What are Self Limiting Thoughts?
Have you ever taken a moment to wonder where your self-limiting thoughts come from? We repeat the same statements over and over to ourselves when something isn't working out to our plan, without ever taking the chance to reflect on where these are coming from and why we are saying these things to ourselves.
You may be familiar with the phrases " I'm not smart" or " I'm not good enough to do that" as a response to something new and unfamiliar. Self-limiting thoughts are those negative perceptions we have of ourselves which prevent us from living our best lives. So why do we think like that?
How we speak to and about ourselves is a reflection of how we think about ourselves internally. Think about the people you spend the most time around. Growing up, our parents, teachers, friends, and peers had a direct impact on how we thought about ourselves. They either brought us up, or dragged us down. Over time, we would have began to hold onto what those people thought about us, and we began to think about ourselves in the same way.
The more support and encouragement we receive from the people we spend the most time with, the better we will feel about ourselves. The same applies for the opposite. If you spend your time with people who don't believe in you, are not ambitious, and want to drag you down, over time your beliefs about what you can and cannot do will shift to align with how they feel. I can't stress enough the importance of surrounding ourselves with people who will uplift us and encourage us.
Replace Self-Sabotaging Behaviors with Self Love
Overtime, our self-limiting thoughts can continue to the point where we are experiencing self-doubt, and then begin to self-sabotage. Self doubt is often less of a challenge we see in front of us but more something on the inside that has the ability to impact every part of our lives ( anything from a relationship with ourselves to a relationship with others as well). With this being said, we begin to self-sabotage when we consciously refuse to meet our needs and look at what is going on within us- we think we are not able to handle our internal thoughts, when in reality we can and need to make this a priority.
Our subconscious mind is always trying to communicate with us. You may be self-sabotaging yourself in ways you don’t fully realize. For example, if you notice you attract relationships with toxic people, your subconscious mind is probably making you aware that it may be time to reevaluate why you were attracted to these people in the first place. Perhaps you were raised by people who treated you in a similar way, and this is what you have grown to become comfortable with.
Did you know that not putting in the effort to move your life in a better direction is also a form of self-sabotage? This is because we are preventing ourselves from achieving our goals we know are what we want to be doing in our hearts. Perhaps guilt, or the beliefs we have been conditioned to believe are holding us back.
Regardless, instead of going through the same patterns and hitting the same walls over and over, we need to make a change. The beautiful thing is that you can do that very thing. You have the power to replace self sabotage with self love, and you can start today. I'm going to outline 7 steps you can take today to begin that process of self healing down below.
7 Steps to Overcoming Self Limiting Beliefs
Identify Your Limiting Beliefs
The first step to fully overcoming your limiting beliefs is to first identify what those limiting beliefs are. The best way you can do this is to acknowledge them when you hear yourself say them, or think them. When you catch yourself feeling a certain way, such as “ I’m never going to be good enough” or “ I’m not intelligent enough to become a __” stop yourself and ask WHY. Why am I thinking this way? What would happen if I thought differently?
Another great way to learn your self-limiting beliefs is to ask the people around you what they think. The people around us sometimes know more about ourselves than we do, and can easily identify patterns in how we speak and act that we wouldn't otherwise be aware of.
I personally have struggled with self-limiting thoughts when I first had the idea to start this blog. When I began this blog 3 months ago, I was terrified. I had no idea what I was doing, and didn't know if anyone would be interested in my content, let alone read what I had written. I was so afraid to put myself out there, and to be uncomfortable.
Since I was afraid I could have used every excuse as to why I shouldn’t be starting a blog (it was my final semester of school before completing my degree, I needed to focus on my studies and was already working another job, how would I possibly have the time to run a blog on the side? Instead of letting those thoughts get to me, which they just about did once again, I decided to start regardless because I wanted to believe in myself.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
No matter who you are, every person has compared themselves to someone else in one way or another. In fact, most of us compare ourselves to others on a daily basis. This comparison can be anything as little as “ This girl is so much smarter than I am”, or as big as comparing another person’s life success to yours. In western culture, we are given countless opportunities to compare ourselves to others, and because it has become so ingrained within our culture, we fail to notice it as a problem.
