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  • Writer's pictureMichael McEntee

Our Limiting Beliefs

Even though we find ourselves in extraordinary times with this COVID-19 lockdown, it's fair to acknowledge that most people are allowing themselves to be susceptible to a range of limiting beliefs. Driven by our Inner-critic, such limiting beliefs can slow or even halt people's pathway to maintaining a coping mechanism that keeps their head - proverbially - above water. In fact, the majority of people won't even know or recognise that they too are experiencing these limiting beliefs. As such, we'll go along day-after-day doing and saying the same things over and over, all the while wondering why we lack feeling calm and settled in these unnerving times. However, here’s some helpful tips to help you get back on track:

Time to challenge the status quo -

Recognise those common limiting belief phrases.

Limiting beliefs almost always begin with “I can’t because...” As soon as you say the word, “because” you invoke a part of your brain that believes, “I have a reason.” That’s when you simply stop trying, because you now perceive to have a valid excuse to hide behind or fall back on. So as long as you tell yourself that you can’t do something because... you never will.

Be aware of the 5 common limiting beliefs

IT’S HOPELESS - eg. “I’ll never be able to support myself, because I never get a lucky break in life.”

I’M HELPLESS - eg. “I’ll always end up eating crap junk food, cause I’ve never find the time to cook anything from scratch.”

IT’S USELESS - eg. “I shouldn’t even bother going back to education because I won’t make much more money with a degree in this current economic climate. So I might as well just stick with my dead end job. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, as they say.”

I’M BLAMELESS - eg. “I’ll never be able to get a better job because everyone is losing their jobs at the moment. Furthermore, the competition will be too great as they'll all be better experienced/educated than me.”

I’M WORTHLESS - eg. “I’ll never attract the right romantic partner into my life, because I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see.”

Question and challenge your beliefs.

  • If you believe, “it’s hopeless,” ask “how is it possible?”;

  • If you believe, “I’m helpless,” ask “what do I already know about it?”;

  • If you believe, “it’s useless,” ask “how is it desirable?”;

  • If you believe, “I’m blameless,” ask “how am I responsible?”;

  • If you believe, “I’m worthless,” ask “how do I deserve it?”

Test your new thinking

The key is to change your thought process and thereby your belief about a particular situation. When you open your mind to new possibilities for your situation, what seemed like something you'd habitually dismiss can now transform into the perception of endless opportunity.

A new belief - a new you!

The goal of the above steps is to get your brain to notice your limiting beliefs. These core beliefs may have indeed been with you since a very young age (as young as 4 years old) and so are still preforming a perceived protective role. However, in challenging these limiting beliefs you can see another side, a side that indeed is resulting in anything but protection, rather serving as a debilitating force.

One practical suggestion is to write down your thought process on paper or a journal. Almost like keeping a food diary. This will help you better formulate your thoughts so you can pinpoint specific limiting beliefs and develop questions and answers to reverse them. Often, just knowing your limiting beliefs and acknowledging the possibilities that exist within them is enough to change your thought process. Other times, you may need to refer to your written answers in order to keep your new beliefs on track. Why not give it a try?

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