The journey of empowerment: Overcoming self-limiting beliefs

You may have heard it before, but it wasn’t your fault you were led to believe a lie that would burden you for life if you allow it. 


The bottom line is we become what others tell us we are and this begins in the early years of development. Everyone learns their belief systems as children, When we move through our life we create experiences to match those beliefs.

Look no further than your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience. We will become the things we believe ourselves to be. When you believe you cannot do something, it makes you incapable of doing it. Our limitations begin in the way we have been treated as an infant the style of attachment we develop with chief caregivers and on into the playground.

Once we enter the playground we will then form friendships based on those attachment styles. Acceptance or shunning begins from the early years. We will either thrive or fail according to environmental circumstances. When we enter our teens, we are established in an internal frame of reference for how we view ourselves. The interactions in the playground area are as important as any other early years learning. Moreover, we tend to mirror our self-worth throughout life in all aspects based on these self-evaluations. 

So, what exactly is a limiting belief?   

In effect, limiting beliefs are thoughts we adopt and become absolute about. They hold us back and continue to form who we become robbing us of taking risks having adventures or reaching the goals of our ultimate self in whom we have the potential to become. Our self-convictions limit where we see ourselves in this life keeping us in the same boxes our mind unconsciously places us in.

The 'I can’t' or 'It’s above me' are the beliefs that will prevent us from seeking to grow, instead opting for it's just the way it is setting unconscious blocks. We ask ourselves what will people think of us if we even try that idea of growth. We might find ourselves using every excuse we can think of to get out of trying something.

Areas of limiting belief can include: 

  • No one will ever be interested in me I’m divorced.
  • I am not worthy of being loved by anyone.
  • I am not smart/pretty or talented enough to succeed.
  • I don’t have enough experience/resources to pursue my passion.
  • I’m too old to go back to university.
  • I should never question others.
  • “I could never open my own business.
  •  I'm too old now.
  • I should avoid failure at all costs.

Can you see how believing these things will limit you in finding happiness, contentment or self-worth? Just by believing them, you do not think, do or say the things that inhibit you yet allowing them headspace will impoverish your life.

Here is the good news: you are not your thoughts and that is all thoughts can add up to is limiting beliefs.

Thoughts are no more than how we perceive our life to be. If we treat thoughts as just objects of the mind we can change a negative object for a more positive one. Thoughts come and go it is always good to reflect on positive and negative thoughts and ask yourself why do I think that? Is there another way I can look at my thought and reframe it?

We have thousands of thoughts every day yet we don’t act on every thought if we did we might find ourselves serving a custodial service. Our thoughts will develop and change we will not have the same thoughts at five years old as an adult.

Thought is merely an idea an opinion created in the mind at the time and probably from an external stimulus. Thoughts do not have to be any more real than a momentary feeling have you ever noticed how doubts will enter your mind? There is no evidence for the thought yet you allow it to grow in your head. Cravings are controlled in this way a craving will enter the mind if we sit with it without acting the thought will become less appealing than acting spontaneously. 

Understanding that you don't have to react to thoughts can be liberating and the key to a peaceful life. When we don’t keep a grip on our thoughts they can begin to show up as physical symptoms.

Your thoughts do not have to be the big deal you might have believed them to be. Acknowledging that you are not your thoughts can slow do the reaction between thoughts and the response you give to them. You will then find you handle your thoughts more successfully. Let your thoughts know that you are in control the first step is to identify where they come from therapy and reflection can help greatly with this in learning to calm the mind.

Self-reflection questions you can ask yourself

  • What do I want in my life?
  • How can I improve difficult relationships?

I hope you have enjoyed the article, if you wish to know more you can take two steps: save my profile here at Counselling Directory for my weekly contribution or make your way over to my website.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London W6 & E14
Written by David Pender, MBACP, Integrative Psychotherapy | Anxiety Specialist
London W6 & E14

My professional development in London has trained me how to support you in most challenges you are likely to face. I gained valuable experience working in divorce and bereavement counselling in London dealing with various aspects of personal relationships. My experience also includes experience working as a facilitator in London based addiction.

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