7 Limiting Beliefs that Keep You from Growing
Limiting beliefs are thoughts, opinions, or convictions that are assumed as absolute truths and that usually have a negative impact on our lives. They prevent us from advancing and growing as people. Some examples are statements such as “I’m not good at that”, “That’s too difficult for me,” or “I will never be able to achieve it”.
Most limiting beliefs are acquired in childhood, a stage in which we tend to absorb knowledge as it’s presented to us without questioning or analyzing it. In this way, as we grow up, we assume these beliefs as part of our identity, and we never stop to think about how they may be affecting our potential.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to show you some of the most common limiting beliefs that can affect your personal growth. Then, we’ll tell you some tips that will help you to overcome them.
Limiting beliefs that prevent you from growing as a person
There are many beliefs that can affect our personal growth. Here’s a list of the most common ones.
1. I will never be good enough
False. This is a limiting belief based on the fear of failure. We can always be good enough at something; what we need to do is commit to learning and expanding our abilities.
2. I should never express my anger because I may hurt or alienate others
This is also false. If someone is out of line with us, we have every right to feel angry and express our discomfort, as long as we don’t disrespect or assault the other person. Being able to express ourselves in these circumstances is vital so that we are not trampled on or taken advantage of.
3. Having a lot of money will make me happy
Contrary to what many people think, money does not buy happiness. On the contrary, if we maintain this belief, we will put our happiness in the hands of an external agent (money), which will make us slaves of it.
Remember that we are the only ones responsible for our happiness and the possession of material things can make you feel comfortable, but not happy.
4. My work has to be perfect to be valued
This is another common false belief. The truth is that nobody is perfect and that we all make mistakes. Ideally, we should know how to recognize them and learn from them. If we’re always chasing the impossible (perfection) we will be condemning ourselves to suffering.
5. Some people are bad, vile, and perverse and they deserve to be punished
This limiting belief is nothing more than a continuous source of anger, resentment, and even hatred. A more realistic perspective on the matter is to think that people behave in a negative way because they have problems, because no one has taught them to do otherwise, or because they are sick or suffering.
6. The worst thing that can happen is when things don’t go the way you want them to
Life will not always be the way we want it to be because we will never be able to control everything. Thus, if we hold this belief, we will begin to live in constant irritation and stress.
Instead, try to shift your focus and think that the beauty of life is in its ability to surprise you. Many times, the things that end up happening can generate greater well-being than we originally planned for ourselves.
7. Limiting beliefs: It’s absolutely necessary for an adult to have the affection and approval of others
Getting everyone’s approval and affection is another impossible task. In fact, those people who love us do not always have to approve of our behaviors. And that’s not a bad thing.
This idea leads us to seek to meet the expectations of those around us. This can lead to unhappiness and personal dissatisfaction as we lose our authenticity.
How to overcome limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs often have negative effects on us. For example, they can prevent us from making good decisions, taking advantage of new opportunities, or reaching our full potential.
They can even, in the worst cases, keep us stuck in a negative state of mind, preventing us from living the life we really want. That’s why we would like to tell you how to overcome them. Here’s the process.
Identify your limiting beliefs
The first step to overcoming limiting beliefs is to identify them. To do this, you can start by writing them down and grouping them into different categories, such as finances, family, relationships, or health.
Remember that limiting beliefs are not exhausted in the ones we presented above. So, if you’ve difficulty recognizing other negative beliefs in yourself, you can think of situations in which you have acted negatively. If you look closely at your toxic behaviors, you may discover that the underlying cause is limiting beliefs.
Once you have identified the limiting beliefs, the next step is to challenge them. To do this, you can ask yourself questions such as “Why do I think this way? When did I learn this? Since when have I thought this way about myself?”
The third step is to reformulate these beliefs and come up with more realistic ones. Above all, make sure to do this if it’s a very distorted belief that’s not at all supported by reality.
Strengthen your self-esteem
To leave behind limiting beliefs, it’s important to work on our self-esteem. To do this, it’s essential that we accept ourselves as we are, with all our strengths and weaknesses. Also, recognize that we can always make mistakes.
Limiting beliefs can be the result of a closed mindset. Therefore, ideally, we should learn to open our minds and let curiosity guide us.
When we give in to curiosity, we’re more likely to explore our surroundings and step out of our comfort zone. What this can do is help expand the mind and challenge beliefs.
When to seek professional help
If eliminating limiting beliefs on your own feels like an uphill struggle, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or counselor. Likewise, if your limiting beliefs are causing other, more severe conditions (such as anxiety or depression), it’s best to see a mental health professional.
Finally, counselors and therapists have the resources and knowledge to help you recognize your limiting beliefs, overcome challenges, and live a more fulfilling life.
Fortunately, no matter how ingrained these beliefs may be, remember that we can always address and change them, either on our own or with the help of a professional.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Ellis A. The role of irrational beliefs in perfectionism. En G. L. Flett & P. L. Hewitt (Eds.), Perfectionism: Theory, research, and treatment. Estados Unidos: American Psychological Association; 2002. 217–229.
- Meadows M. Confidence: How to Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs and Achieve Your Goals. Meadows Publishing; 2015.
- Vîslă A, Flückiger C, Holtforth M, David D. Irrational Beliefs and Psychological Distress: A Meta-Analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics [Internet] 2016 [consultado 23 nov 2021]; 85(1): 8-15. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.1159/000441231