“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” —Henry Ford
The very phrase says it all: we accept as true something that exists (belief), which then restricts us (limiting). In other words, we let things that may or may not be based in reality inhibit what we say and the actions we take. These beliefs may be about other people, the world in general, and/or our self-identity.
How does that happen? How could we become so “delusional”? Well, it starts very early on when we have our first direct experiences. We learn and build beliefs faster when they are harmful – but this is nature’s way of protecting us (as in, touch a hot stove and get burned). It’s as simple as: we act, something happens, and we attach a specific meaning to the results. Being young, however, our experiences are few and we may form false [limiting] conclusions.
Then we have our parents, and at school our teachers, who “educate” us about what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. They tell us about how the world works, and how we should behave within it. Oh, then there are our peers…unfortunately none of these people have all the answers, but we don’t know that at the beginning.
What about what we, ourselves, do during the course of our day? How many bad decisions do you think can be made based on false premises? It’s not unusual to generalise based on a little data and a lot of hopes and fears. Failure is not fun, and we can form many limiting beliefs to excuse or protect ourselves, or justify our actions.
Add to that all the faulty beliefs we have about other people and about various aspects of the world, and it’s a wonder we can accomplish anything at all (they won’t; I can’t; it will never work; that was just luck; I’m too old/young/short/stupid; it takes money to make money; please insert your favourite one here). Of course there are some beliefs that limit us, but that are valid, e.g. 4’10” is too short to play professional basketball, and you really shouldn’t touch a hot stove….
Like true superstitions, limiting beliefs are a challenge because most go unrecognised. They are often buried deep within our consciousness, and unless we see negative patterns repeating in our lives, we may be unaware of how we are being held back – by ourselves!
It is often helpful to keep a journal when looking for ongoing patterns, despite the fact that it may be painful to face the reality that we are contributing to our own cycles of disappointment or failure. Once we see them, we can take steps to change, because we do have control over what we think. One way is to replace our negative self-talk with positive thoughts (affirmations, if you will). Keep them inspiring but realistic for the best results. Or maybe try something new (take a class, draw a picture), it’s a great way to open oneself up to possibilities.
Because we are talking deep neurological pathways here, you may need some help overcoming your limiting beliefs…The Neural Alignment Method™ could be of great benefit http://go.dawncady.com/the-neural-alignment-method
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” —Marianne Williamson