with this one... I seek to have zero anger in my heart and now I have one HUGE layer less anger that has been replaced with authentic, unconditional love!
Crumbling limiting beliefs changes paradigms in beautiful ways. Remember, any experience or feeling that you do not enjoy or want, is hosted by hidden limiting beliefs.
The good news is, often when one LB is revealed and replaced, others, even dozens of others can dissipate simultaneously or be revealed in rapid succession, and then eliminated or replaced.
2. YOUR Most Common Limiting Beliefs Areas
Common limiting beliefs revolve around sexuality (sexual expectations, body image, shame, guilt, desire, withdraw), love (what you expect to get, feel, experience), relationships (relational obligations, expectations, wants, hopes, dreams), self-worth (self-guilt, punishment, lack of compassion or forgiveness), career (money, material good, fame, perceived success), physical appearance (fitness, eating habits, dieting, aging), and the like.
These are your key areas to begin digging around! Look for uncomfortable or unwanted thoughts, feelings, ideas, reactions, decision or experiences. As soon as you locate something uncomfortable, begin questioning yourself about possible limiting beliefs.
3. Uncovering Limiting Beliefs
Uncovering limiting beliefs can be tricky when you first begin, but it gets easier with practice, as with all things. Some LBs are easy to uncover, others are more difficult. You’ll want to dedicate a few minutes of time and energy each day to bringing LBs into conscious awareness. Below is one possible process for you to use in your unveiling process.
a. Locate a feeling, situation or circumstance and give it a name (an argument about money with spouse, bad day at work or something like anger, blame, sadness, etc.). Be as specific as you can, or break it down to several pieces if possible.
b. Ask yourself, ‘What must I believe in order to experience this uncomfortable (sad, unwanted, painful, etc) feeling, situation or circumstance as a part of my perceived reality or truth?’
Here are a few limiting belief examples from my ‘old’ brain or childhood .
- Men are lazy, stupid, uncaring, and mean drunks. This LB led me to feel bad about, and untrusting of, men and to create unhealthy emotional and physical experiences with men. This, and related beliefs, made it ok to let men in my life be emotionally shut down, to make fun of me in my most vulnerable moments, to have various addictions, and to take advantage of me. After all, if you believe all men are ‘a certain way’, you either except that or be alone. As you might image, each of these pieces hosted additional limiting beliefs.
This LB about men was echoed by my mother, two aunts and my grandmother, all strong influences during my developing years.As you can likely imagine, they all married variations of lazy, mean drunks who perpetuated and confirmed limiting belief cycles.Again, we align all facets of life unconsciously with our beliefs.
I however was fortunate enough to change that collection of beliefs (though I bought into them for many years). Along the way, I decided to test out some new beliefs about men, and those grew into my current beliefs regarding men.I believe that men are caring, kind, strong, capable, in control of their emotions, vulnerable, brave, ambitious, very intelligent, warm, engaged, decisive, and have beautiful hearts and spirits… Can you guess what beliefs my husband reflects!?Yes, he is truly the most magnificent man I could dream of.And, I see many, or even, most of these qualities in the majority of men I come into contact with, or attract into my life.
- If I don’t do it, it won’t get done or it won’t be done right. This LB led me to micro manage, to do and work too much, to neglect rest or down time, and say or do things that led others to feel bad or incompetent.
Ugh, this limiting belief made a whole lot more work, frustration and stress for me for many years!And of course, the people I surrounded myself with lived right up to my limiting belief expectations and not beyond (as those around you almost always do)!Which means, if you don’t like the actions, decisions, or emotions of yourself OR those around you, you might want to ask what you must be believing about yourself and others too!)
- Detachment from Chris’s chronic lateness. My husband used to be shy and enforced very few boundaries with others. As a result, being chronically late manifested as a way for him to have control over an aspect of life (this is common for shy men- if you struggle with chronic lateness, indecision, or lack of assertiveness - you might want to read, No More Mister Nice Guy, by Robert Glover, or hire a coach to check into some of your limiting beliefs so you can experience more emotional freedom and joy!).
Chris’s hidden limiting belief was that ‘no one could control him being on time or not’ and he believed he was being strong (rebellious is more like it) by being late and forcing others to wait on him.Again, these are hidden, unconscious inner workings of limiting beliefs.When Chris and I began dating, I knew of his habit of being late (we were friends long before we dated).AND, my belief was this: ‘it made me no difference that he was chronically late and I believed that my from his lateness would give him freedom to move beyond this situation.Also, I kept a book with me at all times so that when he was late, I could read.And since I am addicted to learning, it was a win-win!
Within a year, Chris essentially stopped being late.You’re welcome honey! HAHA!
Interestingly, the POWER to influence others from a place of surrender and love is profound.Never forget this truth. For this limiting belief to change in Chris, he didn’t even have to become aware of it.I simply needed NOT be impacted by it on any level, and I wasn’t.Of course he did learn from this ‘chronicly-late’ pattern later, which made room for other LBs to transform and dissolve as well - he’s amazing!!
Once you get clear about a particular LB or set of LBs, you can change it to something that serves your higher self or gives you a greater sense of happiness, freedom and smooth living.
I promise, you will have hundreds of opportunities to reveal your limiting beliefs if you’re willing, and paying attention to all that you don’t want to do, feel, think, or experience. The KEY element is owning all that you don’t want and taking responsibility for the LBs that have and do create unwanted obstacles. Dedicate just a bit of energy, attention and intentionality to uncovering LBs is a gateway to untold healing, growth, liberation, joy and getting a whole lot more of what you DO want in life.
Hit me up if you’d like help getting started uprooting some of your limiting beliefs and journeying toward healing and happiness!
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