“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”
- Robert T Kiyosaki
Our beliefs are so powerful that they dictate the direction of our lives. We only see what we believe to be true. We only attract what we believe we deserve to receive. Our beliefs are the lens through which we see the world. Unless we change our beliefs, it is unlikely that our situations will change. Our beliefs have been formed since the day we were born. Our environment, upbringing, education, and experiences have all come together to create who we are today. And just like positive experiences add to who we are, negative experiences tend to create walls within us for protection.
I remember when I was in primary school, I participated in several school competitions from art to math to science. My dad told me that the secret to becoming a winner is to think like a winner. And the winner does not let doubt, particularly self-doubt, enter their mind. I grew up with a great life coach, whom I’m blessed to call ‘dad.’ But even then, I still had a lot of self-limiting beliefs creep in. I had doubts, insecurities, and fears. As I got older, I started pinpointing what those limiting beliefs were and tried to get rid of them one by one.
Telling yourself that one of your beliefs is invalid can feel like you are lying to and robbing yourself. But the fundamental truth is that beliefs are at the core of who we are.
Here are the steps I had to go through each time I worked on removing a self-limiting belief.
1. Identify what your limiting beliefs are.
Identify the beliefs that you want to work on and overcome.
Examples of such beliefs are:
- I am not good enough.
- I won't ever find love and be in a happy, committed relationship.
- I don’t believe I can start my own business and make it succeed.
- I want to ask for what I want, but I believe I will be rejected again.
- I can never make money from my passion.
- I don’t trust the opposite sex.
- Life is unfair.
It can be extremely hard and we may feel that it would be very difficult to try to challenge these beliefs. But if you’re reading this now, it means that you realize some of your beliefs are holding you back in life and you want to work through them.
Congratulations! It’s time to make some more progress.
2. Identify the root causes of those beliefs
Now that you know what your limiting beliefs are, it’s time to uncover how these were formed in the first place. Who or what planted the seed within you?
- If you often find yourself feeling that you’re not good enough even though no one is saying that to you now, can you identify who in your childhood said that to you? Did your parents or caretakers make you feel like you’re not good enough? Did someone at school say so? What about now? Do you still find that you subconsciously surround yourself with people who think that you’re not good enough?
- If you don’t believe that you will ever find love and be in a healthy, loving relationship, is it because you grew up with divorced parents? How did your last relationship end? Are you still hung up on your last relationship? Have you worked through your intimacy and abandonment issues?
- If you don’t believe you can start your own business and that you will likely fail, root causes may be that (1) you don’t believe in your own capability. You don’t have enough self-confidence and self-belief. (2) you’ve seen many businesses close to you fail (3) people around you, family and close friends, believe that starting a business and becoming successful is something that one in a million can do.
- If you are too scared to ask for what you want because you have been rejected too many times in the past, identify why you got rejected. A lot of times, this has nothing to do with you but to do with them and their criteria. And if it’s in regards to love, remember, people cannot give what they do not have within themselves. A lot of the time, it’s about them and their circumstances in life, not about you.
- If you don’t believe that you can make money from your passion, it could be because (1) you don’t believe in yourself (2) you have been told to believe that passions are not to be pursued professionally. This belief could also be passed onto you from your parents because parents oftentimes pass on their beliefs to their children.
- If you don’t trust the opposite sex, it could be because you’ve been cheated on before, you grew up with a parent who cheats and witnessed the pain, or you have friends who sleep around so you learn the tricks of the game.
- If you believe life is unfair, this could be because you focus on what you don’t have and what you lack rather than being grateful for what you do have. This could be because you compare other people’s front-row highlights to your behind-the-scene lows. This could be because you always focus on the negatives. This pattern likely was formed while growing up. You may have grown up with a caretaker or a parent whose view of the world was negative. Therefore, you started adopting those beliefs and focused on the negatives as well.
3. Challenge your beliefs.
Now you’ve identified your beliefs and the cause of them, it’s time to challenge those beliefs by finding the other side of the argument. Most of the time, we surround ourselves with people with the same beliefs. So our limiting beliefs get reassured and reaffirmed, making us feel that our beliefs are right and that it is the only way to see the world. But this is not true. As you’re reading this, you’ve probably already realized that you have limiting beliefs that are holding you back and you want to get rid of them for good. In order to change your beliefs, you must change your environment. Remember, we are a product of our environment and our brain subconsciously mirrors the people and things we are in closest relation to.
- If you don’t believe that you can start your own business, then start looking at businesses that succeed. Make friends with and talk to entrepreneurs who have started businesses and are successful. Surround yourself with people whose beliefs challenge your own limiting belief as much as you can so that you eventually erase your old belief from your mind and adopt the new belief.
- If you don’t trust the opposite sex, then this unconsciously makes you attract the opposite sex who are not to be trusted. Your limiting belief in this area also sets a low standard for what you should and should not accept which does not go with what your heart truly desires. Sometimes we start tricking ourselves as a self-defense mechanism so that we do not get hurt. Trust issues are hard to overcome and I still combat them myself. Fully giving trust to the opposite sex right away can be hard when you’ve been hurt in the past. Challenge this belief by becoming friends with men and women who do not play around and only date one person at a time. By doing this, you will start to see the other side of the coin. Your existing belief will get challenged and slowly you will start changing your belief.
- If you don’t believe you can make money from your passion, then start making friends with people who successfully turn their passion into a profitable business. Learn from them. Absorb the good energy from them. See how they do things. Surround yourself with people whose beliefs challenge your old beliefs. This will slowly change your beliefs.
- If you believe life is unfair and realize that it’s because you have a pattern of focusing on the negatives, then start by removing yourself from negative people. A lot of the time, we continue to hang out with people with the same beliefs as us because it’s comfortable. But comfort is exactly what’s stopping us from growing and making changes in life. Most of our learnings are unconscious. Hence, we need to be mindful of the environment we put ourselves in. Realize that some old attachments can be let go of if they continue to bring us down. Make room for new connections in your life - those who embody the thought, emotional, and behavioral patterns you want to adopt. If you want to be more positive, surround yourself with positive people. This might feel strange and not comfortable in the beginning. But slowly, you will get to see a new perspective, and you will be able to see the glass half full, rather than half empty. Or even better, you will start being thankful that you even have a glass!
4. Keep a journal for your thoughts & beliefs.
Changing habits is hard. Changing our beliefs is harder. But once we can change a belief, our habit will automatically change. This is because our beliefs lay as a baseline for our thoughts which drive our emotions and actions.
In the beginning, it will feel like you’re forcing yourself to believe in something that you do not believe in at all. Try to forget the old belief. Remind yourself of the good reasons why the new belief is more believable. Surround yourself with people who embody the new belief. Read content that reinforces the new belief.
Journal. Record your thoughts. Pay attention to your inner voice. Observe the little things in life that could help you reinforce the new belief. When voices of self-doubts come up, try shutting them down and canceling those thoughts out. Make your new inner voice louder than your old inner voice through positive affirmations and repetitive visualization.
Slowly, one day, when you successfully adopt the new belief, you will feel like a brand new person. You will even forget that you used to have that old belief and what it felt like to have a belief that held you back for so long.
You can use our Happiness Planner app as well as our Growth Mindset, Self-love, and Confidence Journal to help you tackle your self-limiting beliefs. Pick the one that is most suitable for your needs.
Remember, it all starts in the mind - and you have the power over that. You just have to keep stretching its limit.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr