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How To Change Limiting Beliefs

Aug 17, 2007
The first step to changing limiting beliefs is actually to recognize that you have them. This can be very hard for people who have had a genuinely difficult life and have experienced adversities not of their own making. The idea that they are blocking their own good because of limiting beliefs can seem like another slap in the face. However, acknowledging the power of limiting beliefs to affect one's life should not be taken as a criticism. If you are a human being, then you will have some limiting beliefs. Different limiting beliefs in their various combinations will affect everyone differently, but no one is immune. When we realize this, we don't feel quite so lonely or attacked.

Limiting beliefs are beliefs that cause us to act and react in ways which limit our potential. However, unless people have done some inner work, they are often unable to identify their limiting beliefs if asked. This is because an unquestioned belief is considered a truth and not a belief at all. How then, can we shine a light on our limiting beliefs in such a way that we are willing to stand still and examine them?

The first step is to spend some time listening to your self talk. Don't judge your thoughts and don't try to change them; just observe them and listen for repetitions and patterns. Write down the things you say to yourself often. Don't think about them, just record them. There's no stress. Do this for a week and then go through your notes. This can be a very uncomfortable experience as most of us do not pay much conscious attention to our inner dialog.

The second step follows on from the first. Carefully examine your notes and highlight often repeated statements you make to yourself. You may be surprised how negatively you speak to yourself. Write these statements on a separate piece of paper leaving a few lines blank under each one. Write down the area or areas of your life each statement refers to.

The third and final step to discovering your limiting beliefs is to evaluate how these areas of your life are working. If you regularly repeat a statement to yourself that relates to an area of your life that is stressful, disappointing or simply not working on some level, there is a very good chance that your self talk reflects a limiting belief which is blocking your success in that area.

Limiting beliefs can have devastating effects on our lives such as creating poverty, preventing us from getting the job we want, keeping us lonely or keeping us fat. They usually reflect the profoundly deep "I can'ts" of life. Whenever you really feel that you just can't do something, have something or be something, you are probably being influenced by a limiting belief.

Limiting beliefs are like vampires; they suck the life out of you. But also like vampires, they cannot exist in the light of day. Limiting beliefs can only exist because they hide in the dark recesses of the mind, unexamined. Once they are brought to light, they can be seen for what they are and they must die.

Once you have identified a limiting belief and acknowledged its effects on your life, you can change it. To change a limiting belief, it is most effective to work backwards from your desired result. What is holding you back from achieving the outcome you want? What do you think other people believe about themselves that allows them to have it? What do you think you need to believe about yourself in order to get the results you want? Once you have worked out one or more positive beliefs that will support you, you need to program them into your belief systems.

The first step to reprogramming your mind is to recognize that your limiting belief is a lie and the new belief is the truth. You must answer the lie with the truth. Whenever you repeat to yourself a negative statement supporting the old belief, immediately answer it with the truth. Speak out loud if you have to (hopefully no one will be around) and say "No, that is not true," and then state the new belief. To give the new belief power, it is important to look for reasons why it is true. As your mind finds more and more reasons why the new belief is true, it will gain precedence and the limiting belief will have no power.

If you need additional help to defeat limiting beliefs, a biofeedback therapy such as kinesiology can be useful. If you know the belief you need to overcome and the belief you need to program, kinesiology and similar therapies can short cut the process. It is particularly useful in situations where the limiting belief has occurred as a result of trauma or strong emotion and has become locked in at a physical level, not just mentally. Biofeedback therapies use muscle testing to measure the body's response to different beliefs and can help a person release damaging beliefs and set positive new ones.

Limiting beliefs are a part of the human condition. However, we do not have to hold onto them. Changing a single belief can have a dramatic impact on our whole lives. If we seek to discover and change all our limiting beliefs, each of us can totally shift our experience of life and become the person we were born to be. This is a gift no one can give us, but ourselves.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of my-personal-growth.com, a site that provides information and articles for self improvement and personal growth and development.
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