If you’ve dabbled around in the realm of ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’, you have probably heard about limiting beliefs. But what are they, what is their use, and how do you get rid of them when they are standing in your way?
A limiting belief is a conviction you have that holds you back. For example: ‘I cannot give presentations to big groups.’ Such a belief rarely comes out of nowhere, and it has a certain use.
It is important to understand that a limiting belief is a kind of programme (sometimes also called the ‘ego’) that is trying to protect you. Imagine you are driving in a car and at some point a deer suddenly jumps over the road. You are shocked, hit the brakes, and the car is brought to a screeching halt. This experience leaves an impression. From now on, you will automatically slow down before arriving at the place where this happened. Your entire system wants to prevent this from happening again.
This is a highly useful response up to a certain point, because you want to protect yourself. Driving more slowly in areas where deer can jump over the road just like that is a sensible plan, and a good ‘programme’. But this ‘programme’ could also take wanting to protect you too far so that you might not dare get on the road anymore, and are afraid that deer will jump out in front of you anywhere, even when there’s definitely no deer around. In that case, the programme is no longer a protection, but an obstacle.
This also happens with limiting beliefs. Maybe you got a fail mark on a presentation as a kid and then you felt rejected and like you weren’t good enough. Or you asked questions at the table as a kid and your brother or sister sneered “that is such a stupid question.” You feel small at such a moment, and that is not how you want to feel. Your ego/programme saves this and will try to adjust in such a way that it never has to feel this way again.
In the case of a presentation, this might mean that you will do everything to avoid having to speak in front of groups again because you are afraid to feel rejected again (I’m saying it as it is; we will often say we are afraid to look like an idiot or scared of others’ opinions, but this can often be traced back to the core, which is a fear of rejection/not being good enough).
It can certainly be useful to take away parts of this. If you have given a presentation for a group that was totally disrespectful and gave you a bad feeling, it might be a good idea to avoid having to do that in front of the same group in the future. But it is a shame if this means you never dare to stand in front of whatever group ever again: you never know how many people are eager to hear what you have to say and would be super enthusiastic about hearing you speak!
If you notice such a limiting belief in yourself, it might be useful to analyse this. Is this belief still useful? Is this belief still trying to tell you something or is it time to let it go? Sometimes, just becoming aware of such a belief can weaken its grasp and free you from it.
This article was previously published in the Ikitribe. Click here to read more about the tribe.