Have you checked your social media today? If so, you’ve compared yourself to someone else, whether you’ve noticed it or not. It’s no surprise studies have indicated higher levels of depression amongst people who spend more time on social media, it’s because we are subconsciously taking in overwhelming amounts of information. When you stop comparing yourself to those around you, you develop a sense of peace, and recognize that you are just where you are meant to be. Everyone is living their own version of life, and at their own pace.
Embrace the Willingness to Learn
In my previous blog, I touched on the importance of developing the growth mindset. With this mindset, you recognize you will fail, but through these failures you will learn the lessons to help you progress and achieve personal growth.
By shifting your perspective to one which is willing to learn, you are opening yourself up to all opportunities and allowing yourself to fail and be okay with it. Turn your failures into motivation to progress further and to keep on learning. In embracing the willingness to learn, this will significantly improve any self-limiting thoughts you’ve been struggling with because you understand that you are working hard, trying your best, and doing a better job each and every day.
Don't Care What Others Think
We all want to be supported by the people closest to us, it’s human nature. The longing for validation from our loved ones, and from people we don’t know too well. However, it becomes a problem when you start to rely on what others think of you, and have their opinions become vital to your success.
When we allow others' opinions to affect our perception of ourselves, we start to tailor our lives towards their expectations, and live a life according to someone else’s rules. You don’t need to worry about this since you aren’t going to allow others' opinions to affect your success.
Remember to focus on what matters and to trust yourself. We often think everyone is paying attention to what’s happening in our lives, but in reality people are too focused on their own lives to be worried about yours. If someone’s expressing their opinion about your life, it’s most likely just a passing thought anyways.
Use Positive Self-Talk
When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, replace that statement with a positive one. Over time, the more you acknowledge when you are speaking negatively towards yourself, the more your brain will accept the positive talk as true.
If you find it difficult to use positive self-talk, start by writing down a small list of affirmations, and repeat them to yourself every morning when you wake up, and every night before you head to sleep. You will begin to believe your affirmations as your current reality and eliminate the negativity from your vocabulary.
The first step in practicing self love is to develop more self-awareness. Take note of how you respond to certain situations ( i.e. positive vs. negative situations) and identify how you would like to improve within those situations. With, work towards self-acceptance, the understanding that we as people are not perfect.
Accept and embrace your strengths and your short-comings, as they are a part of what makes you who you are. You cannot love others as deeply if you do not love yourself, because you need to be your biggest supporter. Who will support you if you don’t support yourself? Love yourself enough to avoid seeking outside validation from others when the only validation you need is from yourself.
Spend Time with Supportive People
We’ve talked a lot about ways that you can overcome your self-limiting thoughts from within, however, it’s also very important to be aware of who you spend your time around. Have you heard the saying that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around? This couldn't be more true. Who we surround ourselves with is ultimately who we become. This is because we pick up on their habits, get to know their passions/interests, and really get to know them within our relationships.
Spending time with supportive people is essential to our mental health, and they are there for us to fall back on in times of difficulty. They uplift us, and encourage us, and can even help eliminate some of our self-limiting thoughts by encouraging us that we are better and more capable of achieving our dreams than we think right now.
I hope these 7 steps were valuable to you, and you can walk away with the intention of overcoming those self-limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of your happiness and success. You won’t overcome them right away, but overtime you will begin to notice how your thought patterns are changing for the better as you start taking action. How will you get started in overcoming your self-limiting thoughts today? Let’s start a conversation in the comments down below!
If you love this content, I would love for you to subscribe to the blog to recieve biweekly blog emails whenever a new post is made! You will also get access to our FREE Self Reflection Workbook when you sign up!