Limiting beliefs : how to spot and get rid of them

Les croyances limitantes peuvent vous freiner.

Limiting beliefs are negative thoughts about ourselves, that we think is a strict truth about our own competence. They can block your thought process and your projects. Learn how to identify them and remove them from your mind !

As humans, we all have our own thoughts, our bias, and our beliefs. This is perfectly normal. Our experiences, our education, our history forge us given time, and by extension, forge our thoughts.

This is generally not a bad thing. The mind is a powerful thing in our decision-making process, and can push us to great lengths we did not think possible.

But, the reverse is also true. Some negative thoughts we have about ourselves can also put in jeopardy our plans’ realization, our well-being, or our dreams. Thoughts that are ingrained so deeply in you, you admit them as your own truths, and end your projects before they even start.

These are limiting beliefs. And to grow as a person, it is important to be able to identify them and get rid of them.

What are limiting beliefs ?

A limiting belief is a thought you have on yourself that hampers you. That it is true or not for others is irrelevant : subconsciously, it’s true for you, and it stops you to start your projects or blocks you from doing so.

Have you already told yourself “I will never succeed in this exam” or “I am not good enough at guitar to get into this band” for example ? Those are limiting beliefs. Everyone has at least one in their life, this is not just a matter of self-confidence – or lack thereof.

This thought is a truth for you that hinders you, and consequently, sabotage your chances to complete your objective. Si you think you will not succeed at your exam, you tell yourself that working on it will not change anything, and chances to fail it are dramatically more important. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy turning into a vicious circle, because this failure fuels other limiting thoughts.

“I am incapable of”, “I’m not smart enough for”, “I will never manage to”, “I’m too old for”… These are limiting beliefs.

How to fight them ?

Getting rid of limiting beliefs is not an easy task. It is a process deeply ingrained in you, and takes time to change.
But, being aware about them is already a very good first step.

When you recognize a limiting belief, take note of it. Realizing this will put you on your way. Take note of the subject of your belief, and what your supposed default is.

Check if it has any truth at all. If you fear to fail an exam, look at your old notes in similar domains, ask colleagues or friends what they are thinking about it… Look for objective sources of your performances.
Attention, if you ask others their opinions, make sure those people are well-meaning and are sincere of thought ! Asking to a bully that just take pleasure in making you suffer is not going to help at all. The critique must be objective, and constructive.

Use positive thinking at your advantage. Once again, the mind is powerful. Convincing yourself that your line of thinking against yourself are false and you are better than you think you are will help you a lot.

A simple way to do this is to simply rephrase your limiting beliefs into something more positive. Don’t say “I’m not playing guitar well enough”, say “I’m playing guitar and I have more than enough skill”. Keep in mind your previous successes too.

Practicing auto-suggestion can help a lot too. Repeat to yourself : “Every day, I am feeling better and better.”

Finally, keep in mind that healing takes time. Keep on improving. You’re not going to get rid of those beliefs in a few days. This is regular work on yourself. Don’t give up, and you will conquer those limiting beliefs. 

If you need help, ask a friend or a professional to put things in perspective and ask you the right questions. You need to look inwards to feel better in the end !