Words by Tara Wagner
What are Limiting Beliefs? (STOP Blaming “Limiting Beliefs” For Everything.)
I’ve been a Belief Breakthrough Coach for 10 years. I literally make my living off other people HAVING limiting beliefs, and I’m here to tell you that 50, maybe even 75% of the time, what gets called a limiting belief is NOT.
In this blog I want to break down “what are limiting beliefs,” and then share the four things most commonly being accused of one so that you can figure out what’s actually holding you back.
Watch here or read below.
I have to say that it’s becoming a pet peeve of mine how often people are trying to diagnose other people’s so-called “limiting beliefs” when they’re either way off-target or just way inappropriate about it.
You guys, this is a permission-only zone, and if you like to tell people what their limiting beliefs are, please, for the love of all that is private and personal in the world, don’t go there unless you have permission from them and you’re doing it in a safe place.
Please, especially don’t go there in Facebook groups or in public settings because it’s awkward and uncomfortable, and oftentimes, it comes across very rude and unappreciated by the other person.
That’s just my little PSA, letting people know that this is deeply personal, and the only person that should be diagnosing their beliefs is THAT person.
To understand what are not limiting beliefs, we first have to understand what are limiting beliefs.
Your mind, from the time that it started to develop, started to take in information to create an unconscious framework on how to navigate the world.
Psychologists call these our “core beliefs.”
Not all core beliefs are negative, and they’re not all limiting.
These are the beliefs that tell us:
- Who we are
- Who other people are
- How we can relate to one another
- What’s safe
- What’s not safe
- And what’s possible for us in our circumstance or in our understanding of the world.
This is a good thing; you need core beliefs.
The problem is that they don’t grow or evolve as easily as they get created, so as your circumstances change, what was a helpful core belief (helpful because it helps you to understand or navigate the world you were in) can become very limiting when you’re no longer living in that world.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say that you grew up in poverty like I did, and through that, you developed a core belief that making money and surviving takes hard work and sacrifice.
That belief could serve you really well to help you get out of that situation.
But because that belief doesn’t evolve, you can get into your 30’s and your 40’s still thinking that to create more success means more hard work and more sacrifice, and therefore, you never start working smarter and you’re completely burnt out and hating what you do because your core belief is still driving your actions.
That’s when these beliefs become limiting to us.
They’re going to limit our happiness, our potential, our possibilities, what we can see in front of us because let’s face it, believing sometimes is seeing.
Your beliefs are either going to encourage and support you, or they’re going to limit how you feel and what you can do as a result.
So that’s what are limiting beliefs, but now, I want to talk to you about the four things that often get accused of being a limiting belief that actually are not.
Accusation #1 – Reality
Have you ever stated a true fact and had somebody tell you, “That’s just a limiting belief”?
Drop a comment below with “FACTS” if that ever happened to you.
Here’s the thing, there are plenty of times when what we call facts are actually just our opinions or our fears formed by our limiting beliefs, but only you get to decide that.
If you were to say, “I really want to launch X, Y, or Z in my business, but I’m not ready yet”, sure, that could come from a limiting belief that you’re “not good enough”, and you can’t do it, you’re not capable, but it could also just come from reality.
You could be looking at your situation or the place that you are in this process and just know that the timing is not right.
The key here is whether you feel limited or held back, whether you feel like you can even if maybe now is not the right time.
Not every so-called negative statement is a limiting belief.
Just because somebody hears it as a negative statement, and maybe it was a limiting belief for them when they said that statement, it doesn’t mean that it is for you.
You need to decide for yourself, “Am I truly looking at reality, or am I looking through a lens of my beliefs or my fears?”
Accusation #2 – Old Habits
Number two is old habits, and I see this a lot in the things that we say.
You can be a pretty healthy, well-rounded person and still have stupid stuff come out of your mouth that even you don’t believe.
Our words don’t always relate to our beliefs. Sometimes, they are just straight-up habits.
Drop me a comment below with “HABITS” if you have ever said something, and then you were like, “That’s not true, that’s not me, why did I just say that?”
Receiving a compliment is actually a really good example of this. I know a lot of women with a really healthy sense of self who’ve just learned through their own experiences or environments to receive a compliment by turning it down.
There are a lot of things we do simply because it’s how we learned to do them, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a limiting belief.
Again, if it’s not limiting you or making you feel bad, there’s not a problem with it.
Accusation #3 – Your Experiences
Number three is your experiences, and this doesn’t get blamed for being a limiting belief, but it does get blamed on your limiting beliefs.
I am a firm believer that although we can influence our circumstances with our mindset, we can’t control it.
We live on a planet with seven billion other people all bumping around trying to figure out what to do. It’s not all about us, and our beliefs, and what we’ve attracted. Sometimes, it’s just what it is.
Let me give you an example of this:
Just because you’re in a sales slump or something isn’t converting on your website, or you’ve had a string of nightmare clients, it doesn’t mean that you’ve attracted that with your beliefs.
It could simply mean that there’s a tech issue or some updating that needs to happen on your website, or maybe your skills aren’t up to par, or maybe it’s just a Monday.
(Drop me a comment below with “MONDAY” if you’ve ever had one of those days and you don’t need to take it personally.)
Don’t blame your poor beliefs for circumstances outside of their control.
They’re doing the best they can with the circumstances that they’ve been given.
If you’re running into an obstacle over and over again, you can absolutely examine, “Is there something here that I might be responsible for?” But it could just simply be a really practical piece and not a mindset piece.
Accusation #4 – Human Needs
Number four is a biggie. Probably the biggest. In fact, when people come to me thinking they have a limiting belief, about half the time, we find that it is not a limiting belief, it is an unmet need.
Let me give you a really good example of this:
I was speaking with a very successful businesswoman who is new to mindset work and had been told that she had a limiting belief around, “I am not safe.” The reason that she’d been told this is because she’d had a very traumatizing assault that had happened years ago, and it made her very hyper-aware of privacy issues.
As she was trying to personalize her business, put more of herself and even her family out there, she was worried, she was hesitant, because that issue was coming up for her, and she wasn’t quite sure how to handle it.
Here she was thinking and believing that she just needed to put herself out there because that’s what she was told, “You need to overcome your belief by putting yourself out there.”
But she was meeting that resistance because it was not a belief that she was not safe.
She was meeting that resistance because her needs for safety and security were saying, “Hey, wait a second, we’ve had this thing happened to us. It’s now our job to be very aware to make sure that our needs get met, and if you’re going and just putting yourself out there, I’ve got some concerns. I’ve got some legitimate questions here.”
She kept hitting into this roadblock, this resistance of, “I want to put myself out there. I want to overcome this ‘limiting belief’, but I can’t. I’m resisting it.”
The resistance was not her limiting belief. The resistance was her unmet needs for safety and security.
After speaking with her for just a few minutes and helping to shift her focus from limiting belief to unmet needs, we were able to identify ways that she could start to put herself out there, meeting her needs, and in just a couple minutes, she got excited, and she felt really good about the prospect of what she was about to do.
We didn’t have to go through this long process of overcoming a “limiting belief.”
We just had to identify which needs were really asking for her attention and how can we could meet those needs so that she could feel good about what she wanted to do.
Meet your needs, and your emotions and behaviors change if there’s no limiting belief there.
If there is a limiting belief there, then even if you identify your needs and the ways that you can meet those needs, you’re still going to run into resistance meeting those needs, because now your belief is likely telling you that there’s something going on, that meeting that need is not okay, something else is happening beneath the surface of t
If you’re a female entrepreneur, and want to understand more about how your beliefs influence your needs, how you feel, and what you do, especially in your business, i’ve got a free mindset training for you.
In one short video I’ll teach you more about your needs, and your beliefs, and the only 5 things you need to master to uplevel your mindset and breakthrough those bottlenecks.
Which is why I named it, Bottlenecks to Breakthroughs.
You can grab that training for free by clicking the button below or clicking here to learn more.
What about you, boss lady?
Comment to let me know YOUR definition of a “limiting belief”.
Also check out my recent video on the top limiting beliefs of female entrepreneurs.
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About the Author
I’m the breakthrough coach for self-employed women who are barely surviving their business. I help you to identify and overcome your old habits – both practical, as well as emotional and mental – learn a better way of approaching the work/life/family juggling act, and gain confidence in your new role in your growing businesses. Learn more about me here.
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