An essential philosophy of my life coaching is that all human beings have unlimited potential. However, we all seem to get in our own way much of the time. Self limiting beliefs are often the root cause of this. After learning about Neuroscience, it is obvious to me that we don’t have as much control as we think.
For a better understanding around Neuroscience, (refer to my blog titled Neuroplasticity). For now, all you need to know is neuroscience is the study of how the brain and nervous system works. Neuroscientists research the design and structure of brain and how this impacts a person’s behaviour and cognitive functions such as choices, decision making and responses to situations that occur in our everyday lives.
Neuroscience indicates that are over 50% of our brains are hard- wired and programmed by the age of 7 years old. And this includes self limiting beliefs. At this young age we’re not critically thinking and choosing how we feel about ourselves, what we stand for and who we are. That is to say, others tell us who we are. In addition, we are given external information about how we ‘should be’ in comparison to others.
What exactly are self limiting beliefs?
I define self limiting beliefs as negative thoughts, feelings and views about ourselves that stop us from reaching our true potential. These beliefs are scary, uncomfortable, and make us feel inadequate. This causes a sense of vulnerability within ourselves. These beliefs about ourselves build a foundation that guide our choices and behaviour. Consequently, we often feel that these beliefs about ourselves are true. Therefore, we attempt to challenge these beliefs in unhealthy ways such as overcompensating, lying to others and negatively coping.
Examples of Common Self Limiting Beliefs
‘I am stupid’ ‘Nobody really loves me’ ‘I am weak’ ‘Don’t trust anyone’ ‘Life is hard’
‘Men Shouldn’t Cry’ ‘I am ugly’ ‘I am worthless’ ‘Success is very rare’ ‘Money is hard to come by’
‘I am not creative’ ‘I am not skinny enough’ ‘I am not pretty’ ‘I am just like my parents’
These examples are just a small sample size of the many self limiting beliefs that we often have. They come in many sizes, shapes and versions. Although, what is common amongst them is that they are not accurate descriptions and they are not helpful. The fact is that at a young age, we are already believing that we can not accomplish our dreams and that lots of other people are better than us in comparison.
We often choose our spouses, our friends, our hobbies, our interests, our education pursuits and our jobs based on these core beliefs. I encourage you to take a few minutes, write down your core beliefs and see if you can connect them to how you have designed your life.
What to do now?
It has been proven that you can successfully challenge these thoughts and re-wire your brain. The reality is that this will be hard work. You have carried these beliefs for a long time. Unfortunately life is filled with challenges, struggles and people who will put you down therefore confirming these thoughts about yourself. However, it has been proven that if you put the work in, that you can change these beliefs that you.
Are you willing to put the hard work in? To challenge yourself, and admit to yourself that you have self limiting beliefs? Are you able to start by telling yourself that you can do better? That these are just false beliefs, that they are not your true beliefs?
You can do it!
First, you must have the courage to admit to yourself that you have self limiting beliefs and to investigate this further within yourself. Secondly, have the self compassion to realize that this is not your fault, and that these beliefs were given to you at a young age. Further, the third step is to figure out a plan to change your mindset and design new ones to reach your true potential. These three steps are the beginning steps of deciding to upgrade your life.