Are Limiting Beliefs Holding You Back?

Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Feel like you are stuck in a pattern, no matter how hard you try to escape it? Or that you are constantly sabotaging your life, and can’t seem to stop? 

What are limiting beliefs?

When we are children, our experiences lead us to make certain assumptions about the world that we then decide are facts.

These assumptions remain deeply buried in our unconscious mind, driving every decision we make. Unless we take the time to look at our core beliefs, we don't even know this is happening.

For example, let’s say that as a child you witnessed your parents fighting all the time. You decide, ‘the world is a dangerous place’. This becomes your limiting belief. Limiting, because, as an adult, you say no to new adventures, or even relationships, because it all seems ‘dangerous’. 

Common limiting beliefs

Why do limiting beliefs cause bad decisions?

Often, with limiting beliefs, we unconsciously make decisions to ‘prove’ our beliefs true. Let’s take a belief like “I don’t deserve good things".

"I am so unlucky," you moan, "so bad things keep happening". But then you choose a partner who shows obvious signs of volatility on the first date. You choose to work a job where the client doesn’t give a written contract protecting your rights to be paid.

We think our belief that good things never happen to us is true, unable to see that we are actually creating that reality.

Why do I have limiting beliefs?

Again, it goes back to childhood.

If you had a secure childhood, with parents who loved you and helped you feel safe and supported, you might have largely positive core beliefs. These sound like “I deserve love”, “the world is full of opportunity”, “I am valuable”.

If we don’t have a safe childhood, or we don’t feel loved and care for, we end up with negative, limiting core beliefs. It might be that our main caregiver is unable to give us the love and security we need. It might be that he or she is even unwell, or an addict, or our parents are in a violent relationship.

Childhood trauma in particular causes negative core beliefs. This includes sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse.

What can I do if I have limiting beliefs?

It depends on how negative they are, and what the roots of your limiting beliefs are.

If you had a reasonably secure childhood, but you, say, a particularly talented sibling who you always lived in the shadow of? And your core beliefs are around not being good enough? A coach might be able to help. Coaching always works on your limiting beliefs.

But if you have deeply negative beliefs from childhood trauma, and suffer from things like anxiety and depression, counselling or psychotherapy is advised.

Your therapist helps you uncover and process your difficult past, then learn to recognise your inner resources and use them to start making a better life for yourself in the here and now.

Ready to face your limiting beliefs and change them once and for all? Use our easy booking tool to find the perfect therapist for you and get started.

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