We all have little negative voices in our heads, also known as limiting beliefs, telling us what we can’t do and why we are not good enough. They are often based on negative past experiences or what we have been conditioned to believe. As a result, we live in fear and allow these beliefs to hold us back.
Believe it or not, for many of us, our limiting beliefs have served us in some way in the past and that’s probably why we still have them.
For example, I used to be a people-pleaser and felt that I needed to be nice to everyone.
The good thing about this was I was nice to people and did whatever I could do to help and make them happy. However, the downside was that I was too nice to people and did whatever I could to help and make them happy, even to my own detriment at times.
People would often mistake my kindness for weakness and that was the furthest thing from the truth. My kindness is a strength that I use to help and serve others, but I no longer allow it to be taken for granted.
Fear underlines all our limiting beliefs (no matter how well disguised it is). According to Tony Robbins, all our fears come from two main beliefs: the fear of not being liked or loved (e.g. “if I’m not nice to people they won’t like me”) and the fear of not being good enough (e.g. “I don’t want to try something new because I’m might fail”).
As human beings, our brains are not designed to make us happy; they are designed to keep us safe. We have between 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day, 80% of which are negative. These are also known as Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs).
The worst thing about NATs is they can pop into our heads at any time without warning and reinforce our limiting beliefs causing us to have low confidence and self esteem.
So we need to be proactive about overcoming our limiting beliefs.
One way is using Positive Empowering Thoughts (PETs) to overcome our NATs.
PETs allows us to look beyond the fear of our limiting beliefs and focus on the positive future outcome we want to achieve.
So the next time we catch ourselves thinking something like “why am I even bothering? I’ll never be any good at this!”, we can answer it with “I’m doing this because I want to make a change and I know I will feel great once I’ve done it.”
Another way to overcome our limiting beliefs is to have a positive support network of people around us. This can be family, friends, colleagues, coaches, mentors, etc. The people around us have a great impact and influence how we feel about ourselves and the way we behave. Having the right people makes all the difference – they listen to us, offer advice, keep us motivated and challenge us to be our best.
We can also overcome our limiting beliefs is push ourselves outside the safety of our comfort zone. We can do this by writing down our limiting beliefs on a piece of paper and sealing it in an envelope, putting them“on hold” for a week. During this week, take 3-5 small manageable steps to help overcome the limiting beliefs.
Having limiting beliefs keeps us safe. It’s like being scared to go outside because something bad might happen. This might be okay at first because we’re “safe”, but eventually we get cabin fever and become very resentful (especially of ourselves) if we don’t venture outside our comfort zone.
The truth is, we might lose or fail when we do decide to stop being safe, but just imagine how great life would be if we did the things that we are passionate about and excite us. Yes, it would still be scary but oh-so worth it!