5 major limiting beliefs that are holding you back (and how to overcome them)

By Follow Your Own Rhythm


How many times do we give up on a plan, a goal, or a dream because we tell ourselves we can’t, it won’t work or we are reaching too high?  How many times does a limiting thought or idea hold us back from pursuing a new career path, a new passion, a new relationship, a new lifestyle, or a new adventure?   We talk to our friends and co-workers about how great it would be to have this, do that, and live there; going on and on about what we would rather be doing with our lives but we never follow through. 

Why? What happens right after that phase of dreaming, imagining, and fantasizing? What kills it for us? Why don’t we step into action?

What happens is that our limiting thoughts start to creep in giving us all sorts of reasons for why we can’t do something.  These thoughts carry with it endless self-doubt and questions like “What will the world think of me? What if I fail? Who am I to do this? What makes me so deserving to have a good life? What if I get rejected?”  These limiting thoughts are created from the dysfunctional society that we live in and the upbringing that we had. 

At a young age, we were taught “how” to live, who to be, and what to think and believe.  These messages came from our parents, our teachers, our peers, society, our culture, the media, TV, etc.  This wouldn’t be so bad if the messages taught to us were accurate, but the messages we learn come from a highly unconscious society that lives under the illusion that we are separate from everything and everyone, and thus it feeds on competition, fear, greed, and power. 

So this is how we have been conditioned to think:  We believe that we have to be better than everyone else or the first to do something in order to be good enough, we believe that if we make a mistake we are failures, we believe that what others say about us is true, we believe that we are only allowed to do what is within the parameters of society and that the only way to “belong” and be liked is if we do what the world wants us to do, and we believe that we are powerless beings and that we have no choice or say in how we experience our lives. 

You might be saying to yourself “well I don’t believe that, I feel like I am free to do what I want, I don't care about being accepted and liked, and I don't care about conforming to society."  This is great if it’s true, but if you have never taken the time to even ponder the possibility that you may be living in this limited, lack-based mindset, then you might just be deceiving yourself so you don’t have to face the truth.  In the end, it is up to YOU to free yourself.  No one else can do that for you, so the more honest you are about what you believe and how you truly feel, the better.

So let's go over the major limiting beliefs that hold us back from living our true potential and creating a life that we truly desire. 

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5 Major Limiting Beliefs

1.     I am not worthy or deserving

"I am not worthy or deserving of love, happiness, money, respect, attention, a good life, peace, freedom, a promotion, having a fulfilling career, friends, health, a caring spouse, etc."

This limiting thought says that you are not worth good things; that you do not deserve to have anything good in your life.  When you believe that you don’t deserve goodness in your life, do you think you’re going to get goodness in your life? No. That is because you don’t believe that you can.  When you don’t feel that you are worthy, your reality reflects this belief.  You need to know that you ARE worthy and you ARE deserving of whatever it is that you want.  You wouldn’t be on this Earth if you weren’t worthy of all of the beautiful things that life has to offer such as joy, happiness, love, freedom, health and abundance.

2.     I am not important or I have no value

This limiting belief goes like this: no one wants to hear what I have to say, no one likes me, people will reject me, he/she is better than me, people will make fun of me, I have nothing to offer, I am not special, I am not important, I have no value.  

No matter what you do and what you say, there is value in who you are because no one on this earth sees things through your eyes.  The wisdom and knowledge that you have gained, the way you express your truth, the life experiences that you have had, and the perspective from which you see the world is of value and importance because it is the only one of its kind. And there is so much that people can learn from your version of the truth. 


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3.     I am not enough

This limiting belief goes like this: I am not good enough, smart enough, capable enough, strong enough, young enough, pretty enough, rich enough, creative enough, confident enough and any other adjective you can think of.

This belief is a major limitation because when we don’t think we are enough, we are never happy with who we are, and we can never forgive ourselves for our flaws and mistakes.  We then constantly strive to be more perfect, and when we fall short of this perfect ideal, we beat ourselves up.  This vicious cycle destroys our self-esteem and keeps us feeling small, powerless, and unhappy.

4.     I need people’s approval or acceptance before I…

This is how the mindset goes: “I need people’s approval before I make this big life change, before I take on this job, before I pursue this dream, before I make this move.  I need people to think that it is okay and acceptable for me to do this, otherwise I won’t go for it.  I don’t want to disappoint others, I don’t want to be judged or criticized for making this decision; I just want to be loved and accepted.  This is why I seek people’s approval before making decisions.” Sound familiar? You can replace “people” with “society” or “the world” if it makes more sense.

You can’t wait for the world to agree with what your heart wants you to do. You can’t depend on the world to make you feel good about something that you want to pursue.  And you can’t allow the world to alter your plans for the sake of avoiding conflict or being loved.  It is not the world’s job to tell you who to be and what to do, and it’s not the world’s job to love you.  That’s YOUR job.  The world, society, and other people will never see eye to eye with you so stop waiting and start doing!

5.     I’m not like that

This belief that you are permanently a certain way and that there is no possibility of ever changing is a huge limitation.  It goes something like this: I can’t because I’m not like that, this is just how I am, I’ve always been like this, I’ve never been like that, I’ve never been good at that, this is the type of person I am….I’m too shy, too old, too stupid, too lazy….I’m a private person, I’m a procrastinator, I don’t like change, I only like to do things like this, etc.  This is limiting because this mindset labels you, puts you in a box, keeps you safe and secure, and gives you an excuse to avoid change, to avoid getting out of your comfort zone, to avoid challenging yourself, and to avoid trying new things, which inevitably stunts your growth and potential.

What can we do about these nasty limiting beliefs that rule our lives?

Our beliefs are the basis for how we interact with the world and for most of us, they happen at a subconscious level; meaning that we are not aware of the beliefs that we have and the power they have over our lives.  This is especially dangerous with our limiting beliefs. 

But lucky for us human beings, for anything that we learn, we can just as equally UN-learn.  Whatever damage that has been done by our limiting beliefs CAN be undone.  Whatever we have been conditioned to think, believe, and do, we can undo.  And we can relearn, recondition, and rewire ourselves to think and behave in ways that is a more authentic reflection of who we truly are.  

Here are the steps you can take:

STEP 1:  The first step is to accept that all of these limiting beliefs are based on your childhood conditionings and are wired into your brain.  They appear to be true and accurate because you have lived with these thoughts for so long and they have sort of become part of your identity, but they are not who you are and these beliefs are not a reflection of the truth.  They are NOT YOUR beliefs.  They are the beliefs that you have been conditioning to believe.

 STEP 2: The second step in dissolving these beliefs is awareness.  Bringing awareness to the what, when, and how.  What limiting beliefs do YOU have, when do these limiting beliefs creep up in your life, and how do they control your decisions and feelings?  Start paying attention to the story that replays over and over again in your head in different situations.  When you’re about to do something scary or uncomfortable, when you get in trouble or make a mistake, when you have an argument with someone, when you embark on a new adventure, when you get made fun of or criticized, or when you are feeling stressed... what kinds of thoughts do you have in these moments and how do they make you feel?  I recommend keeping a journal so you can keep track of these thoughts.

STEP 3: The final step is doing the actual work...the reconditioning of your thoughts and beliefs. It is changing the storyline in your head and shifting your beliefs from self-doubt to self-acceptance. You can start by declaring out loud to the universe that you are worthy, important, good enough, and capable.  However, just saying it out loud won’t be enough if you don’t truly feel it on the inside.  So you gotta start feeling it internally.  How?

Here are some suggestions for reconditioning yourself to feel more worthy:

  • You have to make a conscious choice to change your mind. It won't just happen, you have to MAKE it happen.  If you don't stay proactive and pay attention to what's going on in your head, and if you don't self-reflect, your old conditionings will creep back up. 
  • Get connected to your own truth.  You can do this through prayer, meditation, self-reflection, going out into nature, doing things that bring you joy and fulfillment, being around people who inspire you, and reading books that resonate with you at a deep level.
  • Start practicing self-respect by not letting other people mistreat you, separating yourself from those who make you feel small, and standing up for yourself when things aren’t right. 
  • Change the language that you use to describe yourself and the things that you want to do. Pay attention to how you talk about yourself, your abilities, and life as a whole. If the words and tone that you use is negative, critical, judgmental, and discouraging, then change it up and start using more kind, loving and encouraging words, and start giving yourself more credit!
  • Take action! Get out there and test your limits to show yourself that you are strong, brave, and capable.  Do something that you are afraid of, do something that people might judge you for, do something that might disappoint someone else but is right for you, and do something you never thought you were capable of doing so that you can prove to yourself that you CAN do it.  Start small.  If you always thought you were bad at painting, try to paint a picture. If you always considered yourself shy and scared of other people, spark up a conversation with the cashier at the grocery store.  Put yourself out of your comfort zone as much as you can, and do as many things as possible that your limiting mindset is telling you that you can’t do, so that you can start to build a habit of proving your mind wrong. This will start to recondition your brain because you're actually out there overcoming your limitations.  And when you do these things, don’t look for perfection and mastery, but look for progress and effort.  Don’t beat yourself up if you embarrass yourself or make a mistake, instead, focus on the positive steps that you are taking towards seeing and believing that you are capable, good enough, worthy, important, valuable, and awesome!

I hope this article gave you some insight! Let me know if it was helpful in the comments below!

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