3 Actionable Tips to Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs and create the life you deserve.
Here’s the thing. We all have limiting beliefs to overcome, and if you are sitting at your laptop, tablet, or smartphone wondering what I’m talking about, please check out my previous blog post, where I spill all the tea on this topic.
For those of you who are up to speed: have you identified a limiting belief you hold but are not sure what to do next? Fear not, as scientists, psychologists and researchers have done. the. leg. work…so you don’t have to.
Careful observation on these matters over the last several years combined with the world-famous (or infamous) women’s intuition allows me to sense that there are a few of you who are still not convinced. Maybe this is all hokey, new age, woo-woo nonsense, right? WRONG.
Limiting Beliefs a.k.a. Cognitive Distortions
Limiting beliefs (or cognitive distortions as they’re often called) are, as Positive Psychology puts it, patterns in thinking that are not only false…but have the potential to cause damage to our psyches. These wolves in sheep’s clothing prevent you from taking risks that could propel you to reach for the life experiences that could bring you satisfaction, accomplishment, and excitement while filling it with dread and pessimism instead. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. So, it’s time for some tough love a la everyone’s favorite arbiter of justice, Judge Judy. Buckle up and consider this your step-by-step guide to taking back your life and winning, not just the battle, but the ongoing war that rages between us and our thoughts.
1. Identify why your negative thought is false to make space for a new, positive belief.
Contrary to what most of us believe, it is not enough to simply replace a limiting belief with a positive one. We do need to replace any negative thoughts swirling around in our heads with positive thoughts that directly contradict the negative. In this way, one simply cancels out the other. Like balancing an equation.
For example, if your limiting belief is “I’m never going to be a good swimmer,” you can’t just say “I am a great swimmer” and expect that new idea to stick. Instead, it would help to ask yourself why you believe that to be true and if you’ve even tried swimming. Is your perception of what it takes to be a great swimmer off? It would take, you know, actual swimming to learn how to swim and be good at it. You can’t judge yourself without even trying. Yet, this is precisely what we do when we think those negative thoughts.
Once we can identify our own limiting beliefs and understand what’s holding us back from achieving our goals and reaching our full potential, we’re ready to level up and move on to the next step, where we—gasp—do more than talk the talk. We walk the walk and practice what we preach.
2. Practice the new belief.
Once you’ve identified a limiting belief and surrendered your thought pattern to the truth that you really don’t have any evidence to support your being so down on yourself (or someone else!), you can move on to what’s next: practicing the new belief until it becomes a habit.
You can do this by making small changes to your thinking habits in your daily life. If you want to believe that you are worthy of receiving abundance and living a fulfilling life, every time you catch yourself short-changing your many positive attributes and making your self-care needs the lowest priority in your life (I see you, parents, teachers, aunties…basically every woman, everywhere), tell yourself:
“I am worthy and capable of abundance and fulfillment.”
This might feel awkward at first—and that’s completely normal! But as you practice this affirmation over time, it will become easier for your brain to accept that statement as accurate without needing constant reminders from your conscious mind. In this way, we are doing what our brain is programmed to do—taking everyday habits and storing them in our subconscious so we can complete them with no effort at all. Why not take those beautifully human survival mechanisms and make them work for us rather than against us?
Interested in taking the next step on this journey? Sign up for my Modern Woman Mastermind Course!
3. Write your way to a healthier belief system.
For those of you more practiced with the steps mentioned above, do you feel different yet? That’s growth. You are rewriting the maps in your brain. Your nervous system is responding to that. There is communication between your mind and your thoughts, and that is how entire belief systems are born.
One way of reinforcing these new beliefs is by using positive affirmations—statements that describe how things are rather than how things aren’t. You know, those go-to phrases you script out ahead of time to smack down a negative thought in an instant without having to give it too much time and energy.
Instead of saying “I don’t have any friends,” say, “My friends surround me with love and support.” Instead of saying, “I’m not good enough,” say, “My self-worth rises above all my mistakes.” If negative thoughts surface while doing something as simple as driving down the street or watching TV alone in bed at night (when we tend to be at our most vulnerable due to tiredness or boredom), find something else to focus on—maybe an incense holder near where you’re sitting; perhaps even try saying out loud something encouraging, like “I’m not alone anymore; there’s always someone who cares about me!” Your life and thoughts are your words. It’s time to write new ones.
It just takes time. At the risk of sounding like an elementary school teacher, I hope you hear me when I say that learning to challenge limiting beliefs is something that requires practice. And, as the adage goes, practice makes perfect. Training ourselves to let go of not just negative thoughts, but an entire belief system is essentially rewiring our brains and adopting a system that better serves us.
Sometimes we can’t control our thoughts without professional help. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please dial 911, 988, or visit https://988lifeline.org/. If you are interested in counseling, or just want to talk, consider services like Better Help, Talkspace, or Cerebral.