A limiting belief is a belief that is limiting. It holds you back. It prevents you from being all that you can be and from accomplishing all that you can accomplish. Limiting beliefs can cause you to stay stuck and dissatisfied. You want something more for your life but you don’t believe it’s possible for you. Essentially. you settle for the life you have instead of demanding the life you want and deserve.
How do you know if you have a belief that is limiting your life? I gave you some tips previously in Your Biggest Limiting Belief is That You Don’t Have Any. To quickly recap, when you think about why you are not where you want to be in your life what reasons do you tell yourself about why that is? Do your answers suggest that it’s not your fault and that it is beyond your control? If so, you are likely dealing with a limiting belief.
Since limiting beliefs keep you stuck and unfulfilled it’s important to develop strategies to overcome them. I will share with you two strategies that you may choose to leverage as you strive to overcome your limiting beliefs.
1. Byron Katie’s Four Questions
Byron Katie is the founder of The Work, an organization that helps people “end their own suffering”. She has created a simple system that supports others in overcoming their limiting beliefs. Here’s the system:
- Grab your journal
- Think about a belief that is holding you back and stressing you out.
- Ask yourself these four questions:
- Is it true?
- How can I absolutely know it is true?
- How do I react when I believe that thought?
- Who would I be without the thought?
These questions re-empower you. The first two guide you as you separate what’s the real truth and what’s your version of the truth. Understanding this is key. Awareness is always the first step. The third question helps you identify what impact believing this belief to be true has on your life. A belief could instill fear in you. It could make you feel insecure or cause you to shut down. The finally question opens you up to a greater possibility. It forces you to imagine what you are capable of without the baggage of limiting beliefs.
Learn more here –> Byron Katie’s Four Questions
2. Charlene Dior’s Belief Busters Exercise
I teach women how to overcome their limiting beliefs by proving them to be false. Beliefs are not the truth. They are simply your truths. They are what you “know” to be true. And maybe up until this point in your life they have been true for you. Until you can accept that something else could be true you will continue to be limited by your beliefs. This exercise helps you prove to yourself that there is in fact another truth.
Here’s how it works:
- Grab your journal.
- Ask yourself where you are unhappy or dissatisfied in your life.
- Identify the limiting beliefs that are holding you back. NOTE: Be really specific here.
- Find at least four truths that bust each of your beliefs.
I’ll go into detail with this process.
Step 1 is self explanatory. 🙂
Earlier I said that the way you can identify a limiting belief is to ask yourself, “Why am I not where I want to be at this point in my life?” This is a general question, but really you should alter this to be more specific where necessary.
You may want to start with asking yourself these two questions: “What am I unhappy with in my life right now? Why is that thing the way it is?” When you ask yourself the why question is your answer something that empowers you to create change? If not, this may be a limiting belief for you.
For example, you might say that you are unhappy with your physical appearance and weight. Your why could be “because I haven’t prioritized or invested in this area of my life” or it could be “because I’m 42 and my metabolism is slowing down. 42 year olds can’t lose weight. There’s really not a lot that I can do about that.”
Which answer is empowering and which is dis-empowering? The dis-empowering answer is a limiting belief. In a nutshell, the limiting belief is “I’m too old to lose weight.”
Do you see?
During this step, you will take all the dis-empowering answers from Step 2 and write them out in detail. Write down the specific belief and what it relates to. This might sound like, “I’m 42 years old and I want to lose 40 pounds, but my age and metabolism make this impossible.”
Find real cases that prove your beliefs to be false. In this day and age with the internet this shouldn’t be that difficult. You may even know people in your everyday life that can “bust” a belief for you.
If the example above pertained to you, you would find four women in their 40’s who lost 40 pounds.
If you’re limiting belief is “I can’t make six figures because I don’t have a college degree” you would find four women who earn six figures without a college degree.
Try to get as close as possible to your exact scenario so that there are no “buts”. I don’t want you saying, “this person lost 40 pounds at 42, but he’s a man and men lose weight easier than women.”
Find at least four examples. Otherwise, you’ll tell yourself that that one person is an anomaly. They’re not the norm. They’re one of the lucky ones. Having as many examples as possible help dispel the limiting belief that so-and-so is special.
It’s okay to be an overachiever. Go for more than four if you can. It’s for your benefit!
Once you’ve completed all four steps don’t stop there. Don’t just complete this exercise and then put it away forever. Meditate on it regularly, especially in the days and weeks that immediately follow. Accept these to be your new truths. Whenever you find yourself falling back into your old limiting beliefs pull out your list and reinforce these truths in your heart and mind.
To help you get started with this exercise I am including a Belief Busters Worksheet as a free resource. [Download Worksheet